Danish desserts are noteworthy for their variety and versatility all because of the unique ingredients that go into its preparation. Fruits like apples, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries are an integral part of their sweet dishes, not to forget the role of cereals like rice, oats, wheat, and groats. However, nothing can beat Denmark when it comes to its list of tasty cookies and biscuits mostly prepared during Christmas.
From puddings to biscuits, pancakes to pastries, you would get a combination of everything here to your delight.
What’s interesting about this dish is its name and preparation, none of which match with the other. It is a Danish pancake whose name translates to apple slices, though one will not find any trace of appple or applesauce in this platter. The modern version includes wheat flour blended with milk or cream, buttermilk, eggs, and sugar, alongside optional ingredients like lemon zest, jam, and cardamom. Toppings of maple syrup, whipped cream, butter, and powdered sugar enhance its taste to the fullest.
Fluffy, light, and crispy, they are not sweet on their own, but because of the strawberry, black currant, blackberry, or raspberry jam that go as accompaniments. A popular Christmas dessert, they are available frozen or fried in supermarkets and even sold on streets during winter.
Wienerbrød, famous as Danish pastry or just Danish, is a multi-layered dessert prepared from a yeast-leavened dough of flour, egg, sugar, and milk. Each layer is smoothened with thin slices of butter. The Danish pastry goes through an extensive preparation process of rolling, folding, buttering, and chilling. The final result is a mouthwatering dessert that is crispy outside and smooth and buttery within.
In Denmark, a whole lot of toppings go into the preparation of Danish pastry, including chocolate, nuts, pearl sugar, custard, remonce, and marzipan. They could also vary in shapes like circular, spiral, pretzel-like, or figure 8. Danish pastry is known worldwide, and each part differs from the other in preparing. In the United States, fruits and cream cheese go in as toppings. On the other hand, the UK version has jam, apricots, cherries, raisins, pecan, and almond between the layers, alongside cardamom seasonings for an added sweetness and aroma.
Rodgrod means red groats in English, getting its name from two primary ingredients: groats and the berries like raspberries, strawberries, and bilberries responsible for its red color. The thick, creamy pudding-like consistency is mostly achieved by adding potato starch to the mixture.
Toppings of whipped cream and vanilla ice cream help balancing the tart, acidic taste of the fruits, adding to its sweetness. Rodgrod has several color variations like the green ones known as Grune grutze are made from green rhubarb, gooseberries, apples, and kiwifruit. Blue gooseberries go into the preparation of the blue ones, while yellow gooseberries and bananas form the main ingredients for the yellow varieties.
Koldskal is a cold beverage primarily made with buttermilk, mostly consumed during summer. Its origination dates back to the early 20th century when buttermilk was commonly available in Denmark. The other ingredients involved in its preparation include sugar, egg, cream, vanilla, and even lemon that remain optional, though. Toppings of sliced strawberries add to its sweetness.
Traditionally crispy biscuits like tvebakker and kammerjunker went as accompaniments to complement its tartness.
Hindbærsnitter is a shortcrust pastry made by filling raspberry bars in between. The icing and sprinkles which serve as toppings gives it an enticing look. A common find in most Danish cake shops, the taste alters between tart, fruity and sweet. Similar to this dessert is the Alexandertorte of Latvia that also has raspberry preserves of jam as its filling.
Risalamande is a traditional rice pudding of Denmark mostly served during Christmas, as a part of the sumptuous dinner. Other ingredients that go in its making include whipped cream, chopped almonds, and vanilla. Eaten cold, the warm raspberry or cherry sauce scattered on top gives the dish a bright, colorful appearance, and a refreshing taste. After the Second World War, it became increasingly popular because of the ingredients’ easy availability, mainly whipped cream, and the dish’s long shelf life. Rich and creamy, the addition of the raspberry or cherry sauces gives it a sweet-tart taste.
The perfect way to describe pebernodder is a tasty treat in a small package. They are tiny, spice cookies loaded with nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, anise, and mace. Besides Denmark, they are famous in other countries, like the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, known by various names like pepernoten and pfeffernüsse.
Often teamed with tea, coffee, or cocoa, these light brown cookies are crispy and spicy. Though eaten all-year-round, they are primarily prepared during the Christmas season and have been in existence since 1500.
Kanelsnegle, as called in Denmark, famous as cinnamon roll or cinnamon bun worldwide is primarily made from cinnamon. The other ingredients that go into its preparation include flour, butter, sugar, and even raisins in some versions. It is known by a host of other names in different countries like skillingsboller in Norway and korvapuusti in Finland. Its length also differs from one region to another, being as small as 5 cm or as big as about 10cm.
Soft, buttery, and flaky, with sweetness at its best, cinnamon’s earthy aroma remains evident in every bite.
Drommekage is a soft sponge cake made using all-purpose flour, milk, butter, baking powder, sugar, and vanilla beans. Butter and caramelized coconut go as toppings. Drommekage translates to a “dream cake” in English, which aptly suits its rich, soothing flavor that seems like a “dream” to many. This soft sponge cake has all-purpose flour, milk, butter, sugar, and vanilla beans as its primary ingredients.
