Buns with Vanilla Crème – Fastelavn

Sunday is the Day the Danes celebrate  Fastelavn -fat Tuesday in English. Forty days before Easter, on  the eve of Lent, Danish children dress up in costumes. One traditional event is to hit a barrel filled with candy, apples and oranges. The tradition originated in Holland around the 15th century. In the Middle Ages, cats were superstitiously considered to be a symbol of evil, and instead of candy, a live cat was put inside the barrel. The children would then beat against the barrel until it fell apart, at which point the cat escaped and ran away. The idea was to chase away any evil spirits before spring planting. The Danes stopped this tradition around 1880 and nowadays the person who breaks open the barrel is the “Queen of Cats” and the last stick of wood is down, that person is the “King of Cats”. ” After beating on the barrel, the children go from house to house singing: “Fastelavn (Fat Tuesday) is my name, buns are what I want. If I don’t get buns, I’ll make trouble. Buns up, buns down, buns in my tummy. If I don’t get buns, I’ll make trouble.” Years ago, the children would get buns, but now people give them money. On this occasion, Danes of all ages eat custard or crème buns, locally called “fastelavnsboller”. Now mom and dads and grandmothers give the children Buns with Vanilla Crème.


My grandchildren, five girls.                 When the last stick of wood is down,  the king and queen are crowned.































Buns with Vanilla Crème

Makes 10-12 buns

1 lb. (444 g) flour,

3 tbsp . sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cardamom

1 oz, (30 g) fresh yeast or 3 tps. (9 g) dry active yeast

1 cup (8 fl. oz.) milk

1 egg

2 tsp. sugar

12 oz . (360 g) butter

Sugar paste: 

4  oz. (20 g) butter

3 oz.  (90 g)sugar

Vanllla  Crème:

1 egg yolk,

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. flour

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz,)milk

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup whipping creme

To make buns, sift flour and mix with sugar, salt and cardamom. . Dissolve the yeast in half of the milk. Add yeast, the rest of the milk. If using dry active yeast, sprinkle on milk that’s between 100-110 ° F and wait to see small bubbles, about 10 minutes.   and the beaten egg to the flour and sugar. Beat until smooth.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 cm (½ inch). Spread small pieces of butter on 2/3 of the dough. Fold together into three layers like folding a napkin, first part without butter. Roll out and fold again. Repeat three or four times. Leave in a cold place for 30 minutes.

To make crème,  beat the egg yolk with sugar, flour and milk. Cook over very low heat while beating the whole time until thick. Remove from the heat and add vanilla extract; then cool, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 445°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. Spread with a paste made of butter and sugar. Cut into squares of 4×4 inches. Place filling of vanilla creme in the middle, fold corners to the center, forming dough as a ball and place upside down on a greased baking sheet. Leave in a cold place to rise 15-20 minutes, then brush with egg white and bake 10 minutes.

To assemble, when the buns are cool, cut half way around the middle. Fill whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe  the cream into the buns.

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