Aunt Else’s New Æbleskiver Pan

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Editor’s Note: Aunt Else’s shut down in spring of 2013.

If you’ve lingered at their table at the Downtown St. Paul Winter Farmers’ Market (as of last Saturday Apr. 18, officially closed for the season) or the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis (opening for the season on Saturday, May 9) and watched them cook their spherical Danish pancakes in the special cast-iron pan, you’ve likely noticed that Aunt Else’s sells their own packaged æbleskiver mix. Now, Aunt Else’s plans to design and sell their own cast-iron æbleskiver pan.

Æbleskiver, (pronounced EB-el-sku-wyr), which derive their name from the Danish for apple slice, are spherical Danish pancakes with a slice of apple at the center that are cooked on the stove-top in the rounded cups of a special cast-iron pan. The æbleskiver are rotated frequently, traditionally with a knitting needle (Aunt Else’s also advocates using chopsticks) during cooking to ensure even browning. “Similar to other Scandinavian treats, such as krumkake or rosettes, cooking æbleskiver requires specialized equipment,” says Chad Gillard, President of Aunt Else’s. “In this case, a pan, to give it its special shape and texture. Æbleskiver are solid, but light and airy like a pancake.”

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Æbleskiver pans have been made in the US for 150 years. Lodge has made a cast-iron pan for years, but, Gillard said, “They kept raising their prices, which spurred us to create our own.” Gillard and his partners, Lisa Timek and Linda Engwall (nieces of the “real” Aunt Else) and Sarah Engwall (Aunt Else’s grandniece), are innovating in their pan design by including nine, rather than seven, holes. “It will be more efficient to make a bunch of æbleskiver for your family.”

And family gatherings are what æbleskiver are all about. Originally, in Denmark, æbleskiver were served during Advent, particularly on Christmas Eve. Now they are considered an anytime food and æbleskiver vendors are a familiar sight on the streets of Copenhagen, according to Gillard. In the US, “They are served at family gatherings and shared with close friends, not necessarily for a specific holiday, but often for a special occasion,” says Gillard. “There’s lots of tradition around it and Danish-Americans have really held on to that.”

“When the economy is difficult, people come back to family and tradition,” Gillard adds. Aunt Else’s wants to foster that. At Gillard’s house, his kids have their own tradition, “skiver Saturdays.” And while in the US “people have turned it into a breakfast thing,” Gillard says æbleskiver can be sweet or savory, noting he served a ham and cream cheese version at a family gathering recently. Another savory inclusion Aunt Else’s has tried recently is buffalo summer sausage. Sweet additions and toppings include chocolate, powdered sugar, jam, maple syrup, or Nina Wong’s “Nina’s all natural Ginger Syrup”  (available in 8-oz bottles for $9.99 at Wong’s restaurant ChinDian Cafe on 1500 E. Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis).

 

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Aunt Else’s will stick with using the traditional cast-iron for their pans, compared to the “aluminum pans with Teflon made by Nordic Ware,” notes Gillard. “We like the flavor from cast-iron, and how it cooks. And, we avoid the health concerns. However, since cast-iron is heavier, we are trying to find the right balance so the pan isn’t extremely heavy.”

Gillard said they’ve been working on the project for about three months. They are currently having a pattern made, from which they hope to have prototypes in a couple of weeks, with pans ready to sell in a month or month and a half. Aunt Else’s has chosen to work with Smith Foundry in Minneapolis, a mid-sized local foundry who could handle the quantity Aunt Else’s needed and “helped them through the process.” They are exploring the feasibility of using iron from only Minnesota, so that the pan would be local in every way possible.

Aunt Else’s hopes to price the pans in the $25-$35 range and plans to sell them through Golden Fig in St. Paul, Local D’Lish in Minneapolis, and their own website, which is undergoing a redesign.

Said Gillard: “We have a lot of irons in the fire.”

***

More æbleskiver tasting opportunities:

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25 Comments

  1. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/15900
    A URL for Tyler, MN Æbleskiver Days.

  2. Mister Patrick04/23/2009Reply

    I took a look at them last week at Golden’s Deli where they set up during the winter months. Looked good but $5 for three little skivers is waaaay too much for a $.05 of dough. Anyone know how much the pans are going to run for?

  3. Couldn’t you say that for any food prepared professionally, or at any fair or festival? It’s more about the experience and having it made for you than the bulk pricing. I’ve had them at the Mill City Market and they were tasty – and fun to watch them being made.

  4. Are the cast iron Aebleskiver pans from Smith Foundry available? I prefer to buy American, and I urge everyone else to do the same. I’d even go for a Lodge pan if Smith is not making them. Thank you!

