Irish meets Danish in these Aebleskivers

Maybe I could call these billowy, soft balls of goodness Irish pancake puffs. The batter is traditional Danish Aebleskiver, only better. These aebleskivers start with Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver Mix, a blend of local-to-Minnesota organic wheat flours and buttermilk. And, rather than the customary apple slice baked inside, these orbs of doughliciousness have a savory filling with an Irish flair — corned beef and cabbage with a bit of cheese. Pull one of these warm babies apart and spoon on some of Lucille’s Garden Green Pepper Jam and it just happens — Irish meets Danish in aebleskivers that satisfy with a multicultural blend of texture and flavor.

My first attempt at making aebleskivers was several years ago when my daughter-in-law and I made them together after I watched an aebleskiver-making demonstration. I think they turned out fairly well, but my little baking pan with the round shallow wells went back into storage and I never made the sweet treats again. Never even thought about them.

A couple of years ago I met Chad Gillard, co-owner of Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver. He was busy making his specialty treat at the Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience, serving them up as samples to the curious crowd. Right beside him was Zoie Glass, Jelly Epicurean for her company,  Lucille’s Kitchen Garden. A dab of one of Zoie’s flavorful jellies was served on each mouth-load of hot and fresh Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver just out of the special cast-iron pan.

Zoie Glass, Jelly Epicurean                               Â

Chad Gillard, co-owner of Aunt Else's Aebleskiver

I was smitten. Not only by the edibles these two entrepreneurs were offering, but by their energy and enthusiasm. It was so obvious both of these Twin Cities-based business owners were in love with what they were doing and passionate about their commitment to support local food producers and small businesses.

I’ve continued to run into Zoie and Chad at Twin Cities farmers markets over the last couple of years, each time eating more Aunt Else’s Aebleskivers topped with some variety of Lucille’s Kitchen Garden jelly. They were at the Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Show at Target Field earlier this month.

A few weeks ago I attended a Les Dames meeting at Local D’Lish in Minneapolis. Chad was there with at least 4 of his Aebleskiver pans, heated up over portable gas burners and ready for novice A-bakers to give it a try. Our group of food professionals had great fun as we turned out some great-looking A’s, some with sweet filling, some with savory. I baked mine with chunks of summer sausage and cheese and then topped it off with Lucille’s Kitchen Garden Green Pepper Jelly. With confidence and inspiration, I was ready to try out the whole A-baking process in my own kitchen.

I pulled out the gluten-free Aunt Else’s Aeblsekiver mix that Chad gave me.

With the mix, all I needed to add was eggs and liquid, usually water, but I chose beer as the liquid for my aebleskivers with an Irish flair.

You can’t believe how heavy the made-in-Minneapolis cast-iron nine-hole Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver baker is. That’s why it works so well.

As the beer-spiked batter swelled up in the baker, I sprinkled chopped, drained sauerkraut, deli-sliced corned beef and shredded Swiss cheese over the top of each.

As the Irish-style savory aebleskivers baked, I turned them with a chopstick, just as Chad had taught me, to form perfectly rounded balls.

Once baked, I couldn’t wait to split one open and start eating.

Exactly what I was hoping for — aebleskivers heady with yeast from the beer (the beer which makes these treats no longer gluten-free), oozing with melted cheese and just the right amount of corned beef and cabbage. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Green Pepper Jelly from Lucille’s Kitchen Garden. Now, that’s Irish.

I did make a batch of aebleskivers using a recipe from an old cookbook so I could share it with those of who want to give this a try, but can’t get a bag of Aunt Else’s right away. You can click here to see a list of places that sell Aunt Else’s.

Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver web site has a video you can watch each step of the stove-top baking process as well as a written tutorial. Click right here to get there in a hurry.

Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver Mix is the easiest way to get the best-tasting and most beautiful Aebleskivers you will ever get your hands on to pop into your mouth. This recipe from the 1987 book of Rosemalers’ Recipes is on the sweet side. I used half of the milk called for and replaced the other half with beer. They were fine, but not as good as Aunt Else’s.

If you are having a group of friends over to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, give everyone a chance to try making their own Irish Aebleskiver. It will be a party you’ll all remember.

If you prefer more traditional Irish fare on St. Patrick’s Day, you will most certainly enjoy the authentic Irish Soda Bread that I posted last year at this time. Click here to get right to that recipe.

Irish Aebleskiver

(adapted from a collection of recipes in Rosemalers’ Recipes, 1987.)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • sauerkraut, drained and chopped
  • corned beef, chopped fine
  • swiss cheese, grated

Combine sugar and eggs and beat well with whisk. Add cooled butter to mixture and whisk again to blend. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk and beer. Heat aebleskiver pan. When pan is hot, put a teaspoon or so of canola oil in each well. Spoon enough dough into each section to read 3/4 way to the top. Sprinkle each one with cheese, meat and sauerkraut. Cook and turn with a chopstick when golden brown on the bottom. When aebleskiver is golden all the way around, remove from pan. Try to let it cool a minute or two before eating. The cheese inside gets pretty hot. Makes 3 to 4 dozen (Depending on the size of the wells in your aebleskiver pan.)

