Risalamande

Monday was St. Martin’s day. Another holiday that people usually don’t remember the origins of, but are still looking forward to it, because it means some special, big eating, right… 🙂

In Hungary it means eating goose, but in Denmark it is duck. Since roasted duck is also very usual as a Christmas dish, with potatoes, caramel-potatoes, red cabbage and gravy, it is not unusal for Danes, to celebrate Sankt Mortens Dag (as they call it) with an early Christmas feast. As it happens, that is what we exactly did this year 🙂

I made the complete Danish Christmas menu, and to make it whole, I also prepared the special dessert that goes with it: Risalamande.

Risalamande with cherry sauce

Risalamande is basically chilled rice-porridge, blanded with chopped almonds, vanilla and whipped cream, served with sweet Cherry sauce. Usually on Christmas evening the hostess hides a whole almond piece in the middle of the pudding, she asks a few other people to stir it well, so there could be no cheating (at least that’s what my mother-in-law does), and then she serves it to the family. The one who finds the whole almond in his/her dish, is the winner of a special almond gift 🙂 It’s a little bit like the coin in the British Christmas-pudding, I guess.

Making Risalamande is not very difficult, however it takes its time, especially because of all the cooling.

Here is how it goes:

Risalamande:

  • 3dl water
  • 2,5 dl porridge rice (small and round)
  • 1 liter milk
  • 100 g chopped almonds
  • 2 vanilla sticks
  • 4 sp sugar
  • 2,5 dl cream for whipping
  • cherry sauce or other berry sauce for serving

First you will make rice-porridge: Take a heavy-based saucepan, put water and rice in it and boil them together. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional 2 mts while stirring it constantly. Add the milk and cook it at a low temperature, still stirring, for another 10 mts. Cover it and cook for half an hour more, stir it once in a while. Once it is done, let it cool in the fridge. It is best, if it can rest for a whole day.

preparing risalamande

Bland the cold porridge, the vanilla seeds of the two sticks, sugar and the chopped almonds together. Whip the cream until you get a light foam, and then carefully fold it into the porridge. Set the risalamande in the fridge for another 2 hours before serving.

For serving take some lovely cherry or berry sauce. In Denmark you can buy hundreds of different types of little cartons of cherry sauce from November until January, in any shop.

Enjoy 🙂

SAMSUNG CSC

 

 

Easy Apple Cake

Or sheds are still full of the nice apples we picked a few weeks ago. As my husband pointed out, it is very nice to eat apple cakes (almost) every weekend, made from our own apples. And I like variety, so I took my big Danish baking book, and opened it at the apple cakes. I chose a recipe they call Let Æbletærte, which can be translated to either light, or easy apple cake, but since it is quite full of suger and butter, I chose to go with easy, because it is very easy to make, and results in a light texture. But not “light” from a diet point of view 🙂

apple cake collage

 

I have changed it a little bit, and here is the recipe I followed:

For the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g sugar
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 125 g flour
  • breadcrumbs

For the topping:

  • 3-4 apples
  • 25 g chopped almonds
  • 1 sp sugar
  • 1/2 sp cinnamon

Method:

Beat eggs and sugar together until its hard, add melted butter and flour, mix it and spread it out in a baking form (about 26 cm in diameter), that is greased with butter and sprinkled with breadcrumbs.

Peel the apples and cut them into boat shapes. Mix them with half of the sugar and the cinnamon. Place the apple pieces on the top of the dough, and push them gently into it. Sprinkle rest of the sugar and chopped almonds on top. Bake it at 200 Celsius for about 30 mts.

Enjoy it warm, probably with a hint of whipped cream, or vanilla ice-cream 🙂

Easy Apple Cake

 

Cookies in Boxes, last volume for this year :)

Due to circumstances I had no power over (like my own bowel movements for a short period of time…), I did not manage to make as many cookies as I wanted to. Well, no problem because the missing ones can be still made next year 🙂 But we did manage to make a portion of each Danish delicacies that are sooooo connected with Christmas.

The first one is called Pebbernødder, meaning “peppernuts”, and has absolutely nothing to do with either pepper or nuts, its just a nice, spicy ginger bread style cookie, which has a shape of a nut. The other one is not really a cookie, rather layered marzipan, but nonetheless very yummy.

