27 February 2011

Heavenly Sweet Carnival Buns!

(Note: adjustments made for types of yeast used)

Because Fastelavn* is just around the corner and my back pain has kept me out of the usual food blogging loop, I am going to share this wonder recipe for heavenly sweet carnival buns /  hellige fastelavnsboller by Danish Food Blogger Mira Arkin (Miras Madblog) instead of reposting my own recipe again.  This recipe comes from her mother-in-law Marit whom her husband  swears makes the most super tasty one’s he has ever enjoyed. Well, any woman who has enough courage to try and make what a husband considers the best of his mother’s recipes deserves translation to a new audience.  Thus, this recipe comes to you with Mira’s little tweaking of her mother-in-law’s recipe with little translated changes by me.

Since I believe the more carnival buns / fastelavnsboller recipes the better, here is her heavenly recipe for you all to prepare and share.  Enjoy!

 mira arkin_fastelavnsboller

Danish Carnival Sweet Buns with Marzipan and Apples

‘Fastelavnsboller med æble og marcipan’

Serves 20

INGREDIENTS / Ingredienser

BUNS / boller

English Metric   ENGLISH DANSK
3-3/8 c 375 g   flour hvedemel – måske mere
2/3 c 150 g   cold butter, cut into cubes koldt smør skåret i tern
1 tsp 1 knsp.   fine salt fint salt
1/3 c 75 g   sugar sukker
* *   yeast* gær *
9 tbsp 1½ dl.   milk mælk
1 1   egg æg

*  Special note:

      For Cake Yeast , use 25g

      For Active Dry Yeast, use about one packet (10g)

      For Instant Dry Yeast, use about one packet (8g)

  FILLING / fyld

English Metric   ENGLISH DANSK
7/8 c 200 g   marzipan marcipan
2 lbs 1 kg   apples æbler
1/3 c 75 g   sugar sukker
1/2 1/2   vanilla bean stang vanilje


1: Crumble the butter into the flour as you would do it for a short pastry. I do it in the bowl for my mixer, which I then use to knead the dough for me as well. Mix sugar and salt in.

2: Warm milk. I pop it in the microwave. Make sure that you do not boil the milk as the yeast does not like it too hot. Dissolve yeast in the warm milk. Stir in the egg and pour into the flour mixture.

3: Mix the dough together in a mixer or by hand. Knead thoroughly for 5-10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.

4: While the dough is rising make the apple purée. Peel apples, remove core and slice apples into smaller pieces and place in a deep pan. Add sugar and  split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds into the apple/sugar mixture. Make sure to mix the apples with the vanilla and finally, add the pod to the mix. Cover the pot with a lid and let the apples cook down over medium heat. Once the apples have cooked down a bit, roughly mash them a bit with a fork. It doesn’t matter that it’s a little rough. (You don’t want apple sauce). This takes approx. 10 minutes. Let bog cool down before using it.

mira arkin_fastelavnsboller apples

5: Turn the dough  onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a large rectangle of approx. 4 mm. thick. Cut into 18-20 squares - use a pizza wheel.

6: Cut the marzipan into 20 slices and set aside. Now place 2 tsp. applesauce first followed by 1 slice of marzipan in the middle of each piece of the dough. Gather the corners and squeeze the dough together (see picture below) to seal. Be careful not to gather too much dough as that will make a very thick bottom.  There should also be no cracks in the ball of dough. Otherwise,  the filling will run out during baking. If there are hole(s) in the dough, simply patch it with an extra blob of dough that you just moisturize with a little water so it will glue to the rest. Now place the rolls with the gathered seam-side down on 2 baking sheets with wax paper and let them rise for another 25 minutes while you heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (this is shy of 400 degrees Fahrenheit).

mira arkin_fastelavnsboller dough

7:  Bake buns for 15-20 minutes until they are nicely browned. Decorate with chocolate chips or good quality chocolate while the buns are warm.  Let them cool on a wire rack. Of course, these taste best warm.

Buns can be frozen after they have cooled down.


Enjoy more recipes by Mira Arkin...in Danish here at her food blog:

Miras Madblog


*Fastelavn is the name for Carnival in Denmark which is either the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday. Fastelavn evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark became a Protestant nation, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games. (Wikipedia: Carnival in Denmark).

Fastelavn is pronounced Fas-tuh-lown.


Old scene from the traditional Fastelavn game of ‘beating the barrel’.  In medieval times, a live cat was placed inside while children beat on the barrel until it broke allowing the cat to escape. The cat was then chased out of town taking all the collective bad luck and evil spirits with it.

Today, a cat is no longer used and the barrel is similarly filled with candies and treats like a Mexican piñata and only decorated to look like the cat that once hid inside.  The child who finally breaks the barrel open is crowned ‘the King or Queen of Cats’ and given a golden crown to wear.

And of course, the wonderful sweet pastry treat every child receives is a Fastelavnsboller…one of these heavenly sweet buns!


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