Grandma’s Christmas

Date: April 12, 2022 

Source and Relationship: Emily, cousin

Type: Tradition, Recipe, Family

Folklore/Text: Grandma’s Christmas: “My favorite part of every Christmas was spending the morning of Christmas Eve at Grandma’s house, when she’d make all the cousins ebelskivers for breakfast. I’m not even really sure how to describe them other than pancake balls. They were light and doughy and most of the time we’d pipe them with fruit or syrup or something. I think they’re Austrian or something, because I remember her telling us that she got the idea to make them after watching The Sound of Music. After everyone finished eating, we’d all gather around her tiny fake Christmas tree and exchange presents. Most of the time mine would be a scarf or a gift card. I miss her a lot.”

Explanation/Context: Every Christmas since I was born, all 20 of my first cousins on my mom’s side and their partners would squeeze in my grandma’s condo and share a giant breakfast together. By the time I was five or so, there was a clear schedule to our family reunions in December – we’d all arrive around the 22nd, share Christmas Eve morning with Grandma Julie, and then all go to Christmas Mass together at her favorite church the next morning. Since she passed, my aunts and uncles have attempted to make ebelskivers from her recipe book each year, but they simply don’t taste as good as when she made them in masses in her tiny kitchen. 

Annotation: Ebelskivers are actually spherical snacks of Danish descent, not Austrian. The name literally means “apple slices” in Danish, but typically apples are not a central ingredient in present-day recipes. The crust is similar to regular pancakes, but due to its shape, the inside tends to have a texture more like bread pudding, which is why it pairs well with fruit and other toppings.