Pebbernødder:

pebbernoedder

These cookies simply cannot be left out for a real Danish Christmas. If you don’t bake them, you buy them in big bags, and munch them during the wonderful month of December. My husband insisted on that we should make them ourselves this year, because it is so fun to bake with kids (and it is!). So I called my mother-in-law, and asked for her recipe. When it comes Danish recipes, she is the first one I turn to, not a cooking book 🙂 Later she sent me this recipe:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 400 g margarine
  • 500 g sugar
  • 2 sp light syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 dl milk
  • 3 tsp hartshorn salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • bit of ground lemon peel

pb dough

I only used half amount of everything, and still got plenty of cookies in the end. You just mix everything together, then roll thin cylinders out of the dough, and cut small pieces of it. Perfect job for little girls with at least 4-5 beaded necklaces on 🙂

pb cutting

Lay them on a baking tray covered with baking paper, and bake them on 200 Celsius for about 20-25 mts, until they get nice and brown.

pb done

Once they are done, it is very important to perform a quality check on the cookies! Little boys are very suitable to do so 🙂

 

Marzipan Slices:

marzipan slices

Or, my little brother’s favourite treats 🙂 You can also buy them in any shop around Christmas, in many different qualities. But it is much more fun (and sometimes even more expensive…) to make your own ones 🙂

You will need some raw marzipan, some nougat bar, and food colouring of your choice.

pure marzipan

I went with green and red marzipan, and of course the raw colour and nougat as well 🙂 Now all we have to do, is to make thin slices of everything, then layer them nicely. I found cheese cutter to work best for slicing nougat, and a very sharp knife, to slice the cold (out of the fridge) marzipan.

layered marcipan

Once I layered them, I decided to put them back into the fridge again, before cutting them up, because it is much more easier to work with cold marzipan.

In the meantime, I made some figures out of the left-over marzipan: An elegant, pink, plumpy, Icelandic type of pony for my daughter (yes, it is a pony, stop laughing!), and a cool sport car for my car-maniac son. If you, at this point, would like to form comments like “Geez, I understand why she is not a professional marzipan figure manufacturer”, then I have to tell you, that luckily my kids are very sophisticated, and recognize art at once when they see it, and knew instantly what the two figures were 🙂 However, Paddington refused to eat or even touch his marzipan car…

marzipan figures

Anyway, look at these divine marzipan slices…

divine slices

This year I decided to make small packages of Christmas goodies for family members as a gift, so I made a few scone shaped paper bags, and packed them with pebbernødder and the marzipan slices. I hope they will be received with joy 🙂

wrapping the goodies

 

 

Cookies in Boxes Vol.2 – Linzer

Oh, the Linzer…

Linzer

Anyone, who has ever heard about the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is not gonna be surprised by the fact that Austria and Hungary share a lot of traditions and recipes. Especially when it comes to cakes, cookies, tortes, and all the heavenly results of the development of confectionery. One of these shared heavenly gems is the Linzer torte. It is very popular as a cake, but also as cookies, made according to the same recipe, and they cannot be absent from the Christmas dessert table. It is almost obvious that I also had to make them this year to fill up at least one of my empty cookie boxes…

I guess every family has their own recipe for it. So do we 🙂 This recipe is old, very old, and my Mum always makes it for Christmas, following the sharp, decent handwriting of her grandmother. I copied this recipe to my own cookbook, and brought it to Denmark.

My Greatgranny is very special to me. I was named after her (she hated her given name all her life – until I was born and given the same name), and we were lucky enough to spend the first two years of my life together, in the same home. When my Mum went to university, she left home and moved in with my Greatgranny. It was not easy to get your own flat at the time my parents were young, so when my Mum and Dad got married, they simply lived together with Greatgranny and looked after each other. Unfortunately I don’t remember much of the time spent together with Greatgranny. But I have heard the stories all my life, and she must have been a great person! She lives through us, and her legendary cooking and baking.

That’s us, about 30 years ago 🙂

greatgranny

 

And this is her recipe for Linzer:

  • 600 g flour
  • 300 g margarine
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • grated peel of half a lemon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • milk
  • jam of your choice

Making linzer dough is not rocket science, really 🙂 You just put all the ingredients (except the jam) in a bowl, and work them together thoroughly. You only need to add a little bit of milk, so you get a light dough. It really depends on the quality of the flour you use, but it is really only a little bit of milk. Less than a dl, I would say…

Because we are only 2 adults and 2 children, I only used 400 grams of flour and equivalent ingredients, but I heard that Greatgranny used to bake linzer of 1,2 kgs of flour for the whole family…

linzer dough

 

Once the dough is done, roll it out very thin with a rolling pin, and cut different shapes out of it. Perfect task for small baby hands 🙂 Since later we are going to fill the cookies up with jam, it is important that you cut the same amount of full and holey shapes that will go together.

shapes

 

Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius, and bake the cookies for no longer than 10-12 minutes! They don’t need to get brown and too crispy, you want them nice and soft.

