This is a plug for family traditions. We’re not Catholic but we love the humble holiday of Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday). We pull out all our pancake recipes and heat up our favorite pancake maker – the cast iron Ebelskiver pan! Bonus, we’re including a sourdough Ebelskiver recipe…
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What is Pancake Day?
I like any holiday that’s so simple all you have to do is become a pancake maker to celebrate it. Pancake Day is traditionally a Catholic holiday (although other Christian sects observe it). It’s celebrated right before Lent when eggs and fats are forbidden as part of an introspective spiritual observance of the time before Easter. In order to prevent their going to waste, those ingredients are used up making pancakes for dinner. What genius!
Pretty much every culture on earth has some kind of pancake – injera, crepes, tortillas, naan – it’s all just a pancake of sorts. And I love. every. single. one.
A Pancake Maker New to Us
We were introduced to a new-to-us kind of pancake maker this year in the form of an Ebelskiver, a very traditional Danish pancake. Using a pan with small wells all around it, you make these with basic pancake ingredients although you add egg whites for creating the traditional poof.
You can find the Ebelskiver pan here.
There are scores of recipes on the web and we even found this little cookbook.
In order to ease the use of grain on our tummies, we sourdoughed our batter and it worked wonderfully. Culturing our batters and dough with sourdough has brought such healing to our family – grateful for those happy, little yeasts and bacteria! Here’s our favorite sourdough cookbook.
Here’s a little tip from an intrepid reader – thank you, Lisa!
“A little fun fact from me, a Danish gal: the correct spelling for these is Æbleskiver, and this word is already plural. There is no need to add an “s” to the end.”
Why you Need an Ebelskiver Pan
This Ebelskiver pan is truly a magical pancake maker and gives these pancakes their distinct shape. Plus, using cast iron ensures an even bake and uniform results. Don’t worry if it takes you some time to make friends with your cast iron – it will be worth it. Here’s a pan similar to what I’m using:
To make an Ebelskiver in the pan:
- Fill the wells of the hot, buttered pan with batter.
- Then, wait for the pancakes to bubble and turn them over with bamboo skewers (trying hard not to crush them).
- After a few more minutes of pan baking time, you have this wickedly tasty little pancake poof.
- My son and I have done several experiments since Christmas (when we got the pan) and are getting pretty good at it. We always seem to burn the first batch regardless of what we try, though. My favorite part about making these isn’t eating them, it’s chatting with him while we make them and watching him gain a new skill.
- It’s extra decadent when you fill them with something like apple pie filling or chocolate chips. Even the ones you completely deform as you learn your new skill will taste divine.
Sourdough Ebelskiver Recipe
Here’s a basic recipe but feel free to fiddle around with it to find a variation you love. With any sourdough, your batter is going to need to time to culture. So, plan to set up your batter the night before and let it culture on your counter, finishing up in the morning.
Sourdough Ebelskivers (Danish Pancakes)
Ingredients for Initial Batter
- 1/2 Cup of sourdough starter
- 1/4 Cup of raw or coconut sugar
- 2 Cups warm water
- 2-3 Cups Flour
In the Morning, Add In:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 fresh eggs
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda optional - but it will make them poofier
Directions for initial mix:
- Mix all the above ingredients in a ceramic bowl until you form a thick batter. It should look like any pancake batter you've made before.
- Cover and let the batter sit on your counter overnight.
Directions for the next morning:
- Preheat your Ebelskiver pan on medium-low heat.
- Add all the above ingredients to your cultured dough and mix thoroughly.
- Add butter to each of the wells in your pan.
- Fill each well of your pan halfway full with batter. ONLY halfway. Cook until the batter bubbles.
- If you're going to insert an add-in like spiced apples, chocolate chips or sausage, do it now.
- Using a bamboo skewer or knitting needle, carefully turn the pancake over so that what was on the top is now on the bottom. This will not only finish cooking the pancake, but it will also form the top of the pancake's spherical body.
If you don’t want to use sourdough for this recipe, try this whole grain recipe that uses cultured dairy.
Maybe Pancake Day should be the one you try first…?
Don’t forget to email me for that free sample from The Do It Yourself Homestead! We hope the book will be useful to you, but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what cookbook author and whole foodie Stacy Lynn Harris has to say about it:
Cover graphic gratefully attributed to this Wikimedia Commons user.