Tag Archives: Butter

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.

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Ostestænger (Cheese Straws) og Ostemedaljer (Cheese Medallions)


I joined some friends for a little get together last Sunday   And was trying to think of what I could bring/make/share. I really didn’t want to run to town to get something special.    As it just so happened, I was looking through my copy of Danish Home Baking, by Karen Berg and found this recipe.   Simple, tasty and good.

A lot of the recipes in this book assume a certain level of expertise. Most recipes are baked in a moderate, fast or slow, or hot oven.   I’ve had very little difficulty in translating moderate, fast and slow to degrees, but will add the recommended temperatures here.

Oven 400-425 degrees  (depends on your oven)
Basic Recipe from the book
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cup flour
2 cups grated cheese, mild
pinch of paprika
pinch of salt
1 egg for brushing

Mix the grated cheese with the flour, salt and paprika.   Work in the butter.

Pat the dough into a rectangle and set aside to cool.   When cold, roll out to roughly 24 inches long by 5 inches wide.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cut into approximately 50 straws.   Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake very pale golden.   On no account allow to get browned as they will then taste bitter.
I also made a roll of the dough and cut circles from it, the dough was so tender, I had to keep adding flour, and I thought, gee, cheese crackers, hmm, that might be fun too.   And I was running out of time to get them all baked and into the oven before I had to be there

So, I formed the dough into a roll and then just cut slices from it, and flattened them out just a little with my French Rolling Pin.

You can see the little bits of herb from the flavoured butter I used.   Do try this, it did add a lot to the flavour of the crackers.  In fact, next time I make them, I’m just going to add some fresh chopped garlic, parsley and whatever other herbs I have from the garden.   I’m thinking a touch of Rosemary would be awesome in these as well.
My changes:
I used a 1/4 cup of this herbed butter from Kerrygold instead of 1/4 cup of regular butter.  I keep a cube of this on hand when I want a little oomph from my butter.   A little goes a long way.  I use it a lot of different ways.

I also did not add any salt as I was already using salted butter.   I added a good 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne powder and the cheese I used was a colby-jack cheese.    I baked one pan at 350 degrees, but it was not hot enough, and so the next pan was baked at 425 degrees.    It took about 15 minutes, to bake, but I did check after 10 minutes.

I liked them, but when I make them again, and I will, I am going to add a little more flour, maybe a little water, and make them less of a pie crust like cracker.   I think they would be better if they were a little more like a crisp cracker.

The feedback I got on these was positive, especially when they were crumbled into a bowl of home made baked beans.  Jon makes the best baked beans ever.   Had to plug them there.

Fransk Vafler (French Waffles)


Wow, it’s the first  second day of the new year, so Happy New Year to everyone.   And it’s also 2013, finally.  Just kidding.  Can’t really believe this past year just flew by, and it was fun, mostly.
I’m looking forward to all the wonders that will unfold with the new year, which includes my cooking, and all the adventures that come from that.

I wanted to share this recipe again, I’ve actually posted about it before, but it was on my other blog and I wanted to update a couple of things, so, since it’s the first second day of the New Year, I thought it would be a great idea to share this family recipe.   This was the special occasion cookie in my family.

I love bringing French Waffles to any kind of gathering.   It’s always fun to see people’s expressions when they bite into one of these wonderful, rich, light pieces of deliciousness.   Too much hyperbole?  Nah, not if you’ve ever had one of them.

I made some to bring to the Post Apocalyptic party and they were a hit.   But then again, I expected nothing less.

To start with, they are one of the simplest cookies to put together.

Really, they are.

Well, maybe a little labor intensive until you get the hang of it, but oh, so worth it.   And one of the things I like best about them, you can make the dough ahead of time, and then just bake them at your leisure.    I’ve even been known to make the dough and freeze it, then just take out enough to bake for a quick tea and Voila!  French Waffles.

