Mom and Dad have always kept things pretty equal in our family. With two daughters 26 months apart, I would say that’s pretty important. My grandmother has always said: “Can’t do for one what you can’t do for the other.” And for 99% of my life, I would say that Mom and Dad lived by that motto. With the exception of my tenth birthday when Sharon got a Barbie Car. That’s right. Sharon got an ultra-cool, battery-powered, get-in-and-drive-it Barbie Car on my birthday. And she was cruising the driveway at mybirthday party, looking infinitely cooler than me. I’ve never fully recovered.
But when I opened my first (early) birthday present this weekend, it was Sharon’s turn to be jealous. I was holding the much-hyped Williams-Sonoma Ebelskiver Pan, complete with turning tools and a cookbook with dozens of recipes, both sweet and savory. I don’t remember how it all started, but Sharon and I have talked about Ebelskivers so much, they’ve become sort of mythic. I can’t believe one of us didn’t just go out and buy the thing, but I thought $39.95 was a myth too much.
Ebelskivers, for the uninitiated, are filled pancakes of Danish origin made in this special pan (picture). Think pancake meets popover with filling. You put about a tablespoon of batter in the well, let it cook for a moment, then add a teaspoon of filling, then top with another tablespoon of batter. Once bubbles start to come through (just like pancakes), you flip them over. I was given these specialty turning tools, but I was about as awkward with those as I am with chopsticks. A spoon is far more effective.
Ebelskivers caught our attention because they are filled pancakes. Need I say more? And the flavor possibilities are endless. This weekend we tried simple fillings like jam, Nutella and peanut butter, just to get a feel for the process. But you can also add things to the batter—spices, herbs, cheese. Sharon suggested a few weeks back “cornmeal pancakes filled with sharp cheddar and chilies or pulled pork.” Or a puréed strawberry filling with whipped cream dip. You can even dip finished Ebleskivers in chocolate or other sauces. The accompanying recipe book suggests walnut, pear and blue cheese or sage and goat cheese (to which I would add caramelized onion). I drool as I type.
This weekend Sharon and Tony are coming to New York to celebrate my 27th birthday. You’ll hardly be surprised that we’ve decided to have an Ebelskiver brunch. I have missed Sharon these past few weeks as she finished up her first year of grad school. Papers and exams stood in the way of our daily chats. But now that she’s finished, we are free to spend the next six days attending to the really important things in life, like coming up with flavor combination for our Ebelskiver Birthday Brunch. I’m happy to share my pan with her, but that’s because we’re older now and I’ve totally forgotten how she refused to let me drive that gorgeous Barbie Car on my birthday.