The vanilla essence attributes to its sweet, smoky taste, while the caramelized coconut enhances its nuttiness. Popular since the 1960s it finds its place among Denmark’s famous Christmas desserts.
Known as fastelavnsboller in Denmark, this is a sweet roll, also well-known in several other countries, including Finland, Iceland, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, and Estonia. Sold in most Danish bakeries mostly during the time of Shrove Monday, this dessert is prepared from puff pastry with fillings of whipped cream and a topping of icing or jam. The homemade versions could vary slightly, mostly made by combining yeast dough with raisins and candied peels. Its taste varies from sweet to smooth, with every bite of it melting in your mouth at an instant.
It is a round cake arranged in layers of two or three, with each one of them filled with cream, fruit preserves, or fruits. The rich decorations of whipped cream and fresh fruits surrounding the cake give it a splendid appearance altogether. Commonly served at birthday parties and other special occasions, it has a spongy texture, with creaminess and sweetness prevailing all over. You can have it just like that or team it with a cup of tea, coffee, or juice.
Risengrod, a rice pudding, is an absolute replica of risalamande sans the whipped cream and almonds and is also served hot, unlike the latter. Prepared by cooking rice in water and milk, the platter attains a thick, creamy consistency as the rice is stirred vigorously. The addition of cinnamon, butter, and vanilla essence as garnishes gives it a distinct aroma. It is a sought-after holiday dish in Denmark, mostly eaten on Christmas Eve. At the same time, the leftovers are mostly prepared into risalamande and eaten cold.
A myth in Danish folk culture circulates regarding risengrod, stating that it was a preferred dish of nisse, a Christmas elf. Hence people usually keep a serving of risengrod in a bowl and place it in a loft or barn for the nisse.
Denmark has many delicious desserts lined up for Christmas, and jodekager is one among them. They are crispy cookies prepared with flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, given an eggwash brushing before going into the baking tray.
Toppings of cinnamon, sugar, and almonds intensify its taste and appearance. The moment you bite on to it, the smooth, buttery, nutty cookie would delight you to the fullest. It is alternately referred to as Jewish cookies since the Jews bakeries made and sold them on a large scale during the 18th century.
Æblekage or apple cake closely resembles a crumble or trifle. The dish’s name is as unique as its presentation, mostly served in decorative glasses or bowls. Crumbled cookies or breadcrumbs form the base, with cinnamon-spiced applesauce infused in between the layers. A layer of whipped cream enveloping the top intensifies its deliciousness. Mostly eaten cold, its taste is a fusion of everything from crunchy to creamy, sweet to tart.
This is not a single dish but a name given to a group of Danish cookies varying from each other in shape, taste and consistency. Mostly prepared from wheat flour, the ingredients that go into their making include chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, marzipan, flavorings, etc. Though eaten throughout the year, their demand is at peak during Christmas, mostly arranged in decorative boxes and given away as presents.
This is a sweet Danish biscuit having wheat flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and eggs as its main ingredients, kneaded to a dough. It is rolled to prepare a log, baked, then sliced, and finally baked again to get a crispy cookie as the final result. Flavorings of cardamom, lemon zest, and vanilla give a tinge of fruitiness, tartness, and sweetness to these crunchy biscuits. Besides eaten plain, one can team them with koldskal for a refreshing feel.
One more addition to the Danish cookies list, this one stands unique because of its small round shape. It achieves its soft, buttery texture due to the addition of butter to the all-purpose flour while preparing the dough. While the addition of almonds makes it nutty and crunchy. Not to forget the dab of vanilla essence, giving it a sugary, caramel-like flavor. Come December, and most Danish homes get on to baking these cookies for the Christmas season.
Flodeboller or marshmallow puffs smeared in chocolate are common in confectionary shops and supermarkets, mostly eaten on birthdays or special occasions. Initially, cream was used to fill the buns giving them the name “cream buns,” later replaced with egg whites. They even go as an excellent topping for ice creams, thus found in most shops selling the same. Of late, they are sold like hot cakes in Denmark, with about 800 million of them produced yearly. Besides the regular ones, luxury versions have also come up where the chocolate has a thicker layer and a better quality. The biscuit, which serves as a base for the flodeboller, is replaced with marzipan. While a whole lot of toppings from nuts to cream are also added. The taste is sure to delight all as it is nutty, creamy, and crunchy,
This is a delicious pudding with rhubarb as its main ingredient alongside water sugar, and cornstarch. The dish is red because of the rhubarb, while some even prefer adding food coloring for a brightened effect. The addition of whipped cream as a topping would help counteract the dish’s overall tartness.
Best Traditional Danish Desserts: Risalamande, Wienerbrød, Koldskål
Best Christmas Danish Desserts: Æbleskiver, Risalamande, Drommekage
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