Basic recipe

1 lb. Butter
1 lb. Flour                                        (about 4 cups less 2 tablespoons)
12 Soupspoons Half and Half      ( 7 Tablespoons, I just measured it out)

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles peas,

then add the Half and Half or light cream, mix together.  Press it lightly together on the counter.   In many respects this resembles a good pie dough, but is a lot more tender.    This will feel like a really soft sticky dough, but it should.

I divide the dough into thirds or quarters and flatten them out into a disc shape or a log, then wrap that in a piece of plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about 4 hours or longer.    I take out just a little of the dough at a time, about 20 minutes before I’m ready to roll it out.  I don’t want it really stiff, but do want it a little malleable.

While the dough is resting, prepare the sugar topping.    I’ve done this so many ways in the past, but the easiest is this:

A cutting board with the sugar on top,
(gotta say I was so impressed with myself, I finally figured out an easy way to put the sugar in one spot where it was easy to clean up, just by using my cutting board)  where I put the cut out cookies,

and flatten them with either a couple of fingers or the rolling-pin, which in turn presses the sugar into the top of the cookie.

 

Dust the counter top with some flour, and rub a little onto your rolling pin as well.   Place the dough on the counter, sprinkle just a little flour on top, then roll out.   You want this to be fairly thin, cause the cookies plump up in the oven when it bakes.  And since the cookies don’t spread out, (they plump when you cook them, sorry couldn’t resist that one), you can actually crowd them in the pan.


I use an old small liqueur glass to cut out the rounds, I like these cookies a little on the small side, but use what ever kind of cookie cutter you have.

Place the cookies on the pan after you’ve pressed some of the sugar into the tops onto a parchment sheet or silpat sheet.     Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, check them after about 10 minutes, sometimes they brown faster.   I know mine did yesterday when I made a batch.   When they are a lovely light golden color pull them out.

I make the filling for the cookies while the dough is resting in the fridge.  It does take a little time, so rather than doing a load of laundry or the dishes, I make the filling and set that aside.    I used to use a buttercream filling, but it is so rich and sugary, and when I learned how to make this frosting, I decided it was perfect to fill with and it is.

Best Ever Frosting.
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons flour
Whisk the flour and milk together (I use my gravy shaker for this step) until smooth.   Then cook over a medium heat whisking constantly until comes to a boil, and cook for just a minute or so.   Pour through a strainer, just in case there were any pesky little lumps that found their way in, then cover and set aside to cool.
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract  (I use my own homemade)
In the bowl of stand mixer or with your hand mixer, mix together the butter and sugar.  I let my trusty Kitchenaid to all the work, and let it whip until the sugar has dissolved into the butter.   Then add the cooked and cooled flour/milk mixture, a third at a time, and whip it.  Continue whipping for a few minutes.  This will become light, fluffy and delicious.  Taste to make sure it’s whipped enough.     Set aside.

Put the frosting into a piping bag, I’ve found this is the easy way to do the cookies.  Pipe a little onto the back side of a cookie, then put the top on, sugared side out.   Be prepared to mash a couple of cookies while you get the hang of it, but you can eat them later, and no one will know.  These cookies are very delicate.   After you fill the cookies place them back in the fridge for an hour or so, and let them firm up again.   Then serve to your guests and stand back.   Be prepared, they won’t stop at one, well, some of them might, but most won’t.

**A couple of notes here, use Half and Half, if you use a mixture of whipping cream and milk it will make the cookies so tender, you will have a hard time filling them without crushing them.   Trust me on this, I found out the crumbly way.   But if you can’t find half and half, then by all means make your own, just use one third cream to two thirds milk, not half cream and half milk.  They will still taste wonderful however, but…

If you try these, let me know how they turned out.     And most important, have fun with it.

Jødekager (Jewish Cakes)


Jødekager, or Jewish Cakes which is a literal translation, are one of my favorite cookies.   I’ve made them pretty much every year since I learned how to bake.   And helped out my mom and sisters for years before that.

