Category Archives: Danish

Mazarin Tarts


I saw a link to a Mazarin Kage on Facebook and when I read how to make it, my mouth started watering.

But not for the cake per se, I wanted the tart.

It’s been years and years and years since I’ve had a taste of a Mazarin Tart.

I did wipe the drool off the keyboard, and continued to my cookbooks and decided to see if I had a recipe in one of them that I could follow.

There was a Danish baker in the town I grew up in, where we would get all our special occasion ‘cakes’ or special treat cakes.   They weren’t cakes as Americans think, they were more small tarts.

But oh, they were so good.   And the funny part is that I didn’t care for this particular tart that much back then, but for some reason, I’ve now decided I liked it more than I realized.

Confused?  I am.

So I decided to do a search and see if I could find a recipe online.   I found lots for Mazarin Kage.

I found a recipe here as well as here  and here and now cannot find the original posting I read.   sigh

And then there is this recipe over at My Danish Kitchen.  So many recipe sources and yet…

I wanted a tart recipe!!!

As I remember the Mazarin Tarts from childhood, they had a pastry bottom and there was a kind of  marzipan for the filling.   And they had a glaze icing on top.

I found a recipe in a cookbook one of my sisters gave me a few years ago, but it was for the cake, not the tarts.   But, that was the only recipe I found.  (And can I show off my very red face here?  I just got an email from the very sister who gave me the cookbook, showing me the recipe I managed to not see, my first 3 times through the cookbook.)

Amazing…  I do have several Danish cookbooks.   Oh well.  Just didn’t have what I wanted.

BTW…   The Mazarin Kage/Tart was named after an Italian Cardinal named Mazarin.
Just thought I would throw in a mini, very mini, historical reference there.

Then I found a couple of recipes for tarts and I was happy.   But, since I’m the cook baker here, we’re going to do it my way.

And I got to use my new food processor as well.

So here goes.

First off I mixed up the pastry in the food processor and managed to get it out without cutting myself on the blades this time.
It was a personal victory, OK?

I formed the pastry into a flat disk and put it in the fridge to rest a little.
After the workout the food processor gave it, it needed a time out.

I then made the filling, and got to use the processor again.

I think I love it.

Sorry,

At any rate here is the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  This recipe yielded 48 mini tarts.
Pastry:
1 1/2 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Filling:
1 tube Almond Paste, 6 oz.   I like Odense brand for this. Cut into small chunks or grated.
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tsp. Lemon Extract or Almond extract.  (I used some of my homemade Lemon Extract for this.  For more of an almond flavour use the almond extract)

Place the flour, sugar and butter into food processor or cut the butter into the flour and sugar until it is well incorporated.   Add the egg and process just until the dough comes together.  Form into a disk and place into the fridge.

While it is cooling, make the filling.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the butter, sugar and Almond Paste and mix together, until combined.

Add an egg and continue to blend until incorporated, then add the other eggs, blending in between each egg.    Set aside.

Take the dough out of the fridge, cutting  it in half.   Roll out each half on a well floured board.

Cut circles out, either for mini tarts, which is what I made or for full size tarts, making sure the dough disks are slightly larger than the depressions.

 

When you have all the depressions covered, try this little trick.
Using a heavy bottomed shot glass, lower it gently into the cut out round, pressing it into the depression on the tart pan.  You do need to be a little careful here that you don’t tear the dough.  But you can easily press it together if you do.

 

See how perfectly they snuggled into the tart depressions?  Cannot believe how easy this was and is a trick I will continue to use.
Fill the tart shells with some of the filling.

About 3/4 of the way.   The filling will poof up a little, but trial and error showed me they didn’t poof up as much as I thought they might.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes for the mini tarts.

 

I did have to taste test one of them.

It was good.  And one of those I used a scant amount of filling in.   Oh, and I also used my mini scoop to get the filling into each tart shell.   Love my scoops.

You can see the fine crumb in the tart here.

