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Vetekrans – Swedish Tea Ring

Vetekrans aka Swedish Tea Ring is a very delicious coffee cake. The cake is called a coffee cake but there is no coffee in it, it just means it’s served with coffee or tea. The dough is surprisingly light in texture and the cake is simply just amazing when served right out of the oven, which I would recommend.

This recipe uses the cold rise method. It tells you to let your dough rest in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. I was pressed for time when I made this wonderful Tea Ring because my husband Joe was taking it with him to his Blacksmith meeting, so I could only let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour but it still turned out beautifully. The recipe makes a huge amount of dough which I thought was a bit much, so I cut off four 1 inch pieces of the rolled up dough and baked them separately as cinnamon rolls, yum! And as you can see there was still plenty for the Tea Ring to go around.

Word of advise: Just to simplify rolling out the dough, I marked off my work surface for how big the dough was supposed to be. I used four pieces of white sticker labels (you could also use small pieces of post-it-notes). Also, make sure the dough is rolled out as even as you can get it on your work surface. This will ensure your finished roll/ring will be the same thickness throughout. If you have a thicker area in your ring, baking can be a little uneven. ūüėČ

This post will be submitted to YeastSpotting.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 50 grams cake/fresh yeast)

1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

vegetable oil, for greasing bowl

For the filling:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Pour warm water (100-110 degrees F) into a bowl and sprinkle active dry yeast into water, let sit for 10 minutes. In the bowel of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the 1/2 cup melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt, cardamom and dissolved yeast/water. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the flour in increments and mix until dough is smooth (you may not need all the flour). Lightly grease a large bowel with vegetable oil. Place dough into oiled bowel, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 2-24 hours.

Fit a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place dough onto a floured work surface and roll out to a 20 x 24 inch  diameter. Make sure dough is rolled out evenly without any high spots. Gently spread a thin layer of the softened butter all the way out to the edge of the dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the butter. Starting from the long edge, roll dough tightly as a jelly roll. Move roll from work surface to baking sheet and shape into a ring. Gently press edges together to seal. With scissors, cut 2/3 way through the ring at 3/4 inch intervals. Twist each cut piece so the inside is visible. Cover ring with a dry, clean tea towel and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow Tea ring to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Mix glaze ingredients together and sprinkle on top of ring. Enjoy!

Source: The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

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Danish Birkes

Up until the time I decided to make Birkes, I thought there was just one type of Birkes. But that is not the case at all. When I started researching recipes I discovered three different kinds of this super delicious Danish pastry.

I was born and raised in a part of Denmark called Jylland where the pastry is referred to as Birkes or Thebirkes. This Birkes does not have a Remonce filling and the pasty at our house was always sliced in half and topped with jam or cheese…super delicious! My search lead me further east to Sj√¶lland which is the island where Copenhagen (K√łbenhavn) is located. Here the pastry is called K√łbenhavnerbirkes or Thebirkes and the wonderful people in the Copenhagen area makes the pastry with a Remonce filling…equally wonderful in its own way. Grovbirkes, as far as I can tell, can be found throughout Denmark and it is made with a healthy portion of flaxseed, sesame seeds and/or sunflower seeds…this one I have never tasted.

My favorite is the Birkes without Remonce, I guess because it’s the one I grew up with. The Birkes is flaky and buttery in the best true Danish style. The K√łbenhavnerbirkes is sweeter in taste, and as far as I can tell, the pastry is eaten as-is. There is a lot of conversation going on out there in Cyber-land about Birkes vs K√łbenhavnerbirkes and I was surprised to find out that people from one end of the country to the other, is not really aware of the other kind of Birkes. When I called my parents to ask them about Birkes with a Remonce filling my mother said that she had never heard of “such a thing”, so apparently I am not the only one ūüôā

Notice the clumps of butter in the two pictures on the right. The butter should be the size of kidney beans.

Rolling and folding process.

The dough is rolled out, then folded into thirds and folded into thirds again.
This process in repeated three times. Notice how you still see the butter in the dough.

