I think this recipe would be a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving brunch. The children in our family love pancakes, and this version fits the season quite well due to the addition of cranberry jam. It doesn’t hurt that the pancakes have a unique look to them as well.
The recipe starts like any pancake recipe. The one challenge is actually fitting the jam into the pancakes, and to make that possible, I cooked them in an aebelskiver pan. Aebelskivers are round pancake balls that taste similar to crossbred doughnuts and popovers. I usually use this pan for a Vietnamese dish called bánh khọt, which is a savory Vietnamese-style rice flour pancake. You've probably seen it in a flat-version (bánh xèo). Today, it made lovely, fluffy pancakes filled with a dollop of sweet/tart cranberry jam. If you prefer, you could fill them with candied yams, though I think there wouldn’t be as much textural contrast. This is definitely a recipe to learn, as it’s easy to adapt to any season or occasion.
Servings: 7 servings
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla exrtact
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup water, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cinnamon extract
¼ cup vegetable oil
⅔ cup cranberry jam (or your favorite preserves), refrigerated
powdered sugar, for dusting
In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients.
Separate the eggs; reserve the egg whites for later.
In one bowl, whisk the egg yolks with sugar using a hand mixer until it's thick and pale yellow. Add the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients one-third at a time, then the buttermilk, water and butter. Do not overmix the batter.
Thoroughly wash the hand mixer blades. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites then whisk them until soft peaks form. Add ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and gently stir everything to soften the batter. Pour in the rest of the egg whites and gently fold them into the egg yolks to get an airy batter.
Transfer the batter to a pitcher. Brush a hot aebelskiver pan with oil using a silicone brush (there should be about ½ teaspoon oil or even a little more). When the pan is hot, pour 1-2 tablespoons of the batter (about ¾ to the top) and make the pancake balls in the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low. The pancake balls should start bubbling after a few minutes. Leave them alone. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Using a coffee stirer or a small teaspoon, place a small amount of cranberry jam in the center of each pancake ball. Fill with more batter to the top. Let stand for 1 minute. When you see the edges start to dry, take 2 chopsticks and flip the aebelskivers. They should cook for about 1-2 minutes until they are slightly golden.
Repeat the same procedure until all the batter is used. Dust the filled pancakes with powdered sugar.
Sifting dry ingredients helps get rid of nasty lumps of flour and aerates the mixture when liquid is added. It's very important for all your baking so you get a moist result.
This recipe yields about 35 pancake balls. Count about 5 per person.
You can serve them as either a sweet or a savory dish. Simply replace the cranberry jam with your favorite filling.