Mix up some glaze with confectioners sugar, a little milk and some vanilla or almond or other extract.   I actually used a scant 1/2 teaspoon bourbon liqueur for flavouring.  I didn’t measure, but it was about a cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of milk and the liqueur.   You want it to be able spread out a little but not too much.
I glazed the tarts while they were still a little warm.  If you put the glaze in a pastry bag you can fancy up the presentation just a tad.  I did circles, thinking they would kinda ooze together and form a nice little ‘cap’ of icing, but they didn’t.
Looked pretty though.

And here they are on a platter at Boat Club.

All of them were eaten.   But, I have to admit to saving a couple out for myself.
Well…
I did bake them.   I also shared a few with a neighbor, I wasn’t totally selfish.

Home Made Snaps or Schnapps


As you may have figured out by now, I’m Danish.

Yup, I am.

You figured it out?

Oh, OK.

At any rate, as I’ve posted here before I love my Rye Bread and Herring, and I don’t think I’ve met a Smørrebrød yet that I didn’t like either.

But for myself,  as for a lot of Danes, one of the key elements of a good smorgasbord is not only Beer, but Snaps, Schnapps, Aquavit, or Akvavit.  Doesn’t matter how you spell it. Or even say it.

Also known as ‘water of life’.   Which might be a little bit of exaggeration.

Nah.

My favourite Akvavit is Jubilaeums, by Aalborg, but since Danish Distillers was sold, it apparently is not imported into the US anymore. I can buy the Taffel Akvavit here, but I have to admit to liking the flavour of Jubilaeums better and since I can’t buy it, I decided to try my hand at making some, or at least flavouring a good potato based, in other words, neutral, vodka with some Dill, Anise and other spices.   There is a website I looked at for ideas, here and they had all kinds of ideas.  So many ideas…

But, I wanted to see if I could recreate or at least approximate the taste of my favourite.

So here’s what I did back in July.

I managed to get the last seed head from my dill plant (the rest had been eaten by the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars), placed that in the jar, added coriander and some star anise.  Sealed it up tight, put it in the cupboard and managed to keep my lips off of it for a couple of months.

It is now the most gorgeous amber colored liquid.   And it tastes good too.

I did taste test it.   I had to.

It is now residing in my freezer, waiting…

I think I see a nice piece of Smørrebrød in my near future along with a glass of snaps as well.

*** I have to add, that in my search for Jubiliaeums Akvavit I did find a distiller here in the US who makes a version that they say is similar to Jubilaeums.  It is called Gamle Ode, and they produce a variety of Snaps.  Now, I haven’t tried it, but…. Here’s a link to their website, and if you’re in Minnesota, or Wisconsin or any of the other places they distribute it to, go ahead and try it.

Kiksekage (Danish Biscuit Cake)


Want to make something sinfully delicious, rich and soul satisfying?

Have I got a recipe for you.

If you’re a chocoholic, it’s all  that and more.

I’m talking Kiksekage here.   I made one a few years back, and brought it to Boat Club, but this was in my pre-blog days and all I have left of that experience is a dim, sweet memory and no pictures.

 

I know I have no pictures of it cause I just checked.

I have lots of pictures of my dogs playing on the beach and in the water from that time period, but no pictures of the Kiksekage.

Of course at that time we were ‘homeless and living on the beach’.

Just kidding about the homeless part, we lived in a very nice fifth wheel, but didn’t own a house at the time.    And as I recall, it was hot at the beach in the summer, but we loved it.  And because it was hot, and I didn’t want to cook I happened to make this for a Boat Club potluck that one time, and the fact that Boat Club that year fell on my birthday, well, gee, it was a no-brainer.

It’s been 4 years, and I want another one.  So, since it’s my birthday, I’m going to make one.  And take it with me to NPA tonight.  Gotta share out some of those calories.

I saw this recipe over at the Danish Kitchen, and then I made it my own.  Cause I can.  Well, I kinda followed it mostly, but did put my own twist on it.

