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

Strawberry tart – a taste of summer

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

I always use some of the wonderfully sweet summer strawberries we have in Denmark during June, July and the beginning of August for a strawberry tart with chocolate, almonds and a thick vanilla custard. It is probably my favourite summer treat and is perfect both as a sweet accompaniment for an afternoon cup of coffee or as a beautiful centerpiece dessert at a dinner party.

I will not lie, this is a relatively time consuming tart as you have make the shortcrust pastry, the almond filling and the vanilla custard, but all the components themselves are relatively easy to make. And when you take the first bite of your homemade strawberry tart and taste the crispy pastry with its dense almond filling combined with the silky, vanilla perfumed custard, the slightly bitter chocolate and the sweet ripe strawberries then you know exactly what summer heaven tastes like.

Strawberry tart
For 6 people

Half a portion of shortcrust pastry
500g strawberries (preferably organic)
75g dark chocolate (70%)
4 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly (or any other sweet red jelly)

Almond filling
150g marzipan
100g soft butter
100g golden cane sugar
2 eggs
50 wheat flour
The seeds of half a fat, good quality vanilla pod

Custard
3 egg yolkes
2dl fullfat milk
50g golden cane sugar
The seeds of the other half of the vanilla pod
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 sheets of gelatin (4 grams in total)

Start by making the shortcrust pastry. When it has been in the freezer then pre-bake it for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius until slightly golden.

Meanwhile make the almond filling. Knead the marzipan with sugar and vanilla and add the butter little by little until the mix is homogeneous. Mix in the eggs in one at a time and then finally add the flour. If the mass starts to split then add a bit of the flour between the eggs.

Pour the almond filling into the pre-baked tart shell.

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

Bake the tart for another 15-20 minutes until the filling has set and is golden. Chop the chocolate very fine and divide on the hot tarte filling so it melts. If it doesn’t spread on its own then help it along with a spoon until the filling is covered.

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

For the custard start by soaking the gelatin in lots of cold water for ten minutes (or follow instructions on the package). Mix the rest of the ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and bring it to a boil while continually whisking. Let is gently boil for a couple of minutes until it has thickened quite a bit.

Strawberry tart with almonds, vanilla custard and chocolate

Remove the pot from the stove. Squeeze most of the water from the gelatin and then melt it in a pan over low heat with the little water still clinging to it. Mix carefully into the still warm custard. Cover it with clingfilm and let it cool down completely. The custard should be very thick, but that is the intention.

Put the custard on the cold tart with filling. Hull and half the strawberries and arrange them neatly on top of the cusard. Melt the redcurrant jelly in a saucepan over low heat and brush it evenly onto the strawberries.

Serve the tart for some very lucky guest!
Jordbærtærte, færdig1, august 2013

Lemon chicken with crunchy summer greens

Lemon chicken with crunchy summer greens

Lemon chicken with crunchy summer greens

I don’t really know if this dish is particularly Scandinavian, but to me it tastes like Danish summer on a plate. I always make my lemon chicken with locally grown produce, so I think it counts as a Danish dish.

I love the combination of chicken and lemon especially combined with all the freshest summer vegetables you can find. You can vary the greens according to what is in season and what you most fancy, but the chicken is mandatory and in my opinion it has to be organic or at the very least free range – in a dish as simple as this a good quality chicken is essential. I will not hide the fact that I am very much in favour of organic produce – both because I like to know that the animals I prepare and eat have been treated well, have felt the sunshine and have not been force fed antibiotics, and also because organic produce usually taste better.

Lemon chicken
Serves two hungry people

Two whole (organic) chicken thighs skin on
1 large tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1-2 lemons
300g green asparagus
8 freshly harvested thin carrots
A couple of handfuls of newly shelled peas
A couple of handfuls of sun-ripe tomatoes
1dl white wine
Lots of fresh basil
Olie for frying

Start by preparing the vegetables. Bend the asparagus until the wooden ends break off and cut the spears into chunks. Clean the carrots and cut them in half on the long side if they are not quite thin, but don’t peel them if they are fresh and delicious – and organic. Shell the peas and give the tomatoes a good rinse.

Lemon chicken with crunchy summer greens

Divide the chicken thighs into upper and lower thighs. Mix together mustard, salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice and pour over the chicken.

Heat a glug of oil in a good sized frying pan that can survive a trip in your oven. Brown the chicken thoroughly and add the carrots. Take the pan of the heat and squeeze in the juice of 1 or 2 lemons depending on how lemony you like your dish to be.

Lemon chicken with crunchy summer greens

Put the frying pan in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

After 10 minutes add the asparagus and the white wine and give it another 15 minutes. After 25 minutes in the oven in total add the tomatoes and give it 10 more minutes. The chicken should be about ready after 35-40 minutes. Mix in the peas and the basil the last 3-4 minutes of the cooking time.

Serve the dish as it is and don’t forget to pour over the lovely lemony juice from the bottom of the pan – or serve with new boiled potatoes, pearl barley or a nice crispy green salad.

Lemon chicken with crunchy summer greens

Homemade strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Jordbærrabarbersaft, færdig3, juli 2013

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

On a warm summer’s day there is nothing better than a cold glass of something sweet and fruity. In Denmark we make lots of “saft” which best translates into cordial or squash – a thick and strong fruit drink that is diluted with (sparkling) water. We have so many strawberries in summer that there is no way we can eat them all so we have come up with all sorts of ways to preserve the fresh summer fruit for later on in the year when summer is long gone and making cordial out of them is a good way.

