On the third of March, the Danish clan gather around a plate of “fastelavnsboller” (made either like danishes or buns, the latter of which you’ll find the recipe below) celebrating a holiday of which I know very little about. It was mainly the rather odd activities, silly costumes, and sweets that interested me as a kid whereas the purpose of the feast never really mattered. I’ll leave you to google it. The best part of Fastelavn was this longstanding tradition that makes no sense at all but was massive fun! It involves a big wooden barrel with metal ties, filled with sweets and small toys, hanging from the roof. A heavy wooden bat (!) was given to the kids of which we ran amok. Hitting the barrel with it until it eventually caved in and all the hidden treasures fell out (cheering and appointing the heroes, that made the barrel break, kings and queens). Then there’s something about a black cat with an arched back… There’s always a black cat involved in the symbolism of this holiday. Why I do not know, another mystery I have yet to solve. Anyone knows anything about that? To summarise - there were lots of sugar, laughter and overly excited kids. I remember this one time when the whole neighborhood on the small Island of Samsoe, where my grandma lived back then, came together and celebrated in an old barn. It’s still one of my favorite moments of my childhood. So, do add this holiday to your calendar, the Fastelavnsboller alone are worth it.
T H E R E C I P E
Makes circa 16 pastries.
Pastry: 1 dl milk, 50 g yeast, 125 g soft butter, 1 egg, 4 tbsp sugar, about 6 dl flour and a tsp of cardamom. Creme: 1, egg (ca. ½ dl), 2 tbsp sugar, 2 dl milk, 1½ tbsp flour, ½ vanilla rod (the seeds). Icing: 100 g confectioner's sugar (ca. 2 dl), a little cocoa powder and 1 tbsp water or rum.
Heat the milk until lukewarm. Pour into a bowl and blend with the yeast. Add all the other ingredients (save some flour til later. Also, I always seem to use a little less than what the recipe says here, careful not to make them dry and dense). Knead the dough until smooth and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise for about an hour.
Moving on to the creme - Throw all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat the mixture until it bubbles, then lower the temperature and let it simmer for about 5 (busy!) minutes while whisking continuously. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
Knead the dough again on the baking table, add the rest of the flour. Roll the though into a nice and flat square-shape. Cut small squares, about 10 x 10 cm ( circa 16 pieces). Put a tbsp of creme in the middle of each one and fold in all the corners so that they look like small packages. Make sure to squeeze the ends a little so that the creme stays put. Then turn them upside down onto a baking tray (with a baking sheet). Let them sit for 45 minutes before baking them in the oven for about 10 minutes (225°C). Decorate with icing and crushed nuts (for example walnuts or pistachios).
Seen in the photos:
01. White porcelain tea cup
02. Bamboo tray
03. GOTS certified organic kitchen towel (clay)
04. Handmade beeswax birthday candle
05. Matte ceramic holder for slim beeswax candles
06. GOTS certified organic apron (green)
All available in the store.