There was a new cake at our annual Akvavit Tasting event this year, but by no means is it a new cake. In a nod to event organizer Steen Moeller’s home region of Denmark, event chef Gry (Dawn) Terrell chose a cake from the tradition of the “sønderjysk kaffebord” that dates back to the 1750s to cap off our meal. Literally translated, “sønderjysk kaffebord” means “Southern Jutland Coffee Table,” but don’t let the name fool you. Coffee is essential, but it’s all about the cake – seven types of soft cake and seven types of hard cake (aka cookies or biscuits) to be exact.
Bread in cake?! Falling in the tradition of the ‘soft cakes,’ our rugbrødslagkage does indeed use traditional danish rye bread as a base, but a hint of cocoa and the requisite baking alchemy result in a light layer cake base. Topped with pillows of whipped cream and finished with chopped chocolate and hazelnuts, it’s a delicious dessert whether it’s paired with 13 other cakes or not.
Rugbrødslagkage (Rye Bread Layer Cake)
adapted from a recipe by Camilla Biesbjerg, Camilla Zarah Lawes, Louisa Lorang
Crust / Layer Ingredients:
1/3 lb. cane sugar
1/2 lb rye bread (no kernels, no caraway)
3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tbsp potato flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 oz. hazelnuts
Butter/oil for greasing the pan
2 cups of heavy cream
2 oz. chocolate
2 oz. hazelnuts
- Turn on the oven at 360°F. Cover the bottom of a spring form pan (D: 8-9 inches) with baking paper, strap on the sides and grease them
- Separate the eggs and whisk yolks and sugar white and airy with an electric mixer.
- Add finely grated rye bread (see notes), cocoa powder, potato flour, baking powder and finely chopped hazelnuts. Mix thoroughly.
- Beat the egg whites firm and fold them gently into the dough little by little.
- Pour the dough into the spring form and bake the cake for ca. 45 min at 360°F.
- Let the cake cool off and split it horizontally into two layers (use a long, serrated knife).
- Whip the cream to a soft foam. Chop chocolate and hazelnuts coarsely.
- Use half of the whipped cream for filling between the two layers and spread the rest on the top of the cake. Decorate with the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts and serve promptly.
Bread should preferably be stale and dry. If it’s too fresh it will clump.
Alternatively, the bread can be chopped very finely in a food processor
Thanks to Gry for passing her recipe along. If you tackle this interesting recipe, let us know how it goes!
A Chill in the air and nights getting longer by the day mean Christmas is just around the corner! It’s also perfect weather to cozy up with a warm bowl of Nissen’s favorite dish, risengrød! It may not get all the press that fancy risalamande gets, but it’s a perennial favorite, and can be eaten all season long. As a bonus, it reheats well.
Risengrød (Danish Rice Pudding)
adapted from a recipe on alra.dk
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup arborio rice*
- 4 1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
*NOTE – Grødris is used in Denmark but can be difficult to source in the United States. We have heard of many different types of rice being substituted here; whatever you choose, it should be a shortgrain rice.
Bring water and rice to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; cook over medium heat while stirring for about 2 minutes. Add milk, salt and vanilla sugar, and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes while stirring). Cover and cook for an additional 25 – 35 minutes, stirring often.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together to taste.
Serve the Risengrød warm, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and a pat of butter in the middle.
For Foodies (food enthusiasts) nationwide — but especially here in MN — the buzz has been about “New Nordic” cuisine. The emphasis for this has been about the nordic tradition of using what is local and seasonal. Last month, DAC Board President, Susan Jacobsen, played host and executive chef for the monthly Wednesday Luncheon (Onsdag Frokost) at the Danish American Center serving a menu inspired by this movement.
What follows is her account of that lunch and some recipes for you to try at home.
New Nordic cooking is Denmark’s latest contribution to healthy living in modern times. It is not just new recipes, it is a philosophy or way of thinking about food with values like prioritizing local ingredients, eating healthy grains and vegetables and eating less meat. In April, we offered our first vegetarian meal at Onsdag Frokost and while a little surprising for our diners, it met with success.
The first course consisted of three green vegetables. Asparagus is one of the first spring vegetables, fresh soy beans are quintessentially Minnesotan, and green beans rounded the dish out with a familiar vegetable. Dress vegetables in olive oil, although butter is also good. The finishing salt we used is from a small company in Portland, Oregon. Jacobsen Salt was founded by a Danish American, Ben Jacobsen, who learned about artisanal salt while studying and working in Denmark. When he returned to the US he wondered why we had to import sea salt. His salt has taken the US culinary scene by storm. Hazelnuts paired with leeks and mushrooms combine Danish ingredients in a rich and satisfying pate. To me, it gives the same satisfaction as leverpostej and makes vegetarians feel welcome at family meals. Dessert was a lighter version of custard with soaked prunes, another traditional Danish ingredient.
Here are some of the recipes you can try.
April 2015 Onsdag Frokost Menu
- Asparagus spears, 6-8 per person
- Fresh frozen soy beans (Edamane) 1//2 cup per person
- Green beans, 6-8 per person
- Jacobsen salt – or other large flake finishing salt
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Roll asparagus spears in olive oil.
- Roast asparagus spears on cookie sheet at 350° for 15 minutes or until done.
- Cook soybeans in water. Drain. Dress with olive oil.
- Cook green beans in water. Drain. Dress with olive oil.
- Place vegetables on plate and sprinkle with salt.
