The Danes’ Christmas Eve (Juleaften) begins with a 4pm candlelight church service with all the relatives, and is followed by an early feast. Before dinner, a bowl of rice porridge is set aside for the Julenisse (Christmas elves) so they will stop their pranking. A roast duck or goose stuffed with apples or prunes follows, served with caramelised potatoes, beets and red cabbage. Dessert is typically ris a l’amande (almond rice pudding), topped with a sweetcherry sauce. Traditional Danish pancakes (aebleskiver) are often served over the festive period as a special treat, and are a particular favourite on the morning of Christmas Eve.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (44 votes)


  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 40 g melted butter, to brush
  • snow sugar (see Note) or pure icing sugar, maple syrup and raspberry jam, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need an aebleskiver pan for this recipe. They are available from select cookware shops and online.

Resting time 20 minutes

Drink Aalborg Jubilaeums Aquavit, Copenhagen, Denmark (700 ml, $55)

Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Combine the buttermilk and egg yolks in a small bowl, then whisk into dry ingredients with lemon zest.

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites to soft peaks and fold into batter. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Heat aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Working in batches, brush holes with butter and fill each with 1 tbsp batter.

Cook for 3 minutes, then using a skewer or fork, turn each pancake over and cook for a further 3 minutes or until golden. Dust with snow sugar. Serve with maple syrup and jam.


• Snow sugar is a form of non-melting icing sugar available from specialist food shops.


Photography by Chris Chen


As seen in Feast magazine, Dec/Jan 2013, Issue 27.