Thursday, 29 December 2011
A Danish scent of cinnamon
First of all: a belated Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you had a good time eating, drinking, and dozing off. We cooked non-stop for almost a week and everything is now gone!
The cooking marathon though was only one of the reasons why I disappeared just before Christmas. We also went Copenhagen and soaked up its festive atmosphere and met up with my friend Mette of Italian Notes who cooked a wonderful Danish Christmas meal just for us! But more about this at my next post.
I had been to Copenhagen when I was very young and the only thing I could remembered was the Marmaid. It is a young and lively city which gets particularly glittering around Christmas. I was surprised though not to see as many markets. And no snow. But that "fairy tale" feeling was everywhere. I wish I had taken more pictures but I have realized that photography and freezing temperatures do not go well together.
The most distinctive characteristic of Copenhagen was certainly the intense smell of cinnamon that pervaded any station, shop and bakery. And that was instant Christmas. My favourite breakfast was a cup of chocolate and a Danish pastry.
There are of course, as always, disputes about the origins of these wonderful cakes. Some associated them with Sweden - although it would seem to me difficult to draw clear lines considering how close Malmo is to Copenhagen. Some also claim that they were originally crafted in Vienna but possibly by a Danish baker. Who knows! For sure they are lovely when just come out of the oven, warm and flaky.
First make the dough.
220ml warm water
15g fresh yeast
1 1/2 sea salt
500g pastry flour
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbs cinnamon powder
Melt the yeast in half of the warm water and then add the rest of the water.
In a separate bowl, mix in oil, sugar and salt. Add the yeast. Stir the flour and mix the cinnamon (small dose). Sift the flour and add to the wet mixture.
Knead for 10 minutes adding more flour if needed to bring to a bread dough texture, not sticky or too dry. Let it stand for 2 hours in a warm, draft-free place, covered with a clean towel.
Punch down and let stand for half an hour. Punch down once more and cut dough in half. On a floured board, roll into a 16″ x 20″ rectangle.
Mix cinnamon, 75g sugar and 100g raisins to make the filling Spread some oil or melted butter (25g) on the dough and sprinkle half of the filling mixture on top. Roll the dough up tight, from the longest side and cut into one inch pieces. Repeat with second half of the dough.
Lay pieces flat on a baking tray, leaving space in between each roll for rising. Cover and let rise for an hour in a draft-free place.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 25-35 minutes until golden-brown.
If you want you can also glazed them. I didn't. But if you really really feel the urge you can do it by mixing together 50g icing sugar, 100ml warm water and a drop of vanilla in a small pan on low heat. Stir until smooth. Drip glaze over the top of warm rolls and serve.