Big Prayer Day? Time for big rolls!

With Easter behind us, we are counting down to the strangest day on the Danish religious calendar. This Friday, 22 April, is Stor Bededag. ’Big Prayer Day’! Those crazy Danes decided back in 1686 that there were just too many religious holidays during the year. So they lumped the minor ones together, four weeks after Easter and – voilà – Stor Bededag was born. It’s an official holiday so Denmark will be ‘closed’ on Friday, and the kids are off school. It’s time to get out in the garden, work on a DIY project, make a trip to Tivoli Gardens or just chill at home. And eat big rolls! (More on that later in this post.) But many Danes will make a day trip to Sweden or Germany, where it’s business as usual and cash registers will be working overtime.

Big Prayer Day was traditionally a time to fast and pray.  And, though I’ve yet to meet a Dane who willingly goes to church (apart – selvfølgelig – from christenings and weddings), a lot of Danes will be attending church this Friday.  Not for regular church services but for confirmation ceremonies. Which was actually the case for us last year, when it was our son’s turn to go through this very traditional Danish rite of passage…

bededag

 

Want to know more about Danish confirmation and the traditional “Blue Monday” that follows it?  Then go read my post “When Blue Monday isn’t New Order!”

But the biggest tradition associated with Stor Bededag is eating hveder on Thursday night.  What are hveder?  Large, fluffy, pale, basic white bread rolls which you halve, toast and butter.  You’ll find them on sale at the bakers but be warned that – despite their modest ingredients – they don’t come cheap!

I gave up queuing for them at the bakers years ago and just buy the ready-made ones from the supermarket.  Best enjoyed warm with a nice cuppa!

After you’ve had your hveder, you’re supposed to go for a stroll around the city ramparts at Kastellet (Copenhagen Citadel).  You don’t live near Kastellet?  Well, sit back, relax and enjoy Denmark’s finest rock band, Magtens Korridorer singing about a picnic at the Citadel…  (If the guy pretending to sing in the video looks familiar, it’s Nicholas Bro, an actor who was in the The Killing (II) and Borgen. Oh! And let’s not forget the third season of Broen/Bron/The Bridge 😉

Picnic på Kastellet” (Picnic at the Citadel).

And me? I’m praying for some warmer weather. It has been exceptionally chilly (not to mention wet and windy) so far this spring, so we’re still waiting for everything to start blooming.

bededag2

God Stor Bededag!

Diane :)


A slice of Danish teatime (Great Dane-ish Bakes, Part One – Hindbærsnitter)

Okay, so you all must have guessed by now that I love Danish food.  I’ve got a series of posts on Danish comfort foods, plus another on Danish pastries/wienerbrød.  And now I’m starting a new one.  Great Dane-ish baked treats!  Woop, woop! 🙂

Today we start with…hindbærsnitter!  Literally “raspberry slices”.  We have a similar thing in Scotland called German (or Empire) biscuits.  Basically it’s two slices of shortbread, sandwiched with raspberry jam, then lots of lovely, lovely white icing on the top.  Here are some hindbærsnitter that we made ourselves.  Exhibit A.

And this is one we bought from the bakers.  Exhibit B.

They’re easy, peasy, lemon squeezy to make.  Ready to make them?  You’ll need:

  • 350g plain flour (12 oz)
  • 200g butter (7 oz) (be warned – margarine will NOT work!)
  • 150 g sugar (5 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • raspberry jam
  • icing sugar
  • sprinkles or, as I used, freeze-dried raspberries 

First of all, tip the flour and butter into a bowl.  Mash it together with a knife or a fork.

It should start to look like breadcrumbs.

Then add your sugar and egg, and work them in – the mixture will change colour slightly.

Use your hands to bring it into a ball.

Put the ball of dough into a plastic bag and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes (because we don’t want the dough to be too soft).

When it’s firmed up, roll it out between two sheets of baking paper – that way, it won’t stick to your rolling pin 😉  You’re aiming for a long log of dough.  Make sure it’s rolled out fairly thin.

Let the spreading begin!  Spread raspberry jam over the bottom half of your log.

Flip the top half over the bottom half, so you can’t see the jam.  Use the baking paper to help you, as it will be very floppy at this stage!

Use a fork or knife to squish down the top half to the bottom half.  We need to seal in the jam, so that it doesn’t leak out while cooking.  (Been there, done that…)

Bake in the oven at 175C (350f) for about 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it!  You want it just turning a pale golden colour, not dark.  And then let it cool off…  Before thoroughly smothering it with white icing and your choice of topping.

Who wants to lick the bowl?  Me, me, me! 😛

Then it’s time to put the kettle on, cut some nice slices, round up your friends or family and dig in. Velbekomme!  Bon appétit!

Diane 🙂