My mother's father was Swedish - his father from Uppsala and his mother from Lund - and some Swedish traditions survive in my family until today. My favorite (as well as my wife and kids') are Æbleskivers, those lovely little spherical pancakes so enjoyed by Swedes and Danes. You'll need an Æbleskiver pan, a cast iron skillet with little dome like pockets to cook the batter in. Should you not be able to find once easily at your local gourmet shop or via Amazon, try here.
2 cups butter milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 whole eggs, separated
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 TB of melted butter, combined with 2 TB of vegetable oil
- Separate eggs. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat egg yolks. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, milk, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well. Fold in egg whites.
- Preheat æbleskiner pan over medium-low heat.
- Brush the insides of the wells in the pan liberally with the oil and butter mixture (batter is sticky and you're essentially going to fry it anyway
- Fill each well about three-quarters full of batter
- Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, or until bottom of ball is nicely browned. Turn balls over and cook until browned. My mom swears that knitting needles are the traditional tool of choice for flipping but I find bamboo skewers or a pair of forks suit the purpose just fine.
- Keep balls warm, covered with a towel on a plate in the oven, about 200°F, until all the pancake balls are cooked. Serve 3 or 4 to a plate, drizzle with your favorit syrup (lingonberry is the traditional choice) or with a bit of powdered sugar.
If you're intimidated by the thought of getting the flipping technique down, try this video for a tutorial.
It is traditional to stick a bit of fruit inside of your aebleskivers. I small prune, a dried cherry or apples are common favorites (my daughter likes chocolate morsels). A good method is to cut a tart apple into small chunks, about sugar cube-size. Place the cubes in a plastic bag. Add 2 TB of sugar and ½ TSP of cardamom. Close top of bag and shake well to coat the apple pieces. Fill the wells with half full with batter and place an apple cube inside right after pouring the batter in.
Whatever you do, don't substitute plain milk for the buttermilk. You can leave out the cardamom, but then.... well, then they'd just be fried little batter balls, now wouldn't they?