Puff pastry (Butterdej) with all its wonderful layers!

If making Birkes with Remonce, spread remonce over 2/3 of dough, fold into thirds and cut into 2 inch rectangles.

Note: after I filled with Remonce, I placed the dough on the baking sheet upside down so the filling was towards the top. I think this may have resulted in the Birkes that had the filling in them, turned out like The Leaning Tower of Pisa. So try to place them on the baking sheet with the filling towards the bottom.

Makes 2 portions of Puff Pastry dough (Butterdej).

Ingredients:

For the dough:

3 1/2 cups flour (15 3/4 oz) (450 grams)

1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter (12 oz) (340 grams)

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 50 grams cake/fresh yeast)

1/2 cup warm water (4 oz) (118 ml) (100 ‚Äď 110 degrees Fahrenheit)

1/2 cup heavy cream (4 oz) (118 ml)

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar (1 3/4 oz) (55 grams)

For Remonce filling: optional

2.8 oz butter (80 grams) at room temperature

2.8 oz sugar (80 grams)

2.8 oz marzipan (80 grams) at room temperature

For final assembly:

1 egg, slightly beaten for brushing

Poppy Seeds for sprinkling

Directions:

Place flour into bowl of food processor with steel blade. Cut cold butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to flour. Pulse flour and butter until the butter is the size of kidney beans.

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, cardamom, salt, eggs and sugar and mix until combined using a fork. Using a rubber spatula, turn the flour/butter mixture into the liquid and carefully mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, overnight or up to 4 days.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, dust top of dough with flour. Roll out dough to make a 16 to 20 inch rectangle. Fold dough into thirds, rotate dough a quarter of turn and fold into thirds again, making a small square. Turn over dough. Repeat rolling and folding another two times (making it a total 3 times of rolling and folding), ending with a small square. Using a sharp knife cut dough into two halves. Wrap each 1/2 portion of dough in plastic wrap, place both dough portions in a plastic bag and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Refrigerated dough is now divided into 2 halves. Each half of dough will make 10 birkes rolls. If you are not using the second half of dough, it can be frozen for later use. Defrost in refrigerator for 24 plus hours before using.

If using the Remonce filling, make it at this time. Use a hand-held mixer, beat the butter, sugar and marzipan to a smooth soft spreadable cream. Set aside.

Remove first half of dough from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface, dust top of dough with flour. Roll dough out to a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. If using Remonce filling, spread a thin layer of the filling over 2/3 of the long edge of dough. Starting with the long edge that has the filling, fold 1/3 of dough over the middle. Then fold the remaining 1/3 of dough without filling over the middle, the dough is now folded into 3 layers. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into approximately 2 inch rectangular pieces. Place pieces of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rise for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly beat egg and brush onto top of dough. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow Birkes to cool on baking sheet. Birkes with Remonce filling is eaten as is. Birkes without filling is sliced in half and topped with jam or cheese. Enjoy

Source: My Danish Kitchen

This recipe will be submitted to YeastSpotting.

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Fastelavnsboller

Fastelavn (Shrovetide) is right around the corner in Denmark and so this time of year you see these wonderful fresh-baked filled rolls everywhere. I have posted about the Danish Fastelavn tradition before but I think the Fastelavnsboller is totally worth revisiting, especially since they are one of my favorite Danish treats. ūüôā If your curious to learn more about this fun tradition for the children check out my previous post on Fastelavnsboller here.

Fastelavnsboller

These particular Fastelavnsboller are lighter in texture than my previous recipe. The dough is soft and elastic and very easy to work with. Also there is no rolling out the dough. Simply just divide the dough into smaller portions, roll in your hands, then flatten and fill. Easy peasy!  I choose to do several different fillings. I made a delicious kagecreme (custard) and I also used seedless raspberry jam and Nutella.

