Cinnamon bread – sweet, soft and slightly sticky

Cinnamon bread

Cinnamon bread

Cinnamon bread

Danes have a special love affair with cinnamon. If you cycle around Copenhagen in the early hours of the morning and pass by a bakery, you will most likely be enveloped by a sweet, perfumed cinnamon smell inviting you to buy a warm cinnamon bun or a cinnamon bread fresh out of the oven. It is a real Danish classic and we eat so much cinnamon that it caused major uproar when the European Union tried to limit the amount of cinnamon allowed in baked goods a few years ago. Luckily for us it did not succeed and we can now enjoy our cinnamon breads were saved.

I, of course, have my favourite bakery where I go to get my cinnamon fix, but I prefer baking cinnamon bread myself. It is dead easy, will make your entire home smell amazing, and it means that you don’t have to get up on a Sunday morning and go to the bakery. A distinct advantage on a rainy and windy weekend.

Cinnamon bread
Enough for a two liter loaf tin

Dough:
½ package of fresh yeast
2 deciliter of milk
75g butter + ekstra for the tin
50g cane sugar
A pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ a vanilla pod
500-550g wheat flour

Filling:
125g softened butter
175g cane sugar
3tbsp cinnamon

Icing:
100g icing sugar
2-3tbsp water

Cut the butter into cubes. Heat the milk and butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is lukewarm.

Cinnamon bread

Add the yeast and stir until it dissolves and then add salt and sugar. Transfer to a stand mixer, add 2/3 of the four, eggs and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Mix and add more flour as required. Knead the dough for at least ten minutes until it is very smooth and soft. You get the best results by kneading it on a stand mixer, but you can do it by hand as well.

Cinnamon bread

Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. This takes around 1-1½ hours.

Kanelbrød3

Meanwhile make the filling by mixing butter, sugar and cinnamon until soft. Grease a two liter loaf tin well with butter.

When the dough has risen transfer it to a surface covered with flour and shape into a rectangle about 30×40 cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough.

Cinnamon bread

Roll the dough firmly, turn the edges in underneath and place the cinnamon bread in the greased tin.

Cinnamon bread

With a pair of scissors cut deep into the bread from the top in a zigzag pattern and let the bread rise for 30 minutes.

Cinnamon bread

Turn on the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and bake the cinnamon bread for 30-40 minutes. If it starts getting too dark, cover it for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking time. Let the bread cool down in the tin for a bit and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Cinnamon bread

Make the icing by mixing icing sugar with water and then spread the icing over the bread.

Cinnamon bread

Serve the cinnamon bread in thick slices. It will keep for a day or two if covered up well, but it tastes best freshly baked.

Cinnamon bread

Delicious raspberry slices

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter as they are called in Danish are a classic in the pastry shops and bakeries in Denmark. They were invented in the 18th century and consist of a two thin cakes – usually made from shortcrust pastry – put together with raspberry jam and then iced. The mother of the painter Anna Anker popularized them in the 19th century when she was the proprietor of the famous Brøndums Hotel in Skagen in northern Denmark, where painters and poets used the gather. The story goes that the novelist H. C. Andersen would travel all the way to Brøndums Hotel to eat these particular raspberry slices – they were that good.

I remember as a child when my grandmother used to make them for me – I would sit on her kitchen table and eagerly wait for the icing to dry. To my childish and impatient mind it always seemed to take forever, but it was worth the wait. The crispy pastry, the sweet yet slightly sour raspberry jam and the thick layer of icing on top was perfection to me and my sweet tooth, and today I think it makes for a very nice treat for a cup of tea.

This variation is raspberry slices is made gluten free with oats and not wheat flour, but if you want to make them exactly like the classic then replace the pastry in the recipe with shortcrust pastry and cut half a portion into rectangles.

Raspberry slices
Makes 6-8 slices

300g oatmeal
150g butter
75g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 egg yolk

Raspberry jam
200g raspberries (frozen are fine)
125g caster sugar
Maybe a a squeeze of lemon juice
– or a glass of good quality raspberry jam

Also
150g icing sugar
Sprinkles or freeze-dried raspberries

Start by blending the oatmeal as fine as possible until it turns into relatively fine flour. Mix with icing sugar, vanilla and the butter. Work in the butter with the dry ingredients until the consistency is like course breadcrumbs.

