Aebleskivers Every Christmas Eve Emily Farthing's grandmother pulls an old cast iron aebleskiver pan and fills the whole house with the smell of these Scandinavian pancakes. Her family eats them for dinner, and the taste, she says, reminds her of the anticipation of Christmas morning.
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Courtesy of Emily Farthing

Submitted by Emily Farthing of Eugene, Ore.

Every Christmas Eve my grandma pulls out my great-great-grandmother's cast iron aebleskiver pan and fills the whole house with the smell of these yummy Scandinavian pancakes. We have them for family dinner along with sausage before going to a candlelit church service. I remember my grandma disclosing to me one year that the secret is to never wash the pan because it retains all the natural cooking oils. I was a little put off, but boy do these little hollow cakes taste good. She serves them with homemade applesauce and raspberry jam. The taste reminds me of the anticipation of Christmas morning, and my whole family together enjoying a family tradition.

4 separated eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups buttermilk (or 3/4 cup beer plus 1 1/4 cup milk)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups all purpose flour

Oil or lard

Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. Beat rest of ingredients until batter is very smooth. Fold in egg whites. Heat at a moderate temperature a well-seasoned monk's pan with 1/8 teaspoon oil or lard in each of the holes. Fill each hole (about three-quarters full) with batter. (Be sure to add a few drops of oil to each well in the pan before the next round of batter.)

When browned on one side (almost right away), turn with knitting needle (or two-tined fork) and keep turning until needle comes out clean after piercing through the cake. (We find that you need to turn these only once.)

Serve with flavored butters, jams and powdered sugar — or enjoy as my family does, with applesauce and maple sausage.

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