Ingredients:

For Fastelavnsboller dough:

2 deciliter milk (7 ounces)

4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 50 grams cake/fresh yeast)

50 grams sugar (1.7 or 1  3/4 ounce)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar

1 deciliter heavy whipping cream (3.3 ounces)

125 grams butter, melted (4.4 or 4 3/8 ounces) or (8.4 tablespoons)

500 grams all-purpose flour (1 pound + 2 ounces) or (4 cups + 2 tablespoons)

1 beaten egg for brushing

seedless raspberry jam, for filling, if using

Nutella, for filling, if using

For Kagecreme (custard), for filling, if using:

1 deciliter heavy whipping creme (3.3 ounces) or (0.4 cup)

1 1/2 deciliter milk (5 ounces) or (0.6 cup)

50 grams sugar (1.7 or 1 3/4 ounce)

2 whole eggs

1 vanilla bean

2 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

warm water

food color, if desired

Directions:

Heat the milk to between 100-110 degrees F (37-43 degrees C) and sprinkle active dry yeast over the warm milk, let sit for 10 minutes. I do this in the bowl of my stand mixer. Melt butter and add cream to butter, set aside. To the yeast mixture add sugar, salt, cardamom, vanilla sugar and butter/cream mixture. With the dough hook in place start mixing on medium-low adding the flour in increments. Mix until a ball of dough forms. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and place bowl in a warm draft free area. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour or until double in size.

Meanwhile make the Kagecreme (custard), if using. Mix together the creme and milk, pour into a saucepan, holding back 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the cornstarch to the 1/4 cup liquid and stir to combine, set aside. Add sugar, eggs, seeds from vanilla bean + vanilla bean pods. Over medium low heat, whisking frequently, add the remaining 1/4 cup cornstarch liquid mixture. Continue to whisk until liquid starts to thicken and simmer. Remove from heat, discard vanilla bean pods and place in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent skin from forming. Place in refrigerator to cool

Back to the dough. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Beat egg for the egg wash and set aside. Pour dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Briefly knead the dough. Cut the dough into 12 equal portions. Using your hands, roll first piece of dough into a ball, place on work surface and flatten with the palm of your hand spreading it into a 5 inch (13 centimeter) circle. Place filling of your choice onto circle of dough. Brush the edge of circle with egg wash to act as a glue. Fold four edges up to the center and press to seal all edges, letting the air inside escape. Brush a little more egg wash over the seam, turn the dough ball over, tuck under all edges and place on baking sheet with seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Allow filled dough balls to rise on the baking sheets, covered with clean tea towels, for 30 minutes. Right before baking, brush dough balls with remaining egg wash. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the icing, mix together confectioners sugar with a little warm water at the time, stirring until smooth. Glaze should be somewhat thick but spreadable. Add food color if desired. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Maden I Mit Liv

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Perfect Pie Crust

The Holiday season is upon us and with so many foods to be baked and cooked it is really tempting to use a store-bought pie crust instead of making your own. However, this pie crust is both delicious and quick and easy to make…so why use a store-bought? This Perfect Pie Crust comes out light and flaky and it contains more butter than vegetable shortening (which I like) plus it can easily be made a day ahead saving you precious time on your busy day ūüôā

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar (plus more for sprinkling)

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

6-8 tablespoons ice water (about 1/2 cup)

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Directions:

Measure out ahead of time the vegetable shortening and place in refrigerator to allow to get very cold.

Dice the butter and place back in refrigerator until ready to use. Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the cold butter and shortening. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas (8-12 pulses). With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube. Continue to pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Divide dough into two equal parts and form each dough ball into a slightly flattened disk. Wrap each dough disk tightly in plastic wrap and store in a large zip-loc bag. Place dough in refrigerator until ready to use. Can easily be stored in refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make your pie, make sure your work surface is well-floured. Place first disk on floured surface and roll out into a circle, making sure to frequently move and flip the dough, adding more flour as needed to ensure dough does not stick to work surface. Gently roll dough onto rolling-pin and lift to pie dish letting the dough extend over the edges. When fitting the dough into the baking dish, do not stretch dough as it will shrink a little during baking. Fill with pie filling and brush the edge of dough with egg wash so top dough will adhere. Roll out second dough disk and place on top of filled pie. Trim the edges to about 1/2 inch over the rim. Crimp the two layers of dough together using your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cut four or five small slits in dough to allow venting. Place on a baking sheet and bake pie at 400 degrees. The baking instructions I had said to bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until the crust is browned. However, oven temperatures may vary and my pie was done in just 45 minutes so I would recommend to watch the pie like a hawk while baking or if your oven tend to run a little on the hot side, perhaps lower the temperature.