Add the egg yolk and mix until it turns into a pretty firm dough. Let it rest in the fridge for half an hour.

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Roll the pastry thinly out as a rectangle and cut the pastry into smaller rectangles. I personally like a bit of a rustic look so I just cut them out by rule of thumb – something like 5cmx10cm.

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Place the pastry on baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius or until they are lightly golden. Let them cool down completely.

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Now for the jam. Place raspberries, sugar and a tiny splash of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and let it gently simmer while stirring regularly until it turns quite thick. It takes about 20-30 minutes. Taste the jam and if needed add a bit of lemon juice so the jam isn’t too sweet.

When the jam is cold spread a medium thick layer on one half of the pastries and place the other half on top.

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Make the icing from icing sugar mixed with a bit of water. Spread over the raspberry slices and sprinkle with freeze-dried berries or colourful sprinkles.

The raspberry slices should be kept in an airtight container and will keep for at least 2-3 days.

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Raspberry slices or hindbærsnitter - a classic Danish sweet treat

Easy shortcrust pastry for sweet tarts

Shortcrust pastry with rhubarb filling

Shortcrust pastry with an almond filling and caramelized nuts

In my world there are very few things that trump a freshly baked tart with crispy and flaky shortcrust pastry that melts on your tongue. Many people believe that it is hard to make shortcrust pastry and opt for the store-bought version, but making it yourself is actually quite straightforward, and the homemade version that doesn’t contain additives and is made with real butter tastes so much better than anything you can buy.

The key to success is to handle the pastry as little as possible and to cool it down before you bake it. It also helps using a pie dish with a loose bottom which makes it easier to transfer the pie to your serving plate. I personally love the pie dishes from Circulon as they are practically indestructible – trust me, I have tried! You can buy them here.

For most of the year I fill my pies with seasonal fruit, and in Denmark we are pretty lucky in this respect – in spring rhubarb is abundant, summer arrives with lots of sweet and ripe berries, and in autumn we have more plums, pears and apples than we can possibly eat. Wintertime calls for comfort and coziness and here a velvety chocolate filling is the perfect antidote to the long and dark Scandinavian winters.

Sweet shortcrust pastry
For two pie dishes 20cm in diameter

250g wheat flour
165g cold butter
1 medium egg
3 tablespoons of icing sugar
A pinch of salt
The seeds of half a vanilla pod

Cut the butter into cubes and mix with flour, icing sugar and salt. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until it reaches a consistency like breadcrumbs. This is best done with an electric mixer, but can also be done by hand. Just remember to work as fast as possible so the butter doesn’t begin to melt.

Shortcrust pastry

Carefully whisk the egg and add it to the butter and flour mix. Mix together fast, kneading the pastry as little as possible. It should just stick together. If you do it with a machine then let it run until the pastry is just about homogeneous and the press the pastry into a ball with your hands.

Shortcrust pastry

Cover the shortcrust pastry in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour. When the pastry has rested, roll it out with a bit more flour. Butter a 20 cm in diameter pie dish with a loose bottom making sure there is butter in every nook and cranny, and press the pastry into the dish. Be sure that there aren’t any air trapped between the bottom of the dish and the pastry.

Prick the pastry with a fork to allow air bubble to escape. Cover the dish in cling film and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking it.

Shortcrust pastry

If the filling for the pie needs to be baked then pre-bake the pastry for 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius or until it is a light golden colour, then add the filling and bake until the pie is done.

If the filling doesn’t require baking then bake the pastry for approximately 25 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius or until it is golden and crispy. Let it cool off completely before adding the filling.

Shortcrust pastry

This blog post contains an affiliate link which means that I get a small amount of money if you buy a pie dish – it is not something that makes be rich in any way, but it helps to cover some of the expenses connected with running Sofie’s Pantry.