MUSHROOM & HAZELNUT PATE
- 3 leeks, (8 ounces) finely sliced
- 2 ounces olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 pound Portobello or Crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 ounces hazel nuts, finely chopped
- 5 ounces fresh breadcrumbs
- 5 ounces double cream
- 8 ounces, grated Havarti cheese
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 T soft butter with 1 T soft breadcrumbs for mold
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Sauté leeks in oil until soft. Add garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Reduce and cook, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add nuts, breadcrumbs and cream.
- Cool for 15-20 minutes and add cheese and egg. Pour mixture into a buttered mold coated with breadcrumbs. Bake at 300˚ F until firm, approximately 45 minutes. Let set for 15-20 minutes before serving for best texture. Serve the pate warm or cold.
For Danish Smørrebrod
- 10 slices rye pumpernickel bread
- 5 apples or ½ Fuji apple thinly diced per serving
- Butter rye bread or wheat bread and cover with lettuce
- Place slices of pate on bread with lettuce.
- Mix apple with lemon juice for topping.
Adapted from Smørrebrod – Danish Open by Katrine Klinken © 2008
- 5 cups whole milk
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup or about 9 ounces pitted prunes
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Pour one cup of the milk into a saucepan and cook the prunes on low heat until they have absorbed all of the liquid.
- Boil remaining four cups of milk and remove from heat.
- Mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla and beat well. Add flour slowly beating to avoid lumps.
- Pour the boiled milk into the egg, sugar mixture and mix well.
- Butter a baking pan and cover the bottom with prunes. Pour milk mixture over the top and bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
(I am not related to Ben Jacobsen, but I am a great fan of his salt.)
Would you be surprised to learn that the DAC is entirely run by volunteers? From weekly office staffing to special event coordination and yes, even our æbleskive breakfasts*, we do it all with the help of a great group of dedicated volunteers.
After the completion of our remodeled kitchen, new scullery, and expanded dining room, it was time for a tour of how the new spaces work with each other and brush up on our kitchen safety protocols with resident kitchen safety experts Grethe Petersen and Lise Day.
Want to know one of the secrets behind cultivating a great group of volunteers like this? At the end of the 2 hour session we all sat down to a lunch of homemade leverpostej and pickled beets, cheeses and fruit, and a fresh-out-of-the-oven cake and lots of good strong coffee. This is not an uncommon occurrence.
It’s also no surprise that Grethe was generous with her coffee cake recipe. If you’re looking for a relatively quick and easy coffee cake here’s one to try.
Grethe's Danish Yeast Coffee Cake
- 1/2 cup soft margarine/butter
- 1/2 cup sugar 1-2 tsp cinnamon
- Optional sliced 1 peeled thinly sliced apple
Dissolve yeast in 1/8 cup of lukewarm water (not too hot or it will kill the yeast’s ability to rise). Mix first 3 ingredients, add sugar and eggs. Mix. Add flour gradually and mix gently to dough slips easily from the bowl.
Let it rise 1 hour.
On a floured surface form into 2 flat 1″ high, 5-6″ wide, 1 foot long loaves.
Place the filling in the middle of the loaves. If you’re using the apple slices, place them on top of the filling.
Fold both ends in and then both sides into 2 loaves (they will be about 2″ high, 3-4″ wide and 1 foot long). Place both loaves in a lightly buttered 9×13 pan and sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake approx. 20 min in a 375 degree oven- until light brown.
Notes: Do not add too much flour and handle the dough gently. Mix it all by hand with just a bowl and wooden spoon.
*psst! the next æbleskive breakfast is this Sunday, January 18 (9:30am – 12:30 pm)
Platter of medisterpølse with a side of brunede kartofler
In what has quickly become a highly anticipated happening at the Danish American Center, pounds and pounds and pounds of medisterpølse are cranked out over the course of a morning. Joel Mortensen, our own master of medisterpølse, teaches an occasional and very hands-on class on how to make this quintessential Danish sausage. In the class, Joel goes over every step of the process starting with what cut (and fat-to-meat ratio) to request from your butcher. He shares the recipe–no closely guarded family secrets here; the recipe is freely given to everyone who attends–and then it’s to work. Participants not only chop their own onions, and grind/measure out their own spices, they mix by hand, prep the casings and help crank out the end product. As you can see in the photo, they pair wonderfully with brunede kartofler (sugar browned potatoes). Recipes and pictures from Joel’s November 2014 Class after the jump Continue reading
Danish American Fellowship Cookbook (1996)
Are you looking for a showstopping dessert for the holiday season that’s deceptively easy? Or were you missing the recipe for the cake Grethe Petersen served Mo Rocca at the top of the episode of “My Grandmother’s Ravioli” (and at the encore of the meal she shared with our Onsdag Frokost group last month)? It’s not one of the recipes the Cooking Channel shared. But, as it turns out, Grethe is no stranger to being generous with her recipes. She first shared this one in a cookbook put out by the Danish American Fellowship in 1996. The original tester’s notes for this recipe call it ‘good and easy.’ We couldn’t agree more.
Going forward, we will be mining this little gem of a cookbook quite a bit for recipes. Is there one you’d especially like us to include here? Let us know in the comments.
Mazarin Kage (Almond Cake)
- 1 cup almond paste (8 oz)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 325° F
- Butter & flour a 9″ pie plate well
- Grate almond paste, then mix with sugar at slow speed, then add butter/margarine, and mix until incorporated.
- Add eggs one at the time, mixing well in between, then add the flour and mix well
- Bake for 45 minutes (top should be golden brown)
- Optional: Frost with melted chocolate and decorate with slivered almonds
source: Danish American Fellowship Cookbook, 1996 [Contributor: Grethe Petersen]