Perfect Pie Crust

Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

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Danish Træstammer

We are looooong overdue for a Danish recipe, don’t you think? There are so many recipes that I want to make (Danish and others alike)¬† and simply not enough hours in the day. Maybe if I took a month off from work I could make a dent in my to-do-list.

Anyway, I have been planning and researching Danish Tr√¶stammer¬†for a long time now and I am so excited to finally being able to¬†share them¬†with you. I remember buying Tr√¶stammer¬†from the store at home and they were a very special treat indeed.¬† For this post I choose to use a ganache¬†as a binder which seems perhaps a little cumbersome but very delicious. Making Tr√¶stammer¬†is not an exact¬†science.¬†A lot depends on how moist or dry your left-over chocolate cake is, mine was actually quite fresh and moist so it did not take much ganache¬†to form the inside cake “batter”. The ganache¬†portion of this recipe makes more than enough, so if you happen to have something needing decorating, the left-over ganache will be perfect.

Ingredients:

For the ganache:

2.5 deciliter (9 oz) whipping cream

250 grams (8.8 oz) dark chocolate

For the chocolate filling (logs):

400 grams (14 oz) left-over good chocolate cake

1/4 cup ganache

3 tablespoons Bacardi Gold Rum

For the outside covering:

400 grams (14 oz) marzipan

confectioners sugar for sprinkling

dark chocolate for dipping

Directions:

To make¬†ganache: Chop the chocolate and place in a small bowl. Pour whipping cream into small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot whipping cream over chopped chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir chocolate mixture until it’s smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool for 20-25 minutes.

To make chocolate filling (logs): Break left-over cake into large chunks and place in food processor or blender, process until fine crumbs. Slowly add chocolate ganache, while processing, until crumbs start to come together into a ball. Add rum. Form chocolate mass into a ball and place in refrigerator.  

Sprinkle flat working surface with confectioners sugar. Form marzipan into a rectangle and start rolling it out making sure it does not stick to working surface.

Remove the chocolate filling from the refrigerator, divide into three parts and roll each part into long logs approximately 2-3 centimeters (0.8-1 inch) in thickness. Place logs one at the time onto the marzipan and roll the marzipan around the log, cut along the long edge to fit. Pinch together the long edge to close the marzipan around the chocolate log. Gently roll the marzipan log to flatten the seam. Trim off the ends of the log, cut the logs into equal lengths approximately 7-8 centimeters (2.8-3 inches). Place cut up logs on baking sheet and place in refrigerator.

Chop the remaining chocolate, place in a small bowl over a water bath and melt. Dip each end of the logs in the melted chocolate, place on baking sheet and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Source: Himmelske Kager

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Easy Cheese Danish

Easy Cheese Danish

I saw Ina make these cheese Danish on Barefoot Contessa. They are easy, quick and very delicious. What’s not to like? They are wonderful served warm as well as¬†the¬†following day¬†at room temperature. After the pastries are filled and folded, Ina tells you to refrigerate¬†the pastries for 15 minutes before baking…which I failed to do. ūüė¶ So the first four pastries I baked opened up during baking, not a pretty site (still tasted fantastic though). The next four I put in the refrigerator, as instructed, and these pastries stayed folded after baking. So I can only¬†guess that the refrigeration of the pastries is an important step to keep the folded pastries closed during baking. I’ll remember this for next time ūüôā

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (1 box)

