Danish donuts a delight for decades at Waukegan church
By Tina Johnasson For Sun-Times Media November 3, 2013 12:42PM
Laura Miller gets a spoonful of homemade pink applesauce, while her husband Dexter Miller chooses among the toppings. Though not members of the church, the couple said they come to the Aebleskiver Day event every year. | TINA JOHANSSON~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Updated: December 5, 2013 6:21AM
It happens every year at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waukegan. And for many, Aebleskiver Day which was held Saturday can’t come soon enough.
The Danish treats with the funny name, described as a cross between a pancake, donut and popover, are the star of the event at the church which once held deep Scandinavian roots.
“Years ago, the ladies would dress in Danish costumes here while preparing and serving (aebleskivers),” said Carol Sittler, a member of the church for more than 50 years.
As Sittler was in charge of the Country Store — a mini makeshift shopping center where handicrafts and peanut brittle was sold — assemblies of aebleskiver lovers were across the hall indulging in the sweet and fluffy spheres. Some would drizzle them with syrup, while others opted for dollops of fruit preserves. And then there were those who chose to devour the powder-sugared delights just as they were.
“We usually get between 500 and 600 people here, and about 50 or so carryout orders,” said organizer Ellen Engstrom, a longtime volunteer who was busy in the kitchen where the multi-step process of making the batter took place.
“Today, we opened the doors 15 minutes early because of all the people lined up outside.”
For only five hours — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — the occasion was held. Visitors got to eat aebleskivers for breakfast, while others got to eat them for lunch.
Adults were charged $6 and children age 10-under were $3.50. Though Aebleskivers, coffee, juice and milk were endless, there was a limit to the sausages on the plates. More could be purchased for a minimal amount.
Proceeds from the event will go to help with church maintenance, and 10 percent off the top is for missions sponsored by the church both at home and around the globe, said Engstrom.
There were quite a few locals, but others traveled from Libertyville, Antioch and even Des Plaines to get their once-a-year fix.
For Joy Steward of Lindenhurst, this was the first time attending. “It took me five years to get here,” she said, explaining the date never seemed to coincide with her schedule. “I kept missing it. But today, I had a friend tell me she had room in her van, so I jumped at the chance. It was well-worth the trip. I loved it! Everybody should try them.”
While Engstrom doesn’t foresee the Danish folk attire making a comeback anytime soon, and Sittler has no clue where the old costumes might be, there is one thing for certain: It seems the annual Aebleskiver Day at Redeemer Lutheran Church will never go out of style.