Once they are done and cold, take the jam of your choice (we traditionally use apricot jam, but any other will do as well), and whip it until it gets hard.

Now you can fill your cookies: Put a spoonful of jam on the middle of the full cookies, then gently put a holey cookie on the top.

baking and filling

 

You can sprinkle them with some icing sugar, so they don’t just taste, but also look yummie 🙂

yummie linzers

 

That’s it. Wasn’t too difficult, was it? Enjoy!

 

Cookies in Boxes Vol.1 – Honey Kisses

Hi, I’m Poppy, and I’m a box-alcoholic… I collect all kinds of boxes, I just cannot resist them, and after I have brought them home I try to justify their existence by putting random things in them, making them somewhat useful. It usually results in none of us finding anything. As my husband once said, after looking for his phone charger in vain: “You and your boxes…”

But there are a few boxes that everyone knows for sure what they hide. The lovely tin boxes, sitting on the top of the kitchen cupboard, waiting for me to make some cookies and fill them up. Even my 21 months old Paddington knows without doubt, and from time to time you find him standing in the kitchen, pointing up to the boxes, repeating one word of his (so far) not too wide repertoire  “mere, mere, mere!” (more, more, more!)

Well, Christmas is coming, and it is time to fill up my lonely, empty cookie boxes again. One by one 🙂

boxes and cookies

We have a lot of different kinds of cookies on plan, since I long for the tastes of my childhood, the Hungarian Christmas cookies, and my husband longs for the tastes of his childhood, the Danish ones:) The kids luckily don’t have any preferences yet, they simply want to eat, preferably all the time, if possible. Any kind of cookie is welcome in their little, round bellies.

I decided to start the line by making one of the Hungarian cookies (I make them, I get to choose the order – aka: my kitchen my rules, hehe 🙂 ). I was browsing the Internet the other day, and stumbled upon a lovely recipe of a kind of gingerbread, called Honey Kisses in Hungarian (or, if you prefer, MĂ©zespuszedli). It’s something I always loved very much, and because of the spices used for making it, it is very christmassy. Usually, for Christmas, I always bake according to old, family recipes, but my handwritten cookbook, that I once copied from the one my Mum owns (containing recipes from her Mum and Grandma as well) unfortunately doesn’t include a recipe for the honey kisses. So I decided to give a go to the recipe I had found. It is of a Hungarian gastro-blogger, TĂĽcsökBogár. And here it goes:

Honey Kisses:

Dough:

  • 330 g flour
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 120 g honey (I prefer a liquid kind of honey for this recipe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp veg. oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp gingerbread spice mix (If you, like me, cannot find the spice mix, you can substitute it with 1tsp cinnamon, 1tsp ground cardamom, and 1 tsp ground cloves)
  • a pinch of salt

Icing:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 175 g icing sugar

First you take the brown sugar, the eggs (both whites and yolks), the honey, the water, the oil and the salt, and whip them very good. Then you add the mix of the flour, the baking soda and the spices to it, and work the whole thing together thoroughly. You get a soft dough. Now you put it in the fridge, for min. 1 hour. (My dough was chilling in the fridge for more than 2 hours, because it was such a beautiful sunshine, that we had to go for a walk with my husband and the dog).

preparing honey kisses

Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius. Take the dough, and form little, walnut sized balls of it (it is easy, if you water your hands regularly, so the dough is not gonna stick on your fingers), and put them on a baking tray covered with baking sheet.  Leave some space between the balls, as they are going to rise while baking. Once you formed the balls, take a tablespoon, water it, and gently press the top of  the balls with it. Now bake them for 10-12 minutes.

baking honey kisses

Once the kisses are done, prepare the icing. Put the egg whites and the icing sugar in a bowl, and whip them very good, above steam (a pot of boiling water). Wait until the cookies get cold, then fold them into the icing. You can also choose to fold them in melted chocolate instead, and probably you want to hide a little bit of prune jam inside of the kisses as well… possibilities are countless 🙂

icing honey kisses

Let them dry… If you can… This recipe gives you about 40 honey kisses, we only had about half of them left, by the time they got dry. I heard that they should last and stay nice and soft quite long in a box, but we will never experience it, the kisses are all gone by now… 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

Honey Kisses