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 tbsp ricotta cheese

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp kosher salt

zest from 1 small lemon

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Mix together cream cheese and sugar with an electrical mixer on low-speed. With the mixer still on low, add egg yolks, ricotta cheese, vanilla, salt and lemon zest, mix just until smooth. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. If needed, roll it to a 10 x 10 inch square. Cut pastry into 4 smaller squares. Brush borders of each square with egg wash and then place a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling in the centers. Fold one corner gently over the filling, brush this corner with egg wash. Fold the opposing second corner over the first corner allowing the egg wash to seal the two corners together. Finish brushing the top of pastry with egg wash. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Makes a total of 8 pastries.

Using a spatula, place pastries on baking pans and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Then bake pastries for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

Cheese Danish

Source: Barefoot Contessa

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Kransekage

On August 23rd Joseph and I will be celebrating our Silver Wedding Anniversary, 25 years together with my Soulmate, my Best Friend and the Love of my Life. When I first met Joseph on that bus stop in Danmark and he looked at me and smiled, my life changed forever. Our lives together has been an adventure that I could never have imagined, not even in my wildest dreams.

Our wedding was held in Denmark and it was a small intimate¬†affair filled with Danish customs, lots of singing , great food and drinks. It was a really fun wedding and the last of the guests did not leave until¬†4 am the following morning. The wedding cake we had was¬†not anything like the big, beautiful American style wedding cakes you see today but rather a simple,¬†yet elegant, classic Danish festive cake. The cake is called a Kransekage and it is used for festive events like weddings, baptisms and it is typically also served on New Years Eve. It is made with Marzipan and it’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

My husband Joseph was the one who suggested that I¬†should make our wedding cake for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. My first instinct was “no way! that’s¬†much too complicated and involved”. But of course,¬†then I¬†got¬†curious and so I started looking around to see what I could find and eventually I saw Mette¬†Blomsterberg’s¬†TV show “Det S√łde¬†Liv” and she made it look soooo easy. And really when you think about it, it’s not that complicated, but all technique and a lengthy process.

Ingredients:

Cake:

500 gram Marzipan (cut into slices)

150 gram confectioners sugar

40 gram pasteurized egg whites

Glaze:

75 gram confectioners sugar (sifted),( plus more if needed)

30 gram pasteurized egg whites

Directions:

For the Cake: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, place 150 grams confectioners sugar and half of the pasteurized egg whites. Start the mixer on low and add marzipan pieces one by one and the remaining egg whites. When the cake mass is homogeneous, remove from mixer and place in a zip lock bag. Store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours but preferably until the following day.

Double up two large baking sheets for extra insulation to avoid burning the bottom of cake. Use parchment paper.

Note: when rolling out marzipan, wash and dry your hands as often as needed to avoid them getting sticky. Divide marzipan mass into¬†250 grams portions. If marzipan feels a little sticky use a small amount of confectioners sugar to roll is into logs. Roll each portion into an 80 cm long¬†log that’s¬†even in thickness. Lightly tap the¬†log with the palm of your hand along the edge towards you, to form a slight soft triangular-shaped¬†log. Using an icing spatula¬†or a regular spatula¬†loosen marzipan from tabletop by pressing down hard while sliding spatula¬†under the log. Measure off marzipan into exactly 8 cm, 10 cm, 12 cm, 14 cm etc until all marzipan is used up. Don’t forget to make sure there is a little leftover marzipan to form the round top for the cake.

Each measured out piece of marzipan is now formed into rings, pressing gently at the seam. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the left over marzipan, roll a small ball that fit on top of the smallest ring, and press it slightly flat. When all rings are formed, use another baking sheet to gently press down on top of all ring to ensure they have the same height. Bake in a preheated 200 degree C (390 degree F) oven for 14 to 18 minutes. Carry in mind that the larger rings may need a little more baking time. Place rings on a rack to allow cooling completely.