Recipe:
8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 cup Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier  (opt.)
7 Tbsp. Butter, cut into chunks
7 oz. Butter Biscuits  I used Pepperidge Farms Chessmen Cookies, but you can use Lorna Doone as well.

Topping:
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream, whipped with a tablespoon of sugar.

Break the chocolate up into a large bowl, set aside.
Heat cream and confectioners sugar until boiling, making sure to stir the pot from time to time so that it doesn’t scorch.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let sit for a couple of minutes then mix it together with a whisk.  You want the chocolate to soften just a tad so you can mix them together.

Add the Grand Marnier if you want at this point, stir together.   Then add the butter, stirring until it dissolves into the butter.   Place in fridge for a half hour, just to start it to thicken.

In a loaf pan, cut and place parchment paper, one piece lengthwise, the width of the pan, then another piece crosswise, extending it up the sides of the pan.
Unwrap and sample the cookies.  Well, I guess you really don’t need to sample the cookie, but if you want to try one out, you can.
I did.
Take the chocolate out of the fridge and stir it, making sure it is well blended.
Spoon or pour a layer of chocolate onto the bottom of the pan, making a nice layer.

Smooth it out to keep it level.   Place cookies in a single layer across the bottom of the pan, then spoon more chocolate on top.  Make another layer of cookies, more chocolate, then a third or even fourth layer of cookies, making sure you finish with the last of the chocolate.

Place a piece of cling wrap over, and put in the fridge overnight.

Then go and lick the bowl the chocolate was in, just make sure no one’s looking.   I won’t tell if you won’t.

The next day, take the parchment paper by the sides and carefully remove the cake.  Peel back the sides of the paper, and unmold onto a serving plate.

Cut into slices, and serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipping cream.

 

I did say I was taking some to NPA, so I cut them into slices, and I’ll be sharing them soon.

Italiensk Salat med Skinke


Ever since I managed to make such a great loaf of Rye Bread last month, I’ve been having fun creating or rather making Smørrebrød.

I’ve used some lovely leftover Tri-Tip along with the Asier I made last year

I’ve had some with Liver Pate and some lovely homemade pickled beets, which were a gift from a friend.

The leftover pork chop went great with the Agurk Salat last week as well. 

And of course, you gotta have Sild (Pickled Herring)

OK, so this was some of the Rye Bread I made awhile ago, but a girl’s gotta dream.

I’ve made some with Tilsit and Havarti Cheese, as well as some lovely brie.   And even more Leverpostej. (Liverpaste).

Actually I’m showing off here.  I didn’t have any rye bread but did have some Rye Crisp crackers so I made do.

The sacrifices we make…

I found some Lurkak butter on sale awhile back, and I had to buy it. Look at that lovely stuff.  Honestly, I could eat it all by itself.  But I didn’t.

I managed to find some Tilsit cheese in the ‘big city’ and also some Liver Pate and had a lovely lunch that particular day.

But I was craving some Italiensk Salat med Skinke the other day.   And since I was at the Deli anyway, to get ham for a Chef’s Salad, I had the deli person slice me a couple of pieces of ham.    I was going to make some Italiensk Salat to top the ham.

This is the way we made it growing up, and for very special occasions, Mom would add some canned Asparagus to the salat as well.
Side note here:  Growing up I wasn’t all that fond of vegetables, which considering we lived on a farm and had a market garden, was really kind of funny.  I loved raw veggies, but couldn’t stand them  cooked.  Well, except for this dish.  Then it was all right to eat cooked veggies.

Now back to the recipe.

To start with, take a couple of carrots out of the fridge, peel and slice or dice them.   Small pieces though.  I like mine to be about the size of the peas, or make them into teeny coins.  Have fun with the shapes.

Cook in a little salted water until tender, then add an equal amount of frozen peas.  Fresh peas would be great here as well, but I don’t have any.  My peas come frozen in a little bag.

Cook them together for just a couple of minutes.  Drain and let cool.