I’m going to throw in a little teeny history lesson first though, before I get to the nitty gritty on how to make these cookies.   We Danes love to bake, OK, so I know that’s a generalization, but many of us do.  And Danish bakers are famous for ‘borrowing’ recipes from other countries and cultures and making them their own.  But they do like to at least acknowledge where the original recipe came from.   Danish bakers brought home Weinerbrød from Vienna, which translates to Vienna Bread, took hamburgers home from Paris and called them Pariserbøf.   Which is probably how Jødekager came to be, a baker somewhere along the line tasted this cookies and brought them back to Denmark, where they are now one of the traditional cookies.   And made sure he acknowledged where he got them from, in the name.

I made Jødekager and Fransk Vafler this year.  I was going to make Brunkager, but my social calendar got a little full, and I ran out of time.  I’m also making some Marzipan fruit,  and I have some Home made caramel, Truffles and the fruitcake I made over a month ago.  I think I have enough goodies to take me to the New Year now.    And since I’m going to a party this weekend, I also have some goodies to take with me there as well.

Here’s the recipe and the how to’s on making Jødekager.

The recipe I use is the one my mom used, and quite frankly I see no reason to try any other one.   When I bite into one of the cookies, I get transported back to my childhood, sigh.  Christmas’s past remembered are always the best.   I can see my sister, my mother, my brother, sometimes my dad or one of my older sisters sitting at the kitchen table, and all of us having a hand in making the cookies.  Making Christmas cookies was a family affair and sometimes, it turned into a marathon cookie making session.  Now, I do it by myself so I’ve learned how to stream line the process a lot.  One essential thing I’ve found though, is I must have Christmas music playing.  For some reason the cookies taste better that way.  Well, I think they do.

So many Danish cookies are rich in butter but short on sugar, we don’t decorate cookies with frosting, we decorate them with chopped nuts and a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon in the case of Jødekager.   And that’s OK with me.  I’m not too fond of overly frosted sugar cookies, but then again, I didn’t grow up with them either.
The following recipe is by weight, but I’m got the American measurements as well to the right.

Jødekager
1/2 Kg. Flour                                                             or               2 cups Flour
180 grams Sugar                                                     or              3/4 cup Sugar

1/4 kg. Butter                                                         or              1/2 lb. Butter
2 Eggs
1 teaspoonful Hjortetaksalt (Baking Ammonia)      or             1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

For the topping:
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Cinnamon mixed with a half cup sugar or to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds mixed with a half cup sugar

To start with, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.  Very light and fluffy, then add the egg.   Last add the flour and baking powder, mix well.  This year I was able to get some Baking Ammonia, (YIPPEEE!!!  sorry, got excited there),  and used that instead of the baking powder.  It does make for a lighter, crisper cookie, but baking powder works well also.   I use my stand mixer, cause it saves on the old shoulder, I just can’t mix stuff up like I used to.   Once the flour has been well mixed in, form the dough into two or in my case three equal sized disks, wrap well and put into the fridge for a couple of hours.   You want the dough to rest and cool down.  Otherwise it’s very hard to roll out, with all the butter in the dough it is very soft.   I flatten the disks quite a bit before I put them in the fridge, they’re much easier to roll out then.

Take one of the disks of dough out of the fridge, and flour your board very lightly, you don’t want to add more flour than you need to, this is a delicate dough.   Roll out thinly, then cut out circles with a small cookie cutter, or in my case a wine glass.  I’ve been using this glass for years, I don’t know what I’d do if it ever broke, makes the perfect size cookie.

Brush tops with a beaten egg white, and sprinkle on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar or finely chopped nuts and sugar.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes.   Check to make sure the cookies aren’t browning too fast.   I check at the seven minute mark and take off the cookies which have browned just a little, returning the cookie pan to the oven again.  Sometimes, you’ll put the same pan back in the oven two or three times for about 1 minute at a time.  I didn’t say this recipe wouldn’t be time-consuming, but oh, is it worth it.