For the glaze: Beat together sifted confectioners sugar and pasteurized egg whites on high-speed for at least 5 minutes. The glaze should be pretty thick and no longer flow together when beaters are stopped. Add more sifted confectioners sugar as needed. Load glaze into a decorating bag fitted with a size 2 round tip or make a cone out of parchment paper or use a plastic bag and cut a very tiny hole at the tip.

Place the largest ring on your serving plate. Begin decorating, moving the tip back and forth across the ring making sure to extend the tip out over the edge of ring to allow the glaze to droop down the outside in a loop style fashion. Place the second largest ring on top of the first ring and continue decorating, repeating until the smallest ring. Top cake off with the flattened ball on top. Allow glaze to dry at room temperature for a couple of hours before covering with plastic if cake is to be served in the following days. Enjoy.

Kransekage

My uncle Harald made¬†the bride and grooms wedding clothes from tiny glass pearls. To this day he still gives me small pearl figures and designs.¬†Amazing ūüôā

Kransekage

Source: Det S√łde¬†Liv¬†– Mette¬†Blomsterberg

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Fastelavnsboller

Fastelavn is a Nordic holiday celebrated on Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday. It is similar to the American Halloween where children dress in customes and beg for candy. Some towns may have a parade followed by the traditional “sl√• katten af tynden” which is a wooden barrel¬†that has¬†cats painted on it and is¬†filled with candy. The children takes turn hitting the barrel with a bat and the one to hit the bottom out, spilling the candy, is crowned “kattedronning” (queen of the cats). Hitting of the barrel continues and the one hitting down the last plank is crowned “kattekonge” (king of the cats).

If the children go door to door begging for candy they will come to the door and sing a little tune called Boller op, boller ned. This song basically says: Buns up, buns down, buns in my stomach, if I get no buns, then I will make trouble. The buns mentioned in the song is reffering to the Fastelavnsboller which is a popular pastry served on this particular day.

There are many different varieties of Fastelavnsboller recipes. Some is made from a Wienerbr√łd dough and some are a regular yeast dough. Some are prefilled with a custard or jam while others are sliced open and then filled with a custard or whipped cream filling. The Fastelavnesboller which I made here is a regular yeast dough which was prefilled with custard. I absolutely adore custard and would (if no one was watching) eat it by the spoonful. However, for these particular Fastelavnsboller which I choose to prefil and then bake, it turned out that the wonderful custard got almost completely absorbed into the bread and loosing its intensity. So next time I make this recipe I think I’ll¬†prefil with jam instead because the jam still has its intensity even if some of it gets absorbed into the bread.

Ingredients:

Dough:

2 deciliter milk (1 cup)

25 grams butter (2 tablespoons)

50 grams cake/fresh yeast (or 4 teaspoons dry active yeast)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

450-475 grams flour (3 3/4 cups)

1 additional egg for glazing (optional)

Custard filling:

1 vanilla bean

1 cup milk

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons superfine sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Jam filling:

your favorite jam (if using)

Chocolate icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

hot water

White icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

hot water

Sprinkles for decorating

Directions:

In a small saucepan heat up milk and butter to finger temperature, melting the butter. Break up cake yeast and place  in a small bowl, pour warm milk over and stir to dissolve yeast. Add sugar, salt and egg, stir to mix. Add flour a little at the time, stir to combine. Note: it may not be necessary to add all the flour. Knead the dough until smooth. Leave dough in bowl and cover with a dry tea towel. Place in a warm location and let rise for 1 hour.

While dough is rising, make the filling. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds with the tip of a knife. Place vanilla seeds and milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until pale in color and fluffy. Add cornstarch and mix together. While continuing to beat the eggs, slowly pour half of the hot milk into the eggs to temper it. Then pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and return to low temperature on the stove. Continue to whisk mixture over low temperature until the custard starts to thicken, making sure the custard does not boil. Remove from heat, place in a small bowl, cover with cling wrap directly on the custard surface to prevent a skin from forming and place in refrigerator to cool.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Lightly dust with flour and turn dough out onto the working surface. Knead dough a little until smooth and elastic. Roll out into a 40 by 40 cm square (15 x 15 inches) and cut dough into 12 pieces. Place a heaping teaspoonful custard or jam (if using) in center of each square. Using the leftover egg whites, brush the edges of the square dough to help seal the edges. Fold each of the four corners up to the center and press to seal all edges, letting the air inside escape. Turn the dough ball over, tuck under all edges and place on baking sheet with seam side down. Repeat with remaining squares. When done forming dough balls, cover with a dry tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm location.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit). After dough has been allowed to rise, break open an egg and lightly beat it in small bowl. Brush egg-wash onto each dough ball before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before icing.