As soon as they are cool, add just enough mayonnaise to coat them.  Not too much, you don’t want them all gloppy.  Place in the refrigerator and let them get acquainted, privately.

Let them sit in there for an hour or so if you can.
Take a slice or two of nice rye bread, put a thin layer of butter on top, then place a slice of ham, arranged artistically, on top of the bread.

Top with a little of the Italiensk Salat.   Garnish.

I like a little parsley or some fresh sprouts on top as well, gotta make it pretty looking.   I used a little dill on here today. You do eat with your eyes as well.
Now you will have to excuse me, I have to go and eat.

And if you’re so inclined, go ahead and make some Smørrebrød and join me.
Actually, I’m in training.   I get to hang out with my sibs in a couple of weeks, and I know full well that there is more Smørrebrød in my near future.  I’m excited.

Smørrebrød (Danish Open Face Sandwiches)


I’m so excited.   I’m going to be visiting with family in a few weeks and one thing  I’m  looking forward to, apart from just getting to visit with them, is hopefully having a Smorgasbord.

Which means having Smørrebrød along with other fun foods from my childhood.

So I thought I’d share a few fun facts about Smørrebrød.  And some pictures of some of my past lunches. They wouldn’t be my current lunch, cause I’ve already eaten.

Eating properly prepared Smørrebrød is like eating works of art.  Or at least that’s what you’re shooting for when you make Smørrebrød.

Literally, it means butter (Smørre) and bread (brød) .  And you then ‘pyntet’ or deck it out with some pålæg (toppings) and eat them, with a knife and fork.  Only the most crass people pick up a sandwich and eat it with their fingers.

I mean, the manners of some people!

Just kidding, I’ve been known to pick up a lovely piece of Smørrebrød and eaten it out of hand in the past.  But, I have to say, it just doesn’t feel right when I do that.   I grew up eating my sandwiches with a knife and fork.  That was just the way it was.

In Denmark you can go to school to learn how to make proper Smørrebrød, but most people just make it in their own home.

One reason though, is to make it pretty.   I’ve seen sandwiches that are works of art, so beautifully constructed that you are scared to cut into them, but we do it anyway.

To start with you need a good base, and in Denmark that’s Rye Bread.  That wonderful, dense, sometimes seedy bread with a wonderful sourish tang to it.

I still had a few slices of the Rye Bread I made, which made up the base for following sandwich.  And you need a good base, really, you do.

I had made some Agurk Salat the other day, and then promptly ate most of it.  But not before I put some on a sandwich.  I had a leftover pork chop, and thought that the Agurk Salat and the pork chop needed to get acquainted.

So I introduced them.

They got along great, until I ate them.

Slice the leftover Pork Chop into very thin slices, on the diagonal.   Try not to get any fingers in the way.

Then spread a very thin layer of butter onto the rye bread.

Next up is some mayonnaise.   Just a little bit, and on one slice I put some iceberg lettuce.   Although a nice butter or leaf lettuce would have been better.

Layer the pork, over the entire slice of bread.  Technically, you don’t want to see any of the bread peeking out.

Then add some lovely Agurk Salat to the top.

Take several pictures, as you admire your lunch.


And when you can’t stand it anymore, eat it.  It was very good.

So good in fact, I broke out that little tin of Pate I’d been saving, along with some Pickled Beets and the rest of the Agurk Salat.

And I had another awesome lunch, leverpostej med syltede rødbeder og agurk salat.  
Translated, it means Pork Pate with pickled beets and cucumber salad.    YUM!!!   

Again, butter the bread, although I forgot to take a picture of that.  I showed you how to do it earlier in this post.

Then spread a nice layer of Pate on the bread.

And last but not least, add some Agurk Salat to the
top.

Or some Pickled Beets…

Feel free to wield your knife and fork at this point.

I know I did.

  Sorry, but gotta go and finish my lunch now.  

And if you want to read more about Smørrebrød, check it out on Wikipedia Smørrebrød

Agurk Salat


You ever go to the grocery store with a list and then get everything on that list and nothing more?