Now since I’m a one man band when it comes to cookie making here, I prepare two or three pans full at a time, putting the cookies on parchment paper and then transferring them to the cookie sheets proper when it comes time to bake them.

Now don’t those look good enough to eat?

I need to go and finish off my Fransk Vafler now.    I’m making a new frosting to put inside this year.   I’m going to use my Best Ever Frosting instead of the Buttercream I usually use.   I think it will be good.   Of course I’m going to experiment on a couple of them first, make sure they taste OK.   If I can’t experiment on myself, who can I experiment on?

Shrimp Piccata and Tapa’s night for August.


We had our monthly Tapa’s Night this past Saturday, and as usual had fun as well as enjoyed some great food.
I made a Shrimp Piccata as my contribution this month, as well as putting out a couple other items.

And I will share the recipe a little later.   I’m kicking myself I didn’t get pictures of the awesome Pineapple Surprise cake or the Carrot cake that was brought, but hey, it’s my party and I can have fun if I want to, and forget to take pictures sometimes.

So here goes:

Zucchini Bake

This dish was so light and flavourful, so good.

The Spanish Omelette was really good as well, and I didn’t get a picture of the Sofrito sauce that was to be served with it.      I thought the omelette was pretty just on its own.

Spanish Omelette
And doesn’t this Charcuterie platter look pretty.   It also had some awesome smoked salmon in the center, you can sort of see them in between the crackers.
Charcuterie platter
Smoked Grouper Cheeks, Smoked Amberjack and Quail Eggs. It has been years since I’ve had quail eggs so seeing them and eating them well, I was a very happy person.    Danes also love smoked fish, well, many of us do, so to have some smoked fish, well, I was in heaven.  I kept heading over to the platter and snatching a bite or two.
I could just envision them with a nice slice of fresh french bread and a glass or two of Akvavit, with a beer chaser. sigh.   Sorry, got side tracked there.
Sliced lunch meats
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

There were some stuffed Cherry tomatoes, and they were so tasty as well.   I was in awe that someone sat and did this, but don’t they look pretty?

Smoked Fish, Ciabatta Rolls and dipping oil
Kugel

I love Kugel, and helped myself to a generous spoonful, I tend to eat this whenever I see it.
Another friend brought these large beans and told me this is common dish served in Greek taverns, and it was delicious as well.

Greek Taverna Beans

We also had some great dark fudge, which made some of us very happy.

Filled crescent rolls

And these little rolls, with a filling.  I’m such a sucker for, and really enjoyed the one I had.

So now for my contribution.
I had a heck of a time trying to figure out what I wanted to make this month.   I knew it should be something with shrimp, I’ve been craving shrimp lately, but what to do with it?    It wasn’t until I was driving into town to get the shrimp that I finally decided.   What a relief.   I had thought of making Shrimp Scampi, but dismissed that idea.   Then it dawned on me, Shrimp Picatta!  I love Chicken Picatta and make it on a regular basis, and the combination of lemon, butter, capers and shrimp just seemed like it would work.    So I bought three pounds of fresh shrimp, some lemons and went home.

I prepared the shrimp by shelling and de-heading them, and went to make up a nice boil to poach them in.  Realized that I didn’t have any Old Bay seasoning, but I didn’t let that stop me.  Not much stops me anyways, when it comes to cooking something.    While I was preparing the boil, I dumped some ice on top of the shrimp to keep them cold.   (I use a fair amount of disposable aluminum baking pans, you can buy them at Sam’s Club for about $7 for 30 of them.  I use them to cook my dog’s food and to serve them their food, less clean up for me.   And if I use a pan for shrimp, like I did here, I just wash it and use it for the dogs,   I do wash and re-use the pans as much as possible as well, until they break down)

