So, tomorrow is Fastelavn in Denmark (and the other Nordic countries). Fastelavn has its roots in Catholicism; it would be celebrated as days of food and fun before starting a 40 day fast. People would stuff their faces with all of the foods that would soon be off limits. It also served as an outlet as everything was turned upside down; people would dress up as whatever or whoever they wanted to be, which meant that class became secondary, for just a brief moment. When Denmark became Protestant in 1536, the tradition of celebrating Fastelavn remained, even as the tradition of the fast fizzled out.
Today, Fastelavn has very little to do with religion, and more to do with cakes, sweets, kids dressing up and fastelavnstønder (the Danish equivalent to the piñata). Now, the cake part is important. All of February, bakeries all over Denmark will be stocked full of different types of freshly made fastelavnsboller (Fastelavn buns). These will either be round, flaky pastries split in half with flavoured whipped cream or, as you’ll see here, buns baked with delicious fillings and topped with icing.
Fastelavnsboller are a mandatory treat in February. The bread kind is filled with either remonce or pastry cream, and often both. You can also find jam in there, which is not as common, but equally delicious.
1 packet Active Dry Yeast (11 gram)
2.5 decilitres Warm Water
75 grams (Vegan) Butter
50 grams Cane Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
475-500 grams Wheat Flour
Combine the yeast, the water and a small spoonful of the sugar. Stir and leave for about 5 minutes until a foam forms. Meanwhile, melt the butter and let cool a bit. Mix the sugar, vanilla and salt with the butter and then add to the yeast. Mix and then add in the flour gradually. When it becomes too hard to mix, start kneading on your worktop for about 10 minutes. If the dough is a bit too sticky, add more flour a bit at the time. Place dough in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place.
THE PASTRY CREAM
50 grams Wheat Flour
2.5 decilitres Almond Milk
50 grams Cane Sugar
1 tablespoon (Vegan) Butter
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
Whisk together the flour and 1 deciliter of milk in a saucepan (not on the heat yet) until completely smooth. When smooth, place the saucepan on a medium heat and add in the remaining milk, the sugar, the butter and the lemon juice. Whisk regularly as the pastry cream thickens. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Now transfer the cream to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge.
50 grams Cane Sugar
50 grams (Vegan) Butter
50 grams Marzipan
Mix everything together. I like using a fork to break up the marzipan. The remonce does not need to be completely smooth, but try to make sure any lumps present aren’t too out of control.
125 grams Powdered Sugar
15 grams Cocoa Powder
2-3 tablespoons Water
Whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and then add in the water. Start with 2 tablespoons. If it’s too thick to mix, add another spoonful little by little until it comes together. The finished icing needs to be on the thicker side so it doesn’t run off the fastelavnsboller too much.
Preheat oven to 175° C / 350°F.
When the dough has rested, turn it out on your work surface and roll out to a large rectangle. Cut 12 squares with a knife. Place a teaspoon of remonce in the middle of each square followed by a teaspoon of pastry cream on top. Now close up the squares individually by folding two opposite corners to join in the middle, followed by the two remaining corners. Fiddle with the bun until it’s all closed up and round like a bread roll. Fold the bun over, so that the “seam” is on the bottom and the top is smooth. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for around 13 minutes or until golden on top. When the fastelavnsboller have cooled down, add a generous spoonful of icing over the top and enjoy!