    Build, Sell, and Buy American Products! If we don’t make it on American Soil, how can we expect Americans to continue to have jobs (let alone a Tax Base!), buy the things we need, or build our Nation Stronger???

  5. The new, local pan is still a couple weeks away! The first prototype was much heavier than we expected, so we’ve refined the design a little and are expecting the new prototype today, ironically.
    Patti S, if you’d like a Lodge pan now, we could trade it out for a new pan once they are in. Thanks for your interest, and we couldn’t agree more about buying locally.

  6. Thank you for the immediate response! I do own Lodge pans and I like them very much. However, I would wait for one of Smith’s pans. Would you email me when I could order one? I am really looking forward to making some Aebleskivers!
    If I offend anyone with the Soap Box, I apologize, but I have become very upset about our last decade and a half (politically). It seems that, ever since NAFTA and GATT, the US business environment has been hell-bent on closing our factories and whittling away at our tax base by exporting our jobs (yes, one was mine). I know labor is cheaper elsewhere (and the EPA can’t touch foreign companies, and there are few / any child labor laws, etc), but we should demand American-made products. I will NOT buy anything made in China. I will go without! I will make it myself if I can. I walk up to managers in Walmart, Target, my grocery store, wherever, and tell them I’m am not buying their offerings unless they say Made in the USA. I told the manager in Publix the other day that he can keep the pretty red, white, and blue bowls (for 4th of July). It made me mad to see Patriotic items made in some Communist country.
    I hope you can understand that I am glad that the pan I want to buy (Smith or Lodge) is US-made. Thanks for doing this!

  7. nunzio from California06/30/2009Reply

    My sister in law made them for us for father’s day brunch. Aebleskiver’s are to die for. My wife is a great baker and would love to find a good quality american pan. Does Girard have an actual date when the nine aebleskiver pans will be made (7 is too few because they are eaten w/in seconds) Thanks for the internet to allow me to your blog and Aunt Else in Minnesota.

  8. Alana Carlson07/10/2009Reply

    aebleskiver’s have been a part of my family for generations however finding a pan that provides large volume cooking is impossible. My Mom and Grandmother searched everywhere two years ago for one to give us as a wedding gift and could only find the 7 and miniature sized and I am in the kitchen for close to three hours cooking these things to share with my family of 10. Is there a release as of yet on your pans?

  9. Nunzio & Alana….you guys are exactly who we had in mind when we designed our 9-hole pan! Aebleskiver evaporate in our house too! We are waiting for the final tooling to be finished, and then the pans can be made. I will have an update on Monday, we are very, very excited to get the pans and are thankful for your interest! Please email me at auntelse@gmail.com and I will arrange shipment to you as soon as I have my hands on them.

    Patti S…..I admire your convictions! Please email me at auntelse@gmail.com so I can let you know when the pan is ready as well! Thanks so much and sorry for the delay in response, I wasn’t notified of your second post!

  10. 9-hole pan update! We are expecting the matchplate (final tooling) this week, and will be able to review the final samples next week. Assuming everything looks good, we will have pans for sale by the end of the month. If you’d like to be notified when the pan is ready, please send an email to auntelse@gmail.com and we’ll make sure you get one of the first pans available! Thanks so much for your interest and patience!

  11. 9-Hole cast iron pans were just delivered! They look great! They are available on http://www.auntelse.com and at our booth at the Mill City Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s from 8am-1pm! Thanks for your patience, I think you’ll enjoy these pans!

  12. Elizabeth Davis09/28/2009Reply

    Could you please advise if you ship pans to Australia or is there anywhere you can buy them?
    Regards,
    Elizabeth Davis

  13. Hi Elizabeth!
    Thank you for your interest in Aunt Else’s! We use the US Postal Service’s Flat Rate Priority Mail service to ship internationally, and the cost is $41.95 above and beyond the cost of the pan. I’d be happy to ship Down Under if you’re ok with the shipping costs.
    I shipped an order to the UK a couple weeks back, and the customer just received the pan as the Royal Mail was on partial strike. No looming strikes at Australia Post is there?
    Thanks again…..Chad

