Brown butter ebelskiver









Æbelskiver are spherical, pillow-y Danish pancakes (south of the Danish border in northern Germany they are known as Pförtchen or poffertjes in the Netherlands) and these two bite-sized marvels were all the rage when we lived in California. Mine come with a nutty brown butter crust and a heavenly soft & light vanilla pancake centre. Being not really on the sweet side they become truly irresistible with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprinkle of dark bitter cocoa powder when served for breakfast or with afternoon coffee.

Traditionally, ebelskiver are served around Christmas while the German Pförtchen or their larger relatives Berliner (doughnuts) are typical New Year’s food – but they are rather good all the other months of the Year, too. Especially when they come with a delightful hazelnut flavoured brown butter aka beurre noisette crust, which the puffed pancakes acquired from being baked in individual moulds of an ebelskiver pan. Alternatively seek out a Pförtchen or a Dutch poffertjes pan; I picked up a similar cast iron pan with little dimples for next to nothing in an Asian shop. Oh, you are not a sucker for specialty gear or lacking the storage real estate? The batter will provide excellent pancakes baked in browned butter on an ordinary griddle or frying pan – perhaps with a few blueberries or raspberries strewn in.

With Shrove Tuesday gone, there are always other opportunities to have pancakes: weekend brunch, Mothering Sunday or just because it is Monday, Tuesday, Wed…



brown butter ebelskiver

Brown butter ebelskiver

Makes about 40-50 bite-sized puffy pancakes.


250g / 1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
415ml / 1¾ cups buttermilk (or try Swedish cultured milk, 3.5%)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g / 3 tablespoons butter, melted

icing sugar
Dutch processed cocoa powder (optional, but I like a dusting of dark bitterness)


In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt & sugar. Beat egg whites until frothy & peaks form (= voluminous but not super stiff). Mix yolks, buttermilk and vanilla, then stir into the dry ingredients. Carefully fold egg whites into the batter – a big spoonful at first to loosen the mixture, followed by the rest.

Melt the butter and cook until the milk solids start turning light brown, stop when a light caramel colour has been reached – do not go all the way, the butter transforms into a real beurre noisette in the pancake pan. Preheat a cast iron ebelskiver pan (alternatively use a griddle) on a medium-low flame. Pour ½-1 teaspoon butter into the individual moulds, use less if you’ve got a poffertjes pan with smaller indentations and add 1 tablespoon batter. Cook for about 6-9 minutes on a low-ish flame, then turn the puffed up pancakes onto the other side (best & deftly done with two wooden skewers) to bake the other side for approx. 5 minutes until through. Dust with a little icing sugar and some dark Dutch processed cocoa powder.




Rezept auf DEUTSCH:

brown butter ebeleskiver

Braune Butter Pförtchen (Ebelskiver)

Ergibt ca. 40-50 kleine gepuffte Pfannkuchen.
Eine Pförtchen- oder Ebelskiverpfanne ist eine kleine runde Pfanne mit individuellen Mulden für die runden Küchlein und es gibt sie in verschiedenen Materialien. Ich benutze eine gusseiserne Pfanne, die ich vor Jahren sehr günstig in einem asiatischen Laden in Kalifornien gefunden habe. Alternativ kann man auch eine holländische Poffertjespfanne benutzen oder kleine flache Pfannkuchen in gebräunter Butter (lecker mit ein paar Blaubeeren oder Himbeeren) in einer normalen Pfanne backen.


250g Mehl
1 TL Backpulver
¾ TL Natron
½ TL Salz
1½ EL Zucker
3 Eier, getrennt
415ml Buttermilch (auch lecker mit Schwedenmilch)
1 TL Vanilleextrakt
50g Butter, zerlassen

dunkles Kakaopulver

Mehl, Backpulver, Natron, Salz und Zucker in einer Schüssel vermischen. Eiweiße schaumig, aber nicht steif schlagen. Eigelbe mit Buttermilch und Vanilleextrakt verquirlen und in die Mehl-Zuckermischung rühren, dann vorsichtig das Eiweiß unterheben: zuerst einen großen Löffel um die Masse aufzulockern, dann den Rest.

Die Butter zerlassen und weiterkochen bis diese eine hellbraune Karamell-Farbe angenommen hat – sie sollte jetzt noch nicht dunkler werden, da sie beim Backen der Küchlein noch weiter erhitzt und erst dann zu beurre noisette werden soll. Die gusseiserne Ebelskiver-Pfanne auf kleiner bis mittlerer Flamme vorheizen. ½ bis 1 TL zerlassene Butter in jede Mulde gießen und 1 EL Teig hineingeben. Pfannkuchen für ca. 6-9 Minuten auf kleiner Flamme backen, dann die gepufften Küchlein auf die andere Seite drehen (das funktioniert am besten mit zwei Holzspießchen) und für weitere 5 Minuten backen. Die Pförtchen haben jetzt eine herrlich nussige Kruste und sind innen herrlich weich & fluffig. Mit Puderzucker und einer Prise dunklem Kakaopulver bestäuben.




16 thoughts on “Brown butter ebelskiver

    • Thank you Linda. Yes, sugar coated or glazed Berliner (jam-filled yeast doughnuts baked in hot fat or oil) are omnipresent in Germany. These pancakes here are rather a regional thing and originate from countries around the German Bight: Pförtchen are hailing from Schleswig-Holstein & lower Saxonia (Niedersachsen) in northern Germany, in Denmark they are called Ebelskiver and the Dutch have poffertjes which are slightly smaller in diameter – more a one bite size. My father stems from the North and I vaguely remember having them as a child and rediscovered a buttermilk version in the States. I love beurre noisette, so every chance I get… but I think they add a nice hazelnut-buttery crust to the soft vanilla inside. have a beautiful weekend, too. N xx

  1. You naughty girl! Here I am trying to loose at least a bit of weight before the summer and then you post this wickedness. To top that, you have given me a perfect reason to dust off my old takoyaki cast iron pan. I already know, loving the Berliner, that I will be totally hooked. Then, I will eat the lot, most likely. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to buy a larger swimsuit…Æbelskiver -here I come!
    J xx

    • I was wondering if they are known in Sweden as well. No need to blame me here, these are basically diet food (at least in comparison to a sugary, jam-filled Berliner, unfortunately that does not sound as bad as it is meant): look at the ingredients, there is hardly any sugar in there but cultured buttermilk, eggs & butter, which is veeerrry good for you as the scientists finally confirm. Ah, I always wondered what the name of the pan was, I love buying kitchen stuff. Is it Japanese or Korean? N xx

      • Sweden doesn’t really have a version, as far as I know. Just about to make a chocolate cake for Sunday lunch with lots of milk, eggs and butter 😉
        The pan is Japanese and usually used for octopus/squid balls. Yum. Jxx

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