Where there's a well, there's a way. No, that was not a spelling error. I mean "well". Actually, I meant seven wells, because that's how many you'll need in your ebelskiver pan to make these tasty treats.
But...first things first. What the eff is an ebelskiver?
Well, first, picture a pancake. Now, shrink it to about the size of a ping-pong ball and puff it up a little bit, and fill it with something tasty. You're starting to get the idea. They're a traditional Danish pancake, and they're mighty tasty. They're filled with any number of different flavors and ingredients, but I think they're best when they're served sweet.
True or not, there is a rather charming story behind the history of the ebelskiver. As it goes, they were created by the Vikings following a long day of unsuccessful battle. Gathering around the fire, the weary soldiers set to making some pancakes (just what I want to do after a long day of battle, how 'bout you?). But they couldn't find the griddle! Instead of admitting defeat, a quick-thinking soldier thought to pour the batter into his dented shield. The batter settled into the dents and baked up as nubbly little pancake popover-type puffs. The ebelskiver was born!
Truthfully, it's much more likely that the Danes picked up the idea in the course of their trade and travel in Asia, where one of the regional specialties they came across were a sort of pancake puff, notably the takoyaki, a savory pancake puff popular in Japan. It required a specific type of pan. In China, a pancake-y treat called gai daan jai, similarly called for a pan with wells. Likewise, in India, the paniyaram pan is used to make tender puffed breads called kuzhi paniyaram. It's likely that these concepts were adopted and adapted in Denmark, and it was a sort of evolution that led to the ebelskiver.
In case you didn't grasp it yet...with ebelskivers, you *do* need a specific pan. It's called (wait for it) an ebelskiver pan. It looks like of like this:
Here's a recipe for chocolate caramel pecan ebelskivers, care of the book 150 Best Ebelskiver Recipes.
Caramel Chocolate Pecan Ebelskivers
This recipe makes 28 puffs.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecan halves
- 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (works best for the small puffs)
- vegetable oil
- 14 individually wrapped soft caramel candies, unwrapped and cut in half
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, egg yolks, milk, butter, and vanilla until well blended.
- Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended (the batter will be slightly lumpy). Gently stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently mix one-third of the egg whites into the batter. Gently fold in the remaining whites.
- Brush wells of pan lightly with oil. Set pan over medium heat. When oil begins to sizzle, add 1 tablespoon of batter to each well. Place a caramel candy half in the center, and top with 1 more tablespoon of batter. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Using two skewers, flip the puffs over. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown and the puffs are firm to the touch. Remove pan from heat and transfer puffs to a plate. Let pan cool slightly.
- Repeat with remaining batter and caramels, brushing wells with oil and reheating the pan before each batch.
- Dust the ebelskivers with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.