  14. I just received my new 9-hole Aebleskiver pan with the Starter Kit on Saturday (perfect timing for a Danish treat on Sunday morning!). I have been very anxious for it to arrive, and I did just as the instructions said (washed it in hot soapy water, dried it thoroughly, heated it in a 400 degree F oven for > 1 hour, cooled it slowly, etc). Thanks for the Tip: the tin foil under the pan protected the oven from any runoff. I have seasoned pans before, but this was very simple, and it came out nice and shiny black.
    On Sunday morning, I used half of the mix to test it out, and…. Oh, my God! I LOVE THESE AEBLESKIVERS! I did some plain, some with Apple Slices and Cinnamon, some with Nutella, and some with Raisins and Cinnamon. I’m going to have to make the second half of the mix to taste ‘em again, because I don’t know which is my favorite! A little powdered sugar dusted on them and THEY WERE HEAVENLY!
    1) THE PAN is absolutely fantastic! It’s eight pounds of AMERICAN MADE cast iron, perfectly sized and formed. I had to turn the heat up to medium high, because the first batch stuck to the pan when it heated too slowly. Recovery went fine; I just used a wooden utensil to scrape the little bits cooked on the pan, and I was back in business. The pan was still hot and I prepped for the second batch. Using just a little oil on a pastry brush (I was a little nervous about using too much), the pan still produced a perfect sphere in 3 – 4 turns on the 2nd batch.
    2) THE BATTER MIX IS EXCELLENT! I use whole wheat flour at home all the time (a diabetic in the house), and THANK YOU, Aunt Else, for making the mix so simple and healthy (I love the Buttermilk Powder!). It wasn’t too sweet, and the proof is in the plain Aebleskiver; delicate and scrumptious! I got about 20 Aebleskivers out of the batter (half of the bag of mix), but my challenge is to try not to fill the wells too full.
    3) THE METAL CHOPSTICK works perfectly, spinning the half-round dough over. It took me only a couple of tries to make it go where I wanted it to go. They were rolling and flipping just like in the little video (http://auntelse.com). Surprisingly, the chopstick didn’t get hot.
    Thanks again, Aunt Else, for sharing your wonderful pan and mix with me! Now, I want to feed Aebleskivers to everyone in my family and at work!

  15. Thank you for the wonderful feedback Patti! We are thrilled that you are enjoying using your new pan so much! Your description of the first batch is very typical, it happens to us sometimes too, especially when we are trying to rush and feed some hungry kids screaming for their ‘skivers!
    Keep the filling ideas coming! We just recently added a page on our site to “Share Your ‘Skivers”, so feel free to share your inspiration there as well!

  16. Hi I am really interested in one of these pans as my brothes fiancé is Danish and has mentioned these recipes to us. I was wondering how much this was for pan and postage as I am from the UK? Please get back to me via e-mail
    Many thanks

  17. Hi Kathryn, thanks for your interest in the pan. We have shipped to several folks in the UK, and the cost of shipping is about the price of the pan. :-( You can place an order on our site, http://www.auntelse.com. We are currently offering free US shipping, but alas that won’t apply to your good self. Sorry!
    Also, we have helped some folks in Stone get set up making aebleskiver at their local farmer’s markets. If you ever find yourself up in that area, look for Battercakes by The Baker’s Man.
    Thanks much!

  18. Kathryn, thanks for your interest in the pan. We have shipped to several folks in the UK, and the cost of shipping is about the price of the pan. :-( You can place an order on our site, http://www.auntelse.com. We are currently offering free US shipping, but alas that won’t apply to your good self. Sorry!
    Also, we have helped some folks in Stone get set up making aebleskiver at their local farmer’s markets. If you ever find yourself up in that area, look for Battercakes by The Baker’s Man.

  19. Something wrong with the site, it won’t let me post my comment.

  20. It worked! Let’s try again….

    Kathryn, thanks for your interest in the pan. We have shipped to several folks in the UK, and the cost of shipping is about the price of the pan. :-( You can place an order on our site, http://www.auntelse.com. We are currently offering free US shipping, but alas that won’t apply to your good self. Sorry!
    Also, we have helped some folks in Stone get set up making aebleskiver at their local farmer’s markets. If you ever find yourself up in that area, look for Battercakes by The Baker’s Man.

  21. Has anyone tried to make takoyaki using these pans? Looks promising.

  22. What happened can’t find any information???? Is aunt else still in business?

Trackbacks for this post

  1. […] and a cooking demo from Brett Olson of Renewing the Countryside.  2009’s new vendors include Aunt Else’s Æbleskiver, French Nugget all natural dark chocolate snacks, Local D’Lish foods store, and Love Tree […]

  2. […] thereafter, in late April, Lori Writer wrote a great article about the pan for our favorite blog, The Heavy Table. The article got quite a bit of attention, people asking for […]

  3. […] I’ll be able to sell this,” Gillard recalls thinking. As one of the founders of Aunt Else’s Æbleskivers, Gillard had the marketing experience to get the product out into the public eye. That left […]

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