 

Really, you can do that?

 

Not me.   I go with a list and then usually add to it.  Like last week.

 

I’m looking at the lemons, and my attention was caught by the cucumbers.       So I picked up a couple.

 

Took them home, and decided to make some Agurk Salat. Which is basically a fresh cucumber salad/pickle, which my mom would make and serve as a side dish with dinner, goes so well with grilled meat.   And it’s not bad on an open face sandwich either.

 

Or just straight out of the dish, eaten, before dinner.

 

Mom made these with regular vinegar, as that is all we had back then, but I would like to think that she would like my version as well.  I like using Rice Vinegar as it is not as acidic tasting and the Cider Vinegar adds a nice tang to it as well.

 

Agurk Salat

1 cucumber, sliced thin

1/4 cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 cup Cider Vinegar

2  tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

Dill

 

Slice one cucumber, very thinly.  If you have a mandoline, that works, or just use your knife skills.  Which is basically all I do.   Use my knife skills and slice very, very thin, making sure not to get any fingers in the way.  Red and green are great for Christmas, but not in a cucumber dish.

 

If you want to get a little fancy, just use a zester or the tines of a fork and scrape all the way down the cucumber.  That way when you slice it, you get some pretty designs.

 

 

After slicing it, just layer the slices in a dish, I used this small pyrex dish.

Sprinkle salt over the slices, put another layer down, a little more salt until you’ve layered all the slices.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes or so, then basically stir it together to make sure that the salt is evenly distributed.    Walk away from it at this point.  Just for an hour or so, not too long.

 

Drain the salty cucumber juice from the slices and give it a little rinse if you want with some fresh water.   Then squeeze out the rest of the liquid.    Set the cucumber aside.

 

Measure out the vinegar and sugar and heat it, stirring it until the sugar dissolves.  You want this to be warm, but not hot.    Place a fresh sprig or two of Dill into the pan, let sit for just a minute then pour over the cucumber slices.

Make sure that they are all submerged in the vinegar.

Taste.  Well, actually you don’t need to taste them at this point, but I wanted to, so I did.

 

Cover and let sit for an hour or so, then serve.

 

These are fantastic on some fresh leverpostej (Liverpaste) or on top of a grilled burger or just as a side dish.

 

If there is any left over, refrigerate them for a couple of days.   I have no idea how long they will stay good for in the fridge, cause they just don’t last that long in our house.

 

I had some on my lunch today, a lovely pork sandwich.

  I will share how to make a proper Smørrebrød later on, but for now, my lunch is waiting.

Kringle Weinerbrod


Give this Dane some butter, some Cardamom, a little almond paste and some flour and LOOK OUT!!!

Just kidding, but honestly, I can do so much with all those ingredients, including the following.

I’ve wanted to make a proper Kringle for a long time, and finally had the excuse to make it this past weekend.

Not that I needed an excuse, just a reason, and from now on I won’t need a reason, just a hint from someone who  might want a Kringle in their life, and I’m good to go.

I used the recipe that O & H Bakeries out of Racine, WI had on Food Network, and it worked out quite well.

I did do a twist or two to it as well.

I am the baker here, and if I can’t have fun in the kitchen, I don’t want to play anymore.

So there!

Luckily for me I also talked to my brother who makes an incredible Kringle, and he gave me a couple of tips which I used.

I’ve made my version of Kringle, which is more properly called Stænger met Fyld for years now.  But collectively aka as Kringle as well.   And it’s always been well received (eaten with relish) when I’ve brought it to gatherings.   

But I wanted more, and I got it with this recipe.   

First the recipe, and be warned that this does take a little planning to make properly.   As in, start this 2 or 3 days before you’re going to bake it. 

Really.

