Danish Holiday Cheer in Del Ray: SKÅL!
Katie and I stopped by Rachel and Christoffer’s Del Ray home to see their traditional Danish holiday decorations and look on as Rachel made Scandinavian mulled wine and sweet treats.
Their craftsman bungalow has the clean, uncluttered style that’s typical in Danish homes, making the glowing festive holiday tree, greenery, and advent candles even more captivating. We left with warm bellies full of mulled wine and holiday cheer or as it’s know in Denmark, hygge!
Danish Christmas Tree
Rachel and Christoffer decorate their live Christmas tree with traditional paper hearts and the paper cones that they fill with small gifts for their three young children.
In Denmark, the Christmas trees are usually Firs with longer needles and more defined shelf-like layers, so that instead of stringing lights, they can safely burn candles. Rachel hangs the traditional candle holders, but she won’t light them.
How lucky we were to receive an invitation to watch Rachel make these amazing æbleskivers, a cross between a doughnut and a pancake.
Rachel gave us a step-by-step lesson. Here are the ingredients:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 T butter, melted
- 2 cups of buttermilk
- 3 eggs, separated
- 2 T sugar
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
First, Rachel beat the egg whites to make firm peaks. In another bowl, she beat the egg yolks and sugar, and added all remaining ingredients except