Sunday, January 23, 2011

D is for Denmark: Home to Pork and Pastries

Did anyone ever notice there are only four countries that begin with the letter “D” ( try to name then all)? I chose Denmark on accident.  See, when I chose Denmark I thought they were my boyfriends favorite soccer team…alas, it’s Holland and not Denmark that is home to the bright orange jerseys (I told you I was bad at geography).  The first thing that popped into my head when I think Denmark are those delicious, delicious, but soo not nutritious danishes. I had almost convinced myself that I wanted to them, until Chef Laura (the women I volunteer with every Friday) told me that it is basically is one of the hardest things to make because of the long process of kneading large amounts of butter into the dough. I wanted to stick to making a dessert because I am awful at baking and wanted to practice that skill. So, while searching google for a recipe, I came across a blog called My Danish Kitchen. Gitte, the writer, is a Danish women living in the U.S., and she was nice enough to teach me all about Danish food.

Denmark is a small peninsula located in the cold northern part of Europe. Danish Cuisine naturally reflects its cool and moist climate, producing high quantities of potatoes, rye, grains, berries, and dairy products. Its proximity to the water also makes fish a staple in Danish cuisine. Gitte told me that “Denmark was know as a meat and potatoes country but the modern Danes have managed to turn it into a fine cuisine with focus on healthy ingredients”.  Pork is the most popular meat in Demark.  Not only are Danes the largest exporter of pork they also eat the most pork per capita in the world! Pork is consumed in the forms of post roasts, pork tenderloins, ground pork, smoked and salted pork, and of course, Danish bacon. Cardamom, a spice I have yet to play with, is a widely used spice found in many recipes, and it is what gives Danish cuisine a unique flavor.  

The most well know dish is Smørrebrød, which is basically an open-faced sandwich. Traditional Smørrebrød, which means butter and bread, starts with buttered rye bread (fun fact: the Danes eat 8.5 million slices of rye bread every day!), then cheese is added, and it is finally topped with many different food items such as liver pate, various cold cuts, fish and vegetables. Gitte said that when it comes to Smørrebrød it is important to pick ingredients that compliment each other. Smørrebrød is then normally served with Danish beer and/or snaps (a small shot of a strong alcoholic beverage). In case you were as curious as me to know how to pronounce Smørrebrød then click this here 

I can’t write a blog about Denmark without writing about Danish pastries!! The famous danish pastry is wienbrød, which is mostly commonly recognized as a danish. Wienbrød is translated as “Vienna Bread”, as an Austrian baker created the first wienbrød in Denmark around 1840. Other popular desserts include Hindbærsnitter,  two pieces of pastry that is sandwiched together with a generous amount of seedless raspberry preserves and then topped off with glaze and sprinkles, and Napoleon hats, almond-filled pastries are shaped like three- cornered hats.

Have I convinced you to buy a plane ticket to Denmark yet? Well when you do purchase that expensive ticket Gitte recommends, “that you rent a bicycle and explore the countryside of Denmark, maybe take a ferry and visit one of the many smaller islands. If you’re up for a longer trip then I would highly recommend visiting Bornholm which is an island east from Copenhagen. It is a hidden gem, which is quaint, and with fantastic nature that is very different from the rest of Denmark. If you are in one of the bigger cities you must experience one of the walking streets, no cars allowed. You park your car and off you go to do some shopping, walking and perhaps sit down at a cafe for a light snack and a beer. Many of these walking streets are cobblestone and because there are no cars allowed it is a quiet and almost romantic shopping experience plus you get some exercise. Finally, one thing that you would have to eat is some real Danish pastry from a local bakery, which are found everywhere.” 

Thanks to Gitte for providing me with so much useful information about Denmark, I am ready to go eat some wienbrød and bacon! Photos of the desserts are courtesy of her blog, Check it out and try the dozens of recipes listed there.


This week I took a shot at making a dessert, which was a stretch for me because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I’m awful at making desserts. It was three of my sorority sister’s birthdays so I decided to take a whack at for them (yes I am an awesome sister).  It took me two attempts, and a whole lot of running around to actually make Kiksekage (Chocolate Biscuit Cake) with an amaretto whipped cream. The first time I attempted to make it my dear friend Helen came to help, and as soon as she left it all went down hill…. I wanted to make more chocolate but I messed up my math (figures…) and it came out too liquidly, and didn’t firm up. Round Two: I temporarily don’t have a car so the second time around I had to beg my sorority sister Nakeshia to take me to the store. We are so goofy together that it took us forever to get ingredients. To my dismay I did not buy enough chocolate chips! I braced myself for the cold Ohio weather and trekked it all the way to Giant Eagle just for some chocolates…okay I got some stuffed olives too (I couldn’t resist) The final result was okay. It tasted delicious, and I was super proud of my whipped cream, but I think I made it with way too much chocolate, and it wasn’t as pretty as I hoped. Below I am going to give the recipe which well make less chocolate than I originally made so yours comes out better.  This recipe is readily easy to make and would be perfect for parties! Enjoy.


  •  3 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 16 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 7 oz of butter biscuits (not the breakfast biscuits they use in the U.S, but cookies, I found some at World Market)
  • 2 tbsp amaretto 
  • a few sliced almonds 

*a 9x5 bread pan is needed for this recipe.
  1. Line a 9 x 5  in. bread pan with parchment paper so that all sides are covered.
  2.  Pour  2 1/2 cups of whipping cream and 1 1/2 confectioners sugar in to a small pot, stirring occasionally bring to a slow simmer. 
  3. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips. Stir the mixture until shiny and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
  4. Cut butter into small pieces and add to chocolate mix, stir until completely melted. Place mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool. 
  5. While waiting for the chocolate to cool begin making the whipping by combining the leftover powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream and amaretto in and bow and whisk until thick. This step can take a while and might make your arm tired. Put in fridge once its done.
  6. Get the chocolate from the fridge and cover the bottom of your pan with chocolate, then place a layer of biscuits, repeat chocolate, biscuit, ending with a layer of chocolate. Sprinkle almonds on top.
  7. Cover the top of chocolate saran wrap and place in the freezer overnight. 
  8. The following day gently and slowly lift the cake out of the bread pan. Place cake on a  plate and slowly peel off parchment paper. 
  9. Top with amaretto whipped cream and enjoy.     

Jasmine loves Kiksekage


  1. Stephanie,
    Thanks for your exciting posts. They are very informative. I look forward to reading more:-)


  2. OMG I just found your blog again. Several months ago my computer crashed and I lost your link. You did an excellent job writing about Denmark and your Kiksekage looks delicious. Super post!! Can't wait to read more of your posts :)