For years I've toted around a lot of cooking implements. From San Francisco where I grew up to Santa Monica, to Sonoma where I live now. I've carried around espresso machines, both the old fashioned pot kind and modern with all the bells and whistles, a hand cranked pasta machine, iron woks and bamboo steamers, an old wooden tortilla press, a set of Vietnamese coffee makers, and I haven't even gotten started on the clay pots.
Over the years, some of these things have been shed, given away or simply lost on the road. A few remain. One of these is an old, cast iron appleskiver pan that was given to me as a wedding present years ago by a third cousin.
For a while I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I grew up in an Italian American household and I've never ever eaten an appleskiver, hell I'd never even seen one. Exactly what prompted my cousin to give me an appelskiver pan is still a mystery but finally this afternoon I put it to use.
Appelskivers are sweet puffy adorable little Danish dumplings filled with a sweetened bit of apple. They're usually sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream. Sounds good so far I thought. This is something I should try, Indian style of course.
Thanks to The Google I saw a few pictures of what these cute little dumplings are supposed to look like and a set of directions as to exactly how to cure a cast iron appelskiver pan, and what exactly goes into an appelskiver.
A few months ago I decided to cure the pan. This afternoon I used it. I made my first appelskivers.
I didn't exactly make a traditional appelskiver. There weren't any apple dumplings in my apple dumplings, instead I used pineapple.
I put my VacuVin pineapple peeler to use again. This time I candied the pineapple in jaggery instead of sugar, which gave the fruit a nice smoky and less of a sweet taste. The natural sweetness in the pineapple went a long way and didn't need much help. I then added in Kashmiri chili to give it a kick. That was my filling. Hot and tart and sweet.
Thanks to Google there are a zillion appelskiver recipes out there. I thought I was messing around with the basic concept enough putting a pineapple chutney type filling inside the dumpling, so I thought that I'd just stick to the basics.
So here is an ultra simple Appelskiver Batter
1.) Place 2 egg whites in a metal or glass bowl. Set them aside
2.) In a separate bowl add 2 egg yolks
3.) 2 cups of all purpose flour
4.) 2 cups of buttermilk
5.) 1/2 tsp of salt
6.) 1/2 tsp of baking soda
7.) 2 tsp of baking powder
8.) 1 Tbs of sugar
Mix the yolk batter well and set it aside. Now back to the egg whites.
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
When the egg whites are thoroughly beaten fold them gently in to the yolk batter.
When everything is ready take your appleskiver pan and set it on the burner. Add a bit of vegetable oil to each cup.
9.) Add 1 Tbs of batter to each cup,
10.) Place 1 Tbs of filling in the center of each bit of batter and
11.) Then 1 more Tbs of batter on top to seal it.
When the dumplings begin to bubble and cook around the rim, turn them gently. I've read that skilled Danish and Norwegian appleskiver cooks do this with a knitting needle....people like me do it with a stick and a spoon..actually a fork and a long iced tea spoon. They worked just fine. See.
When they're done, pop them out and enjoy them. I decided to stick with my Indian theme and serve them with Sirkhand sprinkled with finely chopped pistachios.
I felt so good about them, I even put them out on my wedding china..something else that also really never gets used. Dishes that need to be hand washed do tend to sit in the cupboard.
So now that I am no longer an appleskiver virgin I'm going to be trying this more often. I was thinking they'd make a wonderful appetizer, stuffed with something savory and spicy for my next dinner party.
I am also grooving on our new photo lights. It's great to see all the cooking lit up without hovering over everything with a flashlight to make it shine.
What have I learned from all this? It's never too late to use a wedding present, and if you are going to go that far, take out the good china too. What's a little hand washing for something this good?