Sunday, January 12, 2020

Fastelavnsboller + Some Danish Culinary History #BakingBloggers


This month, Sue of Palatable Pastime told the Baking Bloggers that for January: "Let's start the year off with some sweet rolls. Things like cinnamon, sticky rolls and other flavors are all popular. You may also  choose an unfilled sweet roll such as Hawaiian  rolls, etc. Just needs to use some sort of sweet dough---and be baked. Does not have to contain yeast." Here's the #BakingBloggers virtual sweet roll shop...

Some Danish Culinary History

I don't often make sweet rolls, but when I do, it's usually some version of this. Last year I saw a photo posted on one of my best friend's social media with the caption: "Årets første fastelavnsboller." It means 'First fastelavnsboller of the year' and I immediately sent her a message that I needed to know what those were and a recipe! Here's the Danish culinary history lesson, paraphrased a bit...

Before the reformation, in 1536, Denmark was Catholic. And Fastelavn marks the beginning of 40 days of fasting. So, it surrounds enjoying all of the foods that would be off limits for the duration of Lent. The Fastelavnsboller, dating back to the 1600s, are part of the 'let's eat all the nice foods' tradition since it uses up the expensive white flour, sugar, and eggs.

Rikke mentioned two versions: the old-fashioned which is a simple yeast-based dough filled with vanilla cream; the buttery dough which is baked, opened up, and filled with a mixture of vanilla cream, whipped cream, and sometimes raspberry jam, prunes, or mocha cream.

And a tradition that she shared had me laughing and laughing. "In the 1800s, Fastelavn was a big celebration for dressed up grown ups - with plenty of alcohol etc. - and they would hang a barrel with a live cat inside and beat the barrel with a stick until the cat fell out. The cat symbolising [sic] evil!" 

She said the tradition came from Holland. Okay, blame the Dutch! LOL. She continued, "Today this tradition is adapted for kids - they wear costumes and ‘slår katten af tønden’ (hit the cat out of the barrel). The barrel being filled with candy, apples, oranges etc. - and decorated with cardboard cats."

Did you spot our Danish nisser on the table? My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf is just a little bit obsessed with them.

Fastelavnsboller 

I've made several versions of fastelavnsboller since that first time. I added some almond extract to this version since I wanted to garnish with sliced almonds. And you know I'm serious about baking when my kitchen scale comes out.
Ingredients

Dough
  • 13 g dried/active dry yeast 
  • 250 ml whole milk, warmed to steaming but not boiling
  • 100 g butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 40 g organic granulated sugar
  • 450 g flour + more for kneading
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 t ground cardamom (this results in a strong flavor, reduce if you prefer)
  • 1 t salt (I used a Danish flake salt, but use whatever you have)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Vanilla-Almond Cream
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise with seeds scraped
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g organic granulated sugar
  • 30 g corn starch
  • 1/2 t pure almond extract

Baking and Finishing
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50 g dark or semisweet chocolate
  • sliced almonds

Procedure

Vanilla-Almond Cream
Place the milk and the vanilla bean and scraped seeds in a medium sauce pan and let stand for 20 minutes. Then scald the milk and let the vanilla steep in the milk for 10 minutes. In the meantime, in mixing bowl, blend the sugar and eggs until the mixture becomes fluffy and pale. Add the corn starch and whisk to combine.

Slowly pour the warmed milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour.  Whisk in the almond extract. Place the saucepan back on the stove and bring to a boil. Whisking vigorously the whole time.  Once the mixture has thickened and just started to boil, remove from the heat. Keep whisking to keep it smooth.


Spread the pastry cream into a dish and cover with plastic wrap, touching the top to keep the cream from developing a film.  Refrigerate until cool.

Dough
Pour warm milk into a large mixing bowl, stir in sugar, and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let bloom for 10 to 15 minutes. It should be foamy and frothy. Add in the butter and egg. Whisk to combine.

Add in the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Knead until a scraggy dough forms. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes. It should be doubled in size.

Baking
Dust a workspace with flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough, dusting to prevent sticking if needed. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a rectangle, approximately 12" x 16". Cut the dough into 8 rectangles..


On each rectangle, add a generous dollop of pastry cream. Gather the corners together on top to form a sort of purse shape. Press the seams together to ensure the vanilla cream stays inside the bun and won’t leak out during baking.

When bun is completely closed, invert it, and place it on parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet, seam side down. Brush the buns with beaten egg and let them rest and rise for 20 to 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees F. Place the buns in the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the sheet while you prepare the toppings


Finishing
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Set aside.

Once the buns are cool, top them with the chocolate and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

5 comments:

  1. The tradition and recipe remind me of a healthier version of the Polish Paczki that we enjoy before Lent. I might make your recipe this year instead and see what Frank has to say about that.

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  2. These sound wonderful - the pastry cream looks delicious!

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  3. Ooooh, I bet those were a huge hit! They sound amazing and thanks for the history lesson!

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  4. Awww, you made something from my heritage, wink. And these look amazing BTW. Fastelavnsboller differ depending on which area of Denmark you are from as well. From a choux paste version, to a puff paste version to a yeasted dough. But they are all totally delicious. I have a group on FB called Dansk Mad og Opskrifter and just asked my group member which version they make or are familiar with and it's been fun seeing what they say.

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  5. This would be a huge hit with my kids. They love this and specially the filling with pastry cream.

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