Danish holiday treats: Pudding, pancakes, and potato latkes

In our “Holiday Geocrafts and Treats” post, we suggested trying some traditional ethnic dishes. Of course, the possibilities are endless–nearly every culture on Earth from Mexico to Monaco has its own suite of seasonal recipes. So, to narrow the list, we stuck with our Geography in the News theme of Christmas in Denmark, and added a Chanukah recipe for good measure (of course, Jews are an important minority in Denmark as throughout much of Europe–ever read the excellent children’s book “Number the Stars?”)

So, without further ado, here are our favorite recipes for Danish rice pudding, Æbleskivers, and Jewish potato latkes.

ricepudding.jpgDanish Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is consumed throughout the holiday season in Denmark. On Christmas Eve, it follows the traditional meal of goose–the lucky guest to find the almond hidden in the pudding gets a prize. Another serving is offered at night to appease the prankster elf Nisse, who might otherwise make mischief. On Christmas morning, rice pudding is even eaten for breakfast!

We found lots of delicious-sounding recipes for rice pudding; some with raisins, some without, some with extra cinnamon dashed on top, even several with fresh or frozen raspberries mixed in! Start with this easy recipe from Allrecipes.com, and then get creative if you want!

Ableskivers are doughy balls, best described as a cross between a pancake and a popover, that are traditionally eaten for breakfast or dessert during the holidays. They are most often filled with sweet ingredients such as apple, banana, chocolate or pudding, and topped with powdered sugar, syrup or jam. They can also be made with sausage for a savory twist.

Note: This recipe requires a special ableskiver pan, and is therefore most appropriate for the more ambitious geo-culinary adventurer. However, I had to include it because it looks so darn yummy–who could resist a stuffed pancake ball o’goodness? And the name–able skiver, which means apple slice in Danish–is pretty groovy, too!

Here are two links for ableskiver recipes. The first, from Cooking with Good Lookin’, contains a few typos, but is short and simple with helpful photos and firsthand tips and tricks.

The second, from Aunt Else, an ableskiver expert and distributor of pans and ready-made mixes, is more comprehensive. It includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), a two-minute demonstration video, and plenty of photos.

Bon apetit!

latke.JPGJewish Potato Latkes
Potato pancakes are common in many types of cuisine, including Irish, Indian, and Swedish. The Jewish potato latke is a Chanukah staple. The oil in which it is cooked has special significance to the ancient fuel, a small vial of olive oil, which was predicted to last for only one day, yet burned for eight miraculous nights during the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem (the lighting of the Menorah candles on each night of Chanukah also commemorates this miracle).

For a simple yet delicious latke recipe we head again to Allrecipes.com. As the cook mentions in her notes, “you can’t go wrong with these crispy hot cakes. Serve with applesauce, sour cream and chopped green onions!”

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