After a particularly brutal battle a thousand years ago, Danish Vikings settled into their camp to make pancakes. But without proper pans, they took their dented shields, poured in the batter and cooked over the fire what would become aebleskivers, a popular Danish treat.
Or so the legend goes.
At Aebleskivers in Coeur d'Alene's Silver Lake Mall, Ron Nelson makes the small, round Danish pancakes of the same name with an American twist, adding things like huckleberry sauce and pumpkin flavors.
"[Aebleskivers are] like the Danish answer to the funnel cake, without the grease," he says.
But they're not just pancake balls, he adds. Aebleskivers are made using a different batter, with beaten egg whites, that cause them to puff up. They're cooked in a pan with round depressions, and each aebleskiver is turned throughout the approximate four-minute cook time so they come out spherical.
Nelson, who started out in the restaurant field when he was 15, began making aebleskivers about 20 years ago when his mom gave him a family recipe.
Last July, Nelson started Aebleskivers, selling at both Kootenai County Farmers Markets, then at Green Bluff's Oktoberfest. For the holidays, he opened a kiosk in the Silver Lake Mall. Only a few days after he packed up and left the mall, the manager called him and said he needed to come back.
"I guess they had 50 calls a day for people trying to find me," Nelson says.
Nelson, who signed a 13-month lease and reopened in a storefront in February, says he still plans to be at the farmers markets and other festivals.
Not only does Nelson serve plain aebleskivers ($3/3, $5.50/6, $7.50/9, $9/12) with whipped cream and your choice of huckleberry, boysenberry, blackberry or raspberry sauce, he cooks up pumpkin aebleskivers with cream cheese icing and caramel pumpkin sauce, and savory aebleskivers with sausage and havarti cheese topped with beer cheese sauce. (He also makes gluten-free aebleskivers per request.)
Utilizing another family recipe, Nelson cooks his dad's chili ($3/cup, $5.95/bowl), bakes cornbread and brownies and makes corn chowder and soup. ♦
Aebleskivers • 200 W. Hanley Ave., Coeur d'Alene • Open Mon-Sat, 10 am-7 pm; Sun, 11 am-6 pm • aebleskivers.com • 208-449-6325