I got out a pot and put some plain water in it, then added some cayenne pepper, a couple of cloves of crushed and roughly chopped garlic, a bottle of beer, a bay leaf and some lemon juice.  Brought it to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes so that the flavours would infuse together.   Tasted it and it was bland, so I added a small handful of lightly crushed peppercorns and a little salt, maybe a half teaspoonful, and some more lemon.   Let that come to a boil and tasted it again.  This time it had flavour.
While it was boiling I got a bowl out and put some ice into it, because after poaching the shrimp for a couple of minutes, I wanted to dump the shrimp into some ice water to stop the cooking process.   Nothing worse than a chewy over cooked shrimp.

You can see the bowl behind the pot of water.

I them dumped the shrimp into the boiling liquid, turned down the heat a little, let the shrimp turn pink and removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on ice.   Very important to not over cook shrimp, they turn tough and rubbery.   You want them to ‘pop’ a little when you bite into them.   Only cook them for a minute or two.

Since my guests weren’t expected for another hour or so, I just quick cooled the shrimp, by tossing them with the ice,  then placed them into the fridge so I could finish them off later.   Oh and by the way, I did devein them as well after they cooled down.  (Note to self, next time, you need a lot more shrimp than you realize when you have to prepare them this way,   I may just buy them already deviened and shelled the next time.)

Before the guests arrived I made the sauce I wanted to reheat the shrimp in.    I melted one stick of butter in the pan, added a couple of cloves of minced garlic, a half cup of white wine, juice of one lemon and about 2 tablespoons of capers.  Also added a half a lemon in slices.   Let that simmer for a couple of minutes, tasted it and added another half cup of wine and more butter.   And it was good.

I then placed the shrimp in the butter sauce and let it warm over low heat until the shrimp were warmed through before I served it.   And it was popular.   I even caught a person dipping some of the slice Ciabatta rolls in the sauce and eating that.  OK, so it was me dipping the bread, but hey, the sauce was that good.  And there weren’t any shrimp left anyway.

Here’s the recipe for the boil and the Picatta Sauce

Boil
1 quart water
1 bottle beer
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes so that the spices can infuse into the water, taste and adjust the seasonings.   This will taste spicy, but it really doesn’t make the shrimp all that spicy, just adds a nice kick.    You can also use this spice mixture for a peel and eat shrimp boil.   Add the shrimp and let it come to a boil, but only cook the shrimp for a minute or two,  they just need to turn pink.

Piccata Sauce *

12 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine plus 1/2 cup white wine **
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons capers
2 minced garlic cloves
6 lemon slices

Simmer all of this together until the wine reduces by half, then add another half cup white wine, let that reduce a little, add the shrimp and stir it together until the shrimp warms through.   You don’t need to cook the shrimp, just warm it up in the sauce.   Serve immediately.

*I would serve this with a nice basmati rice or short grain rice or some bow tie pasta for a meal.  And you can use the sauce for chicken as well.  Nothing like a multi purpose sauce. giggle.
** You can substitute chicken stock here as well, the wine adds a nice note of flavour however.   And if you use chicken stock, use the low sodium.

Judging by how quickly the shrimp disappeared, I would say people liked this.

And I also served some sliced Ciabatta Rolls with some dipping oil and some sliced lunch meat, for those who wanted something more.

As usual, we had a great time, and got to try some good food as well.

Brunsviger


It’s that time of year again and while I’ve been going back and forth on the idea, I decided I would go ahead and make a birthday cake anyway.   And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve made a Brunsviger, so here goes.

Last year I made a Danish Layer Cake cause I could and while it was very good, I wanted something a little different this time.

Now for the Brunsviger.    When I was little Mom would make this for my sister and myself, and sometimes she’d make it in the shape of a Kagemand/kone (cakeman or woman), and the topping would run over the sides and make wonderful little toffee puddles and they were so good.   And it would generally make a mess in the oven as well.   But, hey, when you’re a kid, who cares.   All I cared about was getting the topping, giggle.

