Fastelavn is a old tradition dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. Danes celebrate fastelavn aka the night before Lent. Fastelavn sunday is 49 days before Easter Sunday. In 2014 fastelavn will be celebrated on marts second.
Children will dress up and "slå katten af tønden" - the danish version of piñata, where you hit a wooden barrel filled with candy and fruit. The one that get the bottom to fall out will be crowned “kattedronning”, queen of cats, while the the person getting the last plank of the rope is crowned "kattekonge", King of cats. You might think that it would be hard to break the barrel, but they are made for different age ranges, so everyone has a chance.
The picture on the right shows me dressed as Little Red Ridinghood having a go at the barrel. My mom and brother is standing behind me to the left.
The children also get a fastelavnsris, a branch decorated with candy, black cats, masks and paper flowers.
This tradition is very similar to the American Halloween. The dressed up children walk door to door singing the song "Boller op, boller ned, boller i min mave, hvis jeg ingen boller får så laver jeg ballade" Buns up, buns down, buns in my stomach, if I get no buns, I’ll make trouble. Kinda like the trick or treat song: "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat! If you don't, I don't care. I'll pull down your underwear!" But unlike the American tradition the Danish children beg for small change and not candy.
Another tradition is fastelavnsboller, or fastelavns buns. There are different ways to make fastelavnsboller. You can make them from puff pastry or cream puffs and filling them after they are baked. Or you can make a simple yeast dough and fill it with a almond paste and/or vanilla custard. I'll make the later. I also add remonce as filling. Remonce is butter creamed with sugar and marzipan (almond paste).
Next year I'll make twice as much custard, because I ran out before I had filled all the fastelavnsboller. I made rolls with remonce from the leftover dough - not bad at all!!
- 200 g milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 3 egg yolks
- 25 g sugar
- 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 300 g all-purpose flour
- 14 g (2 packs fleischmann's) dry yeast
- 20 g sugar
- 100 g milk
- 1 egg
- 125 g butter (salted)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste
- 50 g butter room temperature
- 50 g sugar
- 50 g marzipan
- confectionary sugar
- cocoa or food color
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale in color. Whisk in the flour and vanilla paste.
Heat the milk to a slow boil, set aside. While whisking vigorously drizzle the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture, just a tiny bit at a time at first. Once you’ve added about 1/4 of the milk, you can add the rest in a thin stream, whisking constantly.
Pour the mixture back in the saucepan and reheat it over medium heat. Whisk constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat and chill the custard in a bowl in the refrigerator. Sprinkle with sugar or press a film of plastic wrap against the custard in the fridge so it doesn’t form a pudding skin.
Mix the sugar and marzipan well. Add butter little by little until it’s just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix or the remonce will be runny when baked.
Preheat oven to 400℉ (200℃).
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Just before all the butter is melted remove pan from heat and add the milk.
In a large bowl mix sugar and dry yeast. When the milk mixture is finger warm pour it in the bowl. Mix well and add vanilla paste, egg and salt. Mix in the flour a little at a time, you want the dough to be soft but nut sticky.
Kneed the dough on the kitchen counter until the dough id smooth and soft. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl for about 90 minutes until it doubled in size.
Divide the dough in two, roll each portion into a rectangle and divide it into 6 squares.
Put a tablespoon custard and a teaspoon remonce in the center of each square. Fold the four corners up to the center and press to seal all edges, letting the air inside escape. Put fastelavnsboller onto a parchment paper lined baking sheets with joint side down. Leave to rise covered for about 30 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake for about 10-12 minutes until golden. Let them cool on wire rack before decorating with chocolate or colored icing.
Heat the confectionary sugar over very low heat (this makes the icing set faster) add water and cocoa or food coloring.