This strawberry and rhubarb cordial is easy to make and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or almost indefinitely in the freezer – this way you can have a sip of summer in the cold winter months. The cordial is also great for making sorbets and cocktails.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial
Makes 3-4 liters of undiluted cordial

4kg very ripe strawberries
1,5kg rhubarb
2,5l water
2-3 organic lemons
5dl golden caster sugar or to taste
2 vanilla pods
If you happen to have fresh elderflower then put in some of those too

Additionally
Bottles with tight fitting lids for 3-4 liters of cordial

Clean the strawberries and rhubarb, cut them into smaller pieces, and put the fruit in a pot large enough to contain it all. Cut open the vanilla pods, scrape out the seeds and mix well with a deciliter of sugar – this makes it easier for the vanilla to dissolve in the cordial. Put the sugar and the empty vanilla pods in the pot together with the peel and juice from two lemons.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Pour enough water into the pot to almost cover the fruit – I used around 2,5 liters.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Let it gentle simmer until the fruit is very soft – this will take about 45-60 minutes. Mash the fruit so it becomes a think porridge like consistency. Add sugar and perhaps more lemon to taste – how much depends on the ripeness of the fruit and personal preference, but I usually add around 4dl of sugar and maybe half a lemon. Let the fruit sit until completely cool or preferable keep it overnight in the fridge to draw out as much taste as possible. Taste the fruit again and adjust with lemon and sugar if needed.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Pick out the vanilla pods and the lemon peel and strain the fruit. If you would like a clear liquid then pass the fruit through a thin muslin cloth. If you – like me – don’t care (it doesn’t affect the taste) than just pass it through a fine mesh sieve and let all the juice run through. It takes a bit of time, but you can help the process along with a spoon and a bit of patience. The leftover fruit can be eaten on bread, put in muffins or eaten on top of your morning cereal.

Sterilize the bottles for the cordial – if you are unsure of the process then here is a good guide. Pour the cordial into the sterilized bottles and keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or in the freezer for up to a year. Remember to use plastic bottles if you are planning on freezing the cordial.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

The cordial is quite strong so it is best to thin it with (sparkling) water – use one part cordial to one part water or to taste. Serve the cordial with lots of ice, slices of lemon and perhaps even some fresh berries. It also works very well in a glass of sparkling wine as a fruity summer drink.

Strawberry and rhubarb cordial

Rhubarb dessert with skyr cream and hazelnut crunch

Rhubarb dessert

Rhubarb dessert with skyr cream and hazelnut crunch

Rhubarb heralds the coming of spring and is a stable of the Danish spring and summer kitchen. We use it both for savory and sweet dishes, and it is probably my favourite fruit. I love the pretty pale pink colour and the sweetly sour taste. It tastes of my childhood summers where my childhood friend Freja and I – somewhat to her mother’s  irritation – would pluck the fresh rhubarb stems right of ground in their kitchen garden and eat them raw dipping each bite in a cup of sugar.

This dessert is a variation of the Danish summer classic ”rødgrød med fløde” literally red compote or porridge with cream” – a kind of very thick fruit soup made from red berries and served with fresh cream. It is a very practical dessert as the rhubarb and the crunch can be made in advance and then assembled with the cream just before serving.

You can use frozen fruit if you cannot get it fresh, but the taste will not be quite the same. Skyr is a Icelandic kind of low fat, but incredibly tasty and very thick yogurt. If you cannot get it, it can be replaced with Greek yogurt.

Rhubarb dessert with skyr-cream and hazelnut crunch

Compote of rhubarb and strawberries
600 grams of rhubarb
300 grams of very ripe strawberries
½ deciliter of water
The seeds of a pod of vanilla
1-1½ deciliter of caster sugar – to taste
1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of water

Hazelnut and oat crunch
1,5 deciliter of hazelnut flour (very finely ground hazelnuts)
1,5 deciliter of rolled oats (not too thinly cut)
1,5 deciliter of caster sugar
½ deciliter of wheat flour
60 grams of butter

Skyr cream
2,5 deciliter whipping cream (38% in Denmark)
3 heaped tablespoons of skyr or other thick yoghurt

Clean the rhubarb and hull the strawberries. Cut the rhubarb into think slizes and quarter the strawberries. Place the fruit in a pot with the water, vanilla and the sugar – hold back ½ a deciliter to taste later.

Fruit for rhubarb compote

Let the compote boil gently without a lid for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. It should not be too sweet if you ask me, but this is a matter of preference. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water and add to the fruit while constantly stirring. Let the compote boil for another few minutes – keep stirring. When it has thickened a bit take it off the heat, cover it in cling film, and let it cool completely. When cold the consistency should be like a very think soup.

Rhubarb and strawerry compote

For the hazelnut and oats topping mix, all the ingredients until the texture is like very coarse breadcrumbs.

Hazelnut and oat crunch

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius or until crisp and golden.

Hazelnut and oat crunch

When you are reading to serve the dessert, whip the cream and then carefully fold in the yogurt. Assemble in glasses with the compote in the bottom, a generous dollop of skyr cream and plenty of crunch on top.

Rhubarb dessert with skyr cream and hazelnut crunch