Here’s how it’s saved in my personal cookbook.  The Danish is to the left and the English translation to the right.   This is the recipe my mom used and I use.   The basic recipe is the same no matter where you look.   A light yeast dough, with a sugar butter topping, basically yummy.

*** Please see my notes at the end.

Brunsviger

500 gr. Mel                                                                 4 Cups minus 2 Tablespoons Flour

200 g. Margarine                                                      14 Tablespoons Butter

2 aeg                                                                                  2 eggs

30 g. Yeast                                                                  1 package Dry Yeast (1/4 oz.)

4 T. Sukker                                                                  4 Tablespoon Sugar

2 dl. lunkne Maelk                                                     3/4 cup lukewarm milk

Cinnamon Topping

 200 g. margarine                                           14 Tablespoons Butter  (1 stick + 6 Tbsp)    200 g. Brown Sugar                                                 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 T. Cinnamon                                                           2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

 Margarine hakkes I mel, aeggene tilsaettes sammen med sukkeret, gaeren smuldres I dejen ell oplose I lidt af den lunkne maelk, og dejen samles med resten a maelken, Dejen aeltes godt, rulles ud till en store plade, der skoeres ud til en stor kagemand eller kone, some laeges pa en smurt plade. Kanelmassen rores sammen, smores over dejen, og haever lunt I 20-25 minutter, bager ved god varme 225 deg, I 20 minutter.

Cut butter into the flour, and add egg along with the sugar. Soften yeast in a little of the lukewarm milk, and add to the dough with the rest of the milk.

Knead dough well and roll out into a large sheet and cut it into either a cakeman or cake woman and place on large greased cookie sheet. Mix cinnamon mixture together and spread over the dough. Place in warm place to rise for about 20-25 minutes, bake for about 20-25 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Or place dough in a large pan, spread cinnamon mixture over it and then using the end of a wooden spoon poke holes down into the dough and let rise for the 20 minutes or so and then bake for 20-25 minutes in 325 deg. oven. Serve warm or cool.  Although this is best warm.  In fact fresh out of the oven is best.

***Now for my notes on this.   I find that when I make this dough, it’s too soft to roll out, so I spread it into the pan.  I use my mixmaster to knead the dough.   And depending on the humidity and how your flour is I would recommend you sift the flour first.   I actually made two batches the other day, since I was going to do my cooking stint at the Senior’s center I took most of it in there with me.  Just left myself a couple of pieces.   This does dry out real fast, so I would recommend eating right away, but the occasional piece heated up for breakfast is good as well.

And if you have a kitchen scale, use that.   I have one and use it all the time especially when I’m baking something from my Danish cookbooks.  I just put a piece of plastic wrap in the tray and that way I don’t have to wash it in between ingredients.  (that’s the purple thing you see).

And I’ve said before that if I screw up, I’ll you know.  And it’s with a red face, sorta, that I have to admit to making the first Brunsviger, and forgetting the eggs.  Oops.   I was sailing along, taking pictures of the process, having a great time doing so.  Got the Brunsviger out of the oven, made a fresh pot of coffee, set my cup and a slice or two of Brunsviger on the table, and took a bite.

Then I took some pictures.  Now the cake was awfully light, but I thought that was because I’d run out of flour and had to substitute a half cup of self rising flour, but it tasted good.   So I took my pictures, finished off the cake, turned around and there were two eggs sitting on the counter.   I had totally missed putting them into the batter.  But you know what, it still tasted good.   So I made a second batch after I’d been to the store and gotten more flour, and the second one tasted great as well.  I made sure there were eggs in that batch.   The only real difference between the two was that the crumb on the first one was  extremely tender, and a little crumbly.