To make icing, combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix until desired thickness (somewhat thick but spreadable). Spread icing onto each fastelavnsbolle and place sprinkles on top before glaze sets. Enjoy.

Source: dough from Lone Kjær РHverdag de luxe and custard filling adapted from Trina Hahnemann РThe Scandinavian Cookbook

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Danish Wienerbr√łd

A couple of years ago my husband and I attended a week-long seminar at the John C. Campbell¬†Folk School¬†in beautiful Brasstown, North Carolina. The school is based on the Danish¬†design of a “Folkeh√łjskole” which is a non-competitive setup and emphasizing on teaching practical skills.¬†¬†They offer classes in anything from Clay to Dance to Knitting to Music to Woodworking, and so much more. Your days at the Folk School¬†are filled with¬†many activities from sunrise to sunset, but although busy¬†it is also relaxing and the school is set in an incredibly peaceful environment.¬†Joe took Blacksmithing and I took Scandinavian Baking. The baking class was taught by Kim Hendrickson who¬†was full of useful baking/cooking¬†tips and who had answers to all of my 101 questions about yeast and baking techniques. It was a week filled with baking delicious treats, some of which I was familiar with and some¬†which were new to me. I hope that Joe and I can one day go back to the Folk School for more classes for we had such a wonderful time there and we got to meet so many¬†interesting people.

I have known Wienerbr√łd¬†my entire life but I had never attempted to make it until my Folk School stay. Wienerbr√łd¬†is a Danish specialty and outside of Denmark it is referred¬†to as a “Danish”, but believe me, it is nothing like the Danish that you pick up at your local 7/11. Wienerbr√łd¬†comes in many different shapes and with numerous types of fillings. There are two ways to make this dough, that I know of. The traditional way is to roll out the yeast dough, cover parts of it with thinly sliced¬†butter, fold into numerous layers, roll out and repeat folding and rolling. This process of rolling and folding the dough with the butter is what gives¬†the pastry¬†a¬†crisp and¬†flaky texture. The¬†second method is the “quick” method where flour and butter is combined in a food processor and pulsed until the butter is the size of kidney beans. You still have to roll and fold the dough several times and so I’m not really sure it’s any quicker, but the dough turns out perfectly. Wienerbr√łd¬†is a time-consuming pastry to make but the outcome is super delicious and so if you decided to make it, I am confident that you won’t regret it. Please enjoy.

Update: This recipe makes 2 braids. You can easily freeze half of the dough for later use. Wrap dough in cling wrap, then wax or parchment paper and finally a freezer bag. When ready to use defrost in refrigeator.

Wienerbr√łd

Makes 2 pastry braids.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour (480 grams or 19.9 oz)

1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter (345 grams or 12.2 oz)

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 50 grams cake/fresh yeast)

1/2 cup warm water (100 – 110 degrees Fahrenheit) (118 milliliter)

1/2 cup heavy cream (118 milliliter)

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar (55 grams or 1.9 oz)

Filling:

seedless raspberry preserves

Glazing:

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons water

pearl sugar, for topping

sliced almonds, optional, for topping

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar (100 gram or 3.5 oz)

2-3 teaspoons warm milk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Place flour into bowl of food processor with steel blade. Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices and add to flour. Pulse flour and butter until the butter is the size of kidney beans.

