For me, summer is Hornbaek, Denmark. My grandparents Bella and Oskar’s red summer house or Sommer Hus in Danish.
The corner garden, the beautiful big trees, especially the big red apple tree and that special part of the garden where my amazing grandfather Oskar, would plant sweet peas, berries and potatoes.
Every year new vegetables and berries would be planted and would grow. I can still remember the anticipation and excitement when they ripened and we actually got to pick and eat them, fresh from the garden. Especially the small potatoes that were white and a real delicacy just boiled in water, sprinkled with a hint of salt. What a treat.
For me, summers were about the family coming together and spending time together and about birthdays. So many of us are summer born.
The only TV I remember was the grownups getting together to watch Wimbledon. The cheering, the tension and the fun they had following their favorite players, well… as long as they won that is.
One house, 3 bedrooms filled with 3 families and a little tree house in the yard where my aunt and nephew stayed. Almost sounds like the setting for a really good book, but those were my summers.
Memories fresh like it all happened yesterday but the last time we spent our summers there, was more than 20 years ago.
Being there with my parents, sister, grandparents, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew meant everything. Walking down the hill to get to the sandy beach, strolling along the harbor at night, playing mini golf and playing outside long into the light summer nights.
Every summer we would help my grandfather, Oskar, pick apples from the tree and bring them to the juice producer close by. He would give us fresh squeezed apple juice in glass bottles, from apples such as ours. That was no doubt the tastiest apple juice I have ever had, till this day today.
My niece and I came by to taste….
Birthdays. I mentioned that birthdays were a big part of our summers in Hornbaek. We celebrated many birthdays while there and having my birthday in Hornbaek was magical.
I would wake up to a beautiful table decorated with tasty fresh rolls and yellow creamy Danish butter and cheeses. Always decorated with Danish flags. Red and White all over. It was a big day and at the head of the table beautifully wrapped gifts were waiting. Going to bed the night before was always the best moment of the summer, looking forward to the loving morning greeting awaiting.
But the best part of the birthday was my aunt Bente’s Kringle. Made only for birthdays and special events, Bente would work for hours preparing a real Danish Kringle treat made with flacky, sweet, delightful Danish pastry. Wienerbrød Kringle, filled with a lot of cinnamon and sugar and topped with half cut almonds.
Wienerbrød is truly pastry made with love. It takes time, patience and care for the dough. It demands the bakers’ full attention to detail and timing. Rolling out the dough, carefully spreading butter, folding, letting rest and doing it over and over again 3 times. Each time letting the dough cool and rest enough before rolling it out and adding the butter. This is not a pastry for a baker in a hurry but for the one who wants his loved ones to experience a real treat of flavor and flakiness.
Hornbaek meant everything to me. To place coins on the train track and make paper thin coins after the train passed, picking cherries from uncle Mulle and Aunt Solveigs’ backyard, playing with our next door neighbor kids and the beautiful tree I planted from a little branch that no one thought anything would come out of.
What I would give to pick apples with Oskar. To spend another sunny afternoon in Hornbaek with Bella and the whole family.
For now, what I can do is share the wonderful Wienerbrød Kringle with you.
500 g flour
1 teaspoon salt
60 grams sugar
50 grams yeast
25o m”l milk
300 grams butter for folding
Dissolve the yeast in the cold milk and 1 tbs. sugar, and set aside
Mix the dry ingredient together
Whisk the egg
Now, mix all the ingredients, except the butter, together to a nice flexible dough.
Roll the dough out to a rectangle 1/2 centimeter thick. Now look at it and vision it divided into 3 equal parts (do NOT cut the dough).
Spread 1/3 of the butter on 2/3 of the rectangle.
Fold the dough as following: first, the third without any butter onto the middle, then the remaining third on top. You are now left with a 3 layered square. Let rest and cool. You can wrap it in clear wrapping plastic and place it in the fridge for 30-45 minutes or leave on the kitchen counter in a cool place.
Repeat this at least two more times.
After the last rest, roll the dough out to a long rectangle, 12 cm (4.5 inch) high and as wide as you can. Put a lot of cinnamon and sugar and roll into a long roll.
The dough is now ready to be formed into a kringle.
let rest and rise for 30 minutes, brush with egg and half cut almonds.
Bake at 350F/180C until brown and ready.
Enjoy. This is a treat worth investing in perfecting. Don’t forget to let me hear from you.