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Hundreds enjoy aebleskivers at church fund-raiser

Waukegan-  Aebleskiver Day Redeemer Lutheran Church .
Aebleskiver are Danish pancake-like balls covered with powdered sugar accented by syrup jam

Waukegan- Aebleskiver Day at Redeemer Lutheran Church . Aebleskiver are Danish pancake-like balls covered with powdered sugar, accented by syrup, jam or jelly, sausages and applesauce. The batter is the key to rich flavorful outcome prepared by folding in whipped egg whites to traditional yolk based batter. From left on the cooking line is Ellen Engstrom, Linda Hartke and Alyssa Hartke.| Joe Cyganowski~ For Sun Times Media

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Updated: January 4, 2013 1:44AM

It was a one-year wait for aebleskiver enthusiasts who came to Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waukegan on Saturday to enjoy the delicate powder-sugared Danish delights.

“It’s worth the wait. I look forward to this day every year,” said Juanita Sanchez, who stood in a long line that at times snaked around the inside of the church, up the stairs and nearly into the sanctuary.

Sanchez and Wendy Smith of Kenosha are caregivers for Waukegan resident John Walkup whom they brought to the event, along with his neighbor Anne Stupor. “I’ve never had this before, and it’s delicious,” said Stupor enjoying a meal of aebleskivers, pork sausages and homemade pink applesauce.

Some people drizzled their aebleskivers with syrup, while others preferred various fruit preserves offered. Others liked to eat them plain.

A cross between a pancake and a donut or popover, aebleskivers are prepared in a monk pan often made of cast iron. The batter generally includes buttermilk, eggs—separated, sugar, flour and baking powder, among other ingredients.

In the old days, cooks were known to have put a bit of apple inside each one as they were made, hence the name aebleskiver which means “sliced apple” in Danish.

Larger than a golf ball, and smaller than a baseball, one aebleskiver is never enough. “You can have as many as you want,” said a server. And many did.

Volunteers at the Redeemer Lutheran Church fund-raising event had 16 aebleskiver pans smoking non-stop for five hours.

“We probably made at least 2,000 of them,” said Ellen Engstrom who has been cooking aebleskivers annually for the church over the past 30 years. “I’d say about 500 people showed up today, about the same as last year. We usually do pretty well.”

The staff was plentiful, and diners were courteous, inviting others to share their tables.

About 50 volunteers including teens and children, helped to fill coffee cups, toss out disposable dishes, and bring additional plates of hot, fresh aebleskivers to the tables.

A “country store” adjacent to the dining room was buzzing with activity. There were things like gently used housewares, books and toys for kids, dishes and knick-knacks, and homemade peanut brittle and baked goods.

Myra Ehnert of Gurnee picked up a handmade purple fleece vest with pockets. “For 10 dollars, this is really nice,” she said.

Joyce Bunnell of Waukegan was thinking about getting some peanut brittle for $5 a box.

Both ladies had just finished eating and remarked about how good the food was.

“Between the food (aebleskivers) and the store, we made about $5,000 after expenses last year,” said Carol Sittler of Waukegan, who coordinates the store. “We’d like to use the money to get new kitchen cabinets. The kitchen probably hasn’t been updated in 50 or 60 years. And it’s a big kitchen with lots of cabinets and about 25 drawers alone.”

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