Recipe
3/4 Cup Butter
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt.  (I omit the salt if I’m using salted butter)
1/2 tsp. lemon extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract, my homemade lemon extract wasn’t ready yet).
1 egg 
2 cups sifted flour

Butterscotch filling for two kringles 
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
pinch salt (omit if using salted butter)
pinch cinnamon
1-2 egg whites
Fruit, nuts, raisin or jam of choice

Or 
use my filling recipe, which is what I used in the Kringles.
Frangipane Filling
1 pkg. Odense Almond Paste (5 oz.) diced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

Custard
1 cup cream
2 tbsp. Birds Custard Powder (or just plain cornstarch)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 egg yolk

Mix and cook until thickened,  place plastic wrap over it and let cool.  I make this while the kringle dough is chilling.

Cream butter and sugar together until light, then add the Almond Paste a little at a time.  Mix well. 

Directions
Soften butter with a potato masher or something similar. Spread the butter on waxed paper to an 8×16 rectangle.  Or just do what I did.   My brother told me to just use my cheese slicer and slice the butter when it came time to roll out the dough.  Saves you a lot of mess, time and fridge space. 

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Add the milk, sugar, salt (if using), lemon or vanilla extract and egg.  Mix well.  Add the flour and mix smooth by hand. 

I just use my stand mixer, cause gee, why not?   I also played with my Danish Dough Whisk to see how that would work, and I think I’ll just use my stand mixer from now on. 
Take the dough out of the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap and then chill.  Overnight is best, really. 

Roll the dough on a well-floured board to an 8×12 rectangle.  Divide the butter into two equal parts.  Place one part of the butter on 2/3 of the dough, fold the uncovered piece of dough over the middle third (on top of half the butter layer), then fold the remaining third over the top.  Chill for at least 2 hours, or throw into the freezer for about 20 minutes, if you’re in a hurry.

Roll dough again to an 8×12 rectangle. Place the remaining piece of chilled butter on 2/3 of the dough.  Fold in the same method as the first piece of butter.

And here is where I used my brother’s hint.   I took my cheese slicer out and then used it to slice the butter up, and layered that into the dough.  Much easier then make a butter layer and chilling it, and …


Gently roll dough to an 8×16 inch rectangle being careful not to break the layering of the butter.  Fold into thirds again.  This will make 24 layers of butter.   Cover and place into the fridge to chill and rest.  (I used one of my large cutting sheets for this as it made it a lot easier to handle)

Cut the dough into two equal pieces.  Lightly, very lightly roll one piece out at a time, until it’s about 6×20 inches.  

After folding and before rolling out.


 Not that you can see it clearly here, but there are layers and layers of butter and dough here. 

Mix the filling ingredients until smooth.  Spread center third of dough with filling (whichever one you like), then add the fruit or nuts or in my case, the custard. 

 Frangipane Filling

 Custard, which I got way too firm/stiff, but next time…

 

 Custard on top of Frangipane filling

Fold one of the long edges to the middle, moisten other edge and fold over to cover filling.  Seal well.  And I do mean well, cause, umm the filling leaked out of one of mine.

Put Kringle on lightly greased baking sheet and form into oval shape, pressing ends of kringle together to form a continuous oval.  (And next time I do this, I’ll be forming this on parchment paper or my Silpat as I think it would be a lot easier to transfer it to a baking pan that way, this sucker is hard to manage otherwise).  Flatten entire oval with hands.  Cover kringle and let set at room temperature for one hour.


Preheat oven to 350 deg. F

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown in color. 

Cool, then frost with a mixture of confectioners sugar and water.    
Icing:  
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. + more water, enough to make a fluid frosting, that isn’t runny, but not too thick to drizzle on top of Kringle.  I got smart this time and put some in a frosting bag, snipped off the end, and used that to ‘pynt’ the top.  

 

Sprinkle some sliced almonds on top after the icing is done if desired.  I did desire, so I sprinkled some sliced almonds gaily on top. 










Personally, I don’t think I did too badly for my first try but I think I will need lots and lots of practice making these.     

Anyone have a birthday coming up?  
Or a celebration or ….

I’m open to suggestions.