In a large bowl, dissolve active dry yeast in warm water (between 100-110 degrees F). Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, cardamom, salt, eggs and sugar. Using a rubber spatula, turn the flour/butter mixture into the liquid and carefully mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, overnight or up to 4 days.

Turn the dough out onto a moderately floured surface. Roll out dough to make a 16 to 20 inch square. Fold dough into thirds, rotate dough a quarter of turn and fold into thirds again, making a small square. Turn over dough. Repeat rolling and folding another two times (making it a total 3 times of rolling and folding). Ending with a small square, wrap dough and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the chilled dough into two parts. Roll each part into a 6 x 12 inch rectangle. (If not making both braids at the same time, wrap the second half of dough and place in refrigerator until ready to roll out).

Spread filling down the length of center of each rectangle. Cut slanting strips at 3/4 inch intervals along both sides towards to center. Fold strips over the filling in a criss-cross manner. Place both braids onto baking sheets and let dough rise for 15-30 minutes until pastry appears puffy. It will not double in size. Lightly beat the egg and water for the glaze. Once dough has been allowed to rise, brush the pastry with the glaze. sprinkle with pearl sugar and/or almonds.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. To make icing, mix together powdered sugar, warm milk and almond extract. Drizzle icing on top and let set before cutting. Enjoy!

Sliced butter and flour, pulse

notice butter is the size of kidney beans

fold dough into thirds, then into thirds again, roll out

place filling in center, make cuts slated towards center

fold strips in a criss cross manner

Wienerbr√łd

Wienerbr√łd

Source: Kim Hendrickson at J. C. Campbell Folk School

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Hindbærsnitter

Hindbærsnitter

Hindb√¶rsnitter¬†is a very popular Danish pastry that can be found, dare I say,¬†in any Danish bakery. To this day, it¬†remains¬†one of my favorite Danish pastries. Ok,¬†so I realize that I say that about every Danish dessert that I make, but Danish pastries are simply just to die for. Hindb√¶rsnitter¬†consist of two pieces of pastry that is sandwiched together with a generous amount of seedless raspberry preserves and then topped off with glaze and sprinkles. It’s sweet and simply delicious.

Danish Hindbærsnit

Danish Hindbærsnit

Ingredients:

375 gram flour (3 1/3 cup flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

125 gram confectioners sugar (1 1/4 cup)

40 gram egg (1 large egg)

250 gram margarine (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoon)

1 – 1 1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves

For glaze:

2 cups confectioners sugar

2-3 tablespoons cold water

For decoration:

sprinkles of your choice

Directions:

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 430 degrees F ( 220 C).

Cut margarine into small cubes. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and confectioners sugar. Place dry ingredients in a food processor. Add margarine and egg and pulse until dough starts to come together and let go from walls. Remove from food processor and press together to form a ball of dough. Do not overwork. Wrap dough in cling wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. You can also leave dough in refrigerator until the following day.

Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into half. Quickly with your hands, form dough ball into a rectangular shape. Place on floured surface and roll out to a 9 x 14 inch rectangle. Roll dough back up onto your rolling-pin and lift onto lined baking sheet. Repeat with second half of dough. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes until golden along edges.

Once the dough comes out of the oven things will move a little fast so make sure glaze, raspberry preserves and sprinkles are ready on your counter. While dough is baking, make the glaze by mixing confectioners sugar and water together. Stir up the seedless raspberry preserves until smooth and pliable and have sprinkles ready.

As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, spread raspberry preserves over¬†the first cake. This will be the bottom piece. Gently slide a flexible plastic cutting board under the second cake and lift it up. Then¬†slide it off the cutting board onto the first raspberry covered cake. If the cake crack a little don’t worry, the glaze will cover it up. While the cake is still warm, start spreading the glaze out over the cake. Add the sprinkles quickly before the glaze sets. You may have to do this as you go along. Let glaze set a little but while the cake is still warm, cut into rectangular pieces. Enjoy!

Baked cake topped with raspberry jam, top with second baked cake

Baked cake topped with raspberry jam, top with second baked cake

Source: adapted from Arla

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