When I visited Japan two years ago, I swooned after I ate my first takoyaki. I describe them as octopus balls: a piece of octopus is coated in a savoury batter and cooked. Smothered with a Japanese barbecue sauce, mayonnaise and sprinkled with bonito flakes – it is nothing I ever thought would taste so good. When I visit restos, I prefer to order things I can’t make at home, so my go-to dish at Guu and Kenzo’s is takoyaki.
Once I came back to Canada, I wished I could recreate it at home, but you need a special pan with round grooves to make the round balls. The restos were the only way to get my takoyaki-fix. Until now! One of my Christmas gifts this year was a takoyaki/aebleskiver pan! Not soon after Christmas, I whipped the pan out for its inaugural use. Not for takoyaki, though. I had no octopus, you see.
Instead, I made Danish stuffed pancakes, also known as ebelskiver, ebleskiver, aebleskiver, or æbleskiver. These are light, fluffy, round, buttermilk-based pancakes stuffed with your favourite filling. My tip is not to overstuff the pancakes because leaking quickly leads to a dirty pan that is hard to clean!
I adapted Williams-Sonoma’s recipe to experiment with different fillings. We started with blueberries, which were probably my favourite filling. Frozen blueberries can be used but are best when they have thawed. Otherwise, they change the temperature of the batter and it doesn’t cook as well.
Next, we tried mulberry jam as a filling. It was delicious, too, although much sweeter. The only trick is to make sure it doesn’t leak while flipping because it is a bugger to get the jam off the pan.
For the ebleskiver, I employed the two-flip method, but for more round ebelskivers, you can do it in three or four turns. I was so eager to use my pan, I didn’t research how to make proper ebleskiver. I’ll try it next time. :)
This is my submission to this month’s My Kitchen, My World, featuring dishes from Denmark and to this month’s Breakfast Club for Sweet Treats. Also props to Rob, for the action shots since I can’t cook and photograph at the same time.
Chocolate … sticky, hot, messy, awful chocolate. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Chocolate – what a beautiful idea.**
Continuing with our muffin/cupcake theme, here a completely unhealthy (don’t let the zucchini fool you) but wonderfully decadent muffin (or is it a cupcake?), filled with chocolate (1 cup of cocoa plus chocolate chips!), made deliciously moist with zucchini with a hint of spice with cinnamon and allspice. I used half mint chocolate chip which added another interesting layer of complexity.
But what makes something a muffin and something a cupcake? I always figured cupcakes were more cake-like, more airy, less substantial, more dessert, whereas muffins were a bit more heartier. Basically, I had a general idea but not entirely sure… so I did a bit of research.
According to Cupcakes Take the Cake:
“The quick-and-dirty answer on this is that cupcakes have frosting, whereas muffins do not. However, in researching, I found an excellent formulaic definition of the difference courtesy of Diana’s Desserts: “A basic formula for muffins is 2 cups flour, 2-4 tablespoons sugar, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, ¼ cup oil, shortening or butter and 1 cup milk. When the fat, sugar and egg ratio in a recipe reaches double or more than this, you have reached the cake level.”
This recipe is from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterburg & Wanda Urbanowicz and also found at 101 cookbooks. It is my submission for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cinzia at Cindystar.
**Completely spoofed from Dexter.
Sometimes I love how picking up a new ingredient leads you into different culinary directions. I had lots of buttermilk left over after I made the fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes so I made the orange-cranberry scones and also this hearty apple cranberry loaf. It wasn’t long that I declared that I wasn’t a foodie hippie, but here I am a month later making cakes with ground almonds, buttermilk and ricotta with a minimal amount of flour (at least I didn’t go looking for muscovado sugar, and replaced it with brown sugar instead). And it was good. Moist, dense yet flavourful. The fresh cranberries were a wonderful addition. I liked the cake, and made a few modifications from the original at Sprouted Kitchen, but likely would not go through the fuss of buying such fancy ingredients a second time. This week, they all just perfectly came together at the same time.
I love when I discover new foods. It isn’t that I don’t know about cranberries because I love dried cranberries, but I must confess that I had never bought fresh cranberries before. I am not sure what took me so long, though, because they are delicious. They are a bit tart but cut the sweetness in whatever dish you are making. This is the first recipe with fresh cranberries that I will share. It is a nice, light scone recipe with orange and fresh cranberries. I liked how it used buttermilk instead of cream. It was adapted from Bon Appétit (November 1998) based on the comments from epicurious. My only further tinkering would be to chop the fresh cranberries in bigger chunks to get big bursts of tartness. Scones are best straight from the oven, but these were still good as leftovers, if they manage to last that long.
Of all courses, brunch is my favourite. Possibly because I am too inpatient to make anything demanding for breakfast before my tummy rumbles.. or it could just be because it is routinely filled with fruit, eggs, cream, bacon, butter, you name it. It must be the latter… at least that is what they are teaching me at George Brown: butter is your friend. Something tells me it loves me a bit too much around the hips, though! ;) Of course, everything is great in moderation. Pancakes are no exception.. especially when they are teamed with wild blueberries. This recipe is quite simple to make and the trick is not to overmix the batter. I found that using a whisk works great to help you get around the batter without allowing one to mix to the max. The result will be light, fluffy pancakes. I couldn’t believe the height of mine! The recipe is awesome because you add the fruit straight to the frying pancake. This great because it helps to rid of the problem of blue pancakes if your blueberries bleed, but you can also make a variety of fruit/chocolate pancakes at once. I also made a few with fresh cranberries dusted with sugar, and they were super tasty too.
The original recipe comes from Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, a restaurant in Toronto, that I have been dying to try (not only do they have a fabulous brunch but lunch and dinner also get rave reviews). The recipe was originally published in Out to Brunch by Donna Dooher and Claire Stubbs and was posted by the restaurant here. My adapted version follows.