30 thoughts on “Irish meets Danish in these Aebleskivers

    • Thanks, Chad. The flavors and texture were A-mazing, too. I hope you’ll add them to your repertoire! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • The recipe above has too much sugar: the aebleskiver becomes too tender to turn, burns too easliy, and tastes too sweet.

      • Yes, aebleskiver recipes can be tricky, Andrew. That’s why I stick with Aunt Else’s Mix — it’s no-fail.

  1. They look great! I had same experience like you before with aebleskivers – tried once, now the pan is deep down my closet :( I should put myself to train how to make proper ones. Mine were nicely round but i had problem that they were not fully baked inside :( and when I was keeping them longer on the pan they were getting burned. I know I know…. to much heat, but well… never somehow ever put myself to try them again. I guess I finally should

    • When Chad did the demonstration for us at our les Dames meeting, he rested a grill thermometer on each aebleskiver pan so he could keep track of the temperature. I don’t have one, so just had to hope for the best. Once those cast iron pans are hot, they hold the heat for a long time. I hope you’ll give them another try. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great article and beautiful photos. I just ordered an aebleskiver pan and now I’m anxious to give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • I hope you have great luck trying out your new aebleskiver pan. If it is cast iron, be sure to season it first. Then, just have fun making and eating aebleskivers, Jodi!

  3. I received Aunt Else’s pan for Christmas 2 years ago and LOVE IT!!! Mine definitely does not collect dust!
    Thanks for sharing this unique recipe – I’m going to try it for sure

    • Oh, lucky you, Glenda. Aren’t Aunt Else’s pans the best? They are such good quality and they have the largest wells for the batter that I’ve ever seen. I hope you have a chance to try these Irish-style Aebleskivers. And with Lucille’s Kitchen Garden Green Pepper Jelly — oh, you just want to keep eating!

  4. I love aebleskivers but I never thought of creating a savory one. These sound so good! I’m definitely going to have to make these.

    • Kirbie, it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to thinking up things to bake into these little pancake balls. Next I’m thinking of using a chunk of cream cheese and a generous dab of kumquat marmalade. A nice sweet treat for a springtime brunch, don’t you think? What kinds of sweet fillings do you like to use, Kirbie?

  5. I love making these, I have the smaller Japanese version Takoyaki which we fill with octopus so yours have given me some new ideas for savoury fillings.

  6. Thanks for this recipe! It’s just what we needed, since we already have a package of Aunt Else’s in the cabinet.
    The pan is fantastic – we got ours at Lueken’s North in town last summer. Not sure if they still have them. The kids can make these and have a great time in the kitchen, with my older kids supervising the younger ones. It’s so much fun!

    • You’re right, Amy. Aebleskivers are such fun to make with children. I visited with a woman who always makes them with her 10-year-old granddaughter on sleep-over weekends. I checked at Lueken’s North last week to buy more Aunt Else’s mix, but was told they would no longer be carrying it. I hope they will reconsider. Maybe ask for some next time you are there. If there are enough requests, maybe they will get it back on the shelf. Aunt Else’s is so delicious and makes Aebleskiver-making so easy.

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  8. I’m going to try these too. My husband’s family is 100% Danish so I’ve learned the art of Aebleskiver making, but now I can inject a little of my Irish ancestry into the dish. My kids deserve to taste both sides of the family, right?

    • Tracy, sounds like your family has the best of both worlds! Their palates that are familiar with Aebleskiver will love the Irish surprise inside.

  9. Aebleskiver? that was my question. As a person that was raised on cast iron, I spotted a very strange looking old cast iron pan at my very favorite shop, Rich’s in Park Rapids. When I asked what is this she said “It is for Aebleskiver’s! My comment “what is an aebleskiver?” her comment “a baked good”. At that moment as I stand at the counter (because even tho I had no idea what Aebleskiver was) I knew I had to have it, two very seasoned bakers came in, seeing me holding the pan they said “an Aebleskiver pan!”. Sisters out for a venture came in that moment to answer what is Aebleskiver? They explained to me that as children Aebleskiver was a Sunday morning treat, just out of the pan sprinkled with sugar or eaten with syrup or molassis. They took my address promising to send me their family recipe. I purchased my newly found treasure, took it home and scrubbled it up and re-seasoned my newly found very old cast iron pan, still not sure what to do with it. Within 2 weeks a letter arrived with a recipe for Aebleskiver …..Awsome! Thank you Sue for sharing this recipe, now I have even more ways to use my charished very old Aebleskiver pan.

    • Oh, Candy, what a beautiful story. A friend of mine told me she makes Aebleskiver as her guests watch during a brunch. She always tucks a chunk of apple into her Aebleskiver. Thanks for sharing your shopping experience that resulted in a new cherished piece for you kitchen.

    • what a delightful story! how generous of the sisters to share their treasured family recipe–would you be willing to share it?

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