Pâte à Choux


I love Pâte à Choux, and all of its iterations.   I love it filled with Creme Patisserie, gilded with some melted chocolate, I love it filled with whipped cream and dusted with confectioners sugar, I love it made the way my mom made it, when we had unexpected company for afternoon coffee.   I love it made into dumplings for soup.   I just plain love it.     That being said, I’m going to introduce you to some of my favorite ways of preparing it, over the next few postings.   For today, I’ll go with the basics.

I actually got this recipe out of the Parade Magazine back in the 1980’s when Julia Child was still pretty active.   And I’ve been making it from her recipe ever since.     My copy of the recipe is pretty dog-eared now, and I finally figured out that I could scan it and save it on my computer.   Can anyone say DUH!!!!  At least now I don’t have to worry so much about it suddenly falling apart on me, now I just have to worry about computer crashes.  Sigh, as if there weren’t enough stuff to worry about.   There are other recipes out there, and sometimes I make this the way my mom made it as well.   Depends upon how humid it is outside.  Really!   More humid, fewer eggs needed.  But for starters, Julia’s recipe is a good one, and a good starting point.

To start with, make sure you have all the items you need ready.   The French call it Mise en Place, which means everything in place.  It just makes sense, you don’t want to be searching for anything once you get started.  Have your oven preheated, get out the utensils you need, measure out the ingredients you’ll be using, and get them ready.   This also helps you to maybe not forget key ingredients like, oh say, salt, sugar or in my case, I once made carrot cake for a friend and put the cake in the oven and thought it looked a little skimpy and realized, I’d forgotten to put the carrots into the batter!  You’ve never seen anyone get a cake out of the oven faster and fold in the carrots and back into the oven than me that day.   By the way, the cake turned out great.

Without further ado…

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   Get out a 2 quart heavy bottom pan, a stout wooden stirring spoon and a large bowl.      Then get the ingredients together…
Pâte à Choux

1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour, all-purpose, scooped out and leveled.
1 cup eggs,  (stirred together with a fork and measured into the cup, about 5 large eggs)

Heat water and butter together, bring to a boil.

Take off of heat and dump the flour in and begin to beat it together.

It will be rather lumpy at first but keep beating vigorously.   It does come together.  Keep beating it until it forms a large ball, then place back on medium heat and keep beating it, until it stays together and leaves a thin-film of dough on the bottom of the pan.

This tells you that a lot of moisture has evaporated, and it will accept more of the egg.   Take off of the heat now.

Add about 1/4 of the eggs to the dough and beat together.   It will look very strange at this point, cause it separates and looks rather nasty,

but keep beating together, and as soon as the egg has incorporated into the dough, dribble a little more in, and work your arm vigorously again, beating the egg in.   (at this point you can use a mixer bowl and beat it in with that, but I don’t like the dough as well when it is done this way).   Add the egg a dribble at a time, beating vigorously with each addition.    If the humidity is high, you may not need all the eggs,  but if it’s dry you will.    I’ve been making this for many years and can tell from the feel of the dough if I need all the eggs or not.    The pastry should just hold its shape when lifted with a spoon.

Now, you’re ready to bake your cream puffs.   You can spoon them onto a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment covered baking sheet.   My personal preference is for Parchment paper, but then again, it’s up to you.
Form small balls, and space them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

(Sometimes I pipe the pastry onto the sheet, filling a Ziploc bag with the dough, and cutting a hole in one corner of the bag).   Using a damp finger smooth out the tops of the puffs, and brush with an egg wash if desired.   Sometimes I do this, and sometimes not.

 

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and puffed.   DO NOT OPEN OVEN TO CHECK THE PROGRESS, THEY WILL FALL!   Check after 20 minutes, and if they are nice and golden brown, then pierce the side of the puff with a knife and place back in the oven.

Oh yeah, turn off the oven, before you put them back in.   This allows the steam to escape and helps them to dry out a little.

And there you have it, wonderful little puffs of golden deliciousness, ready to be filled with either savory or sweet fillings.

Have fun with your baking, if it doesn’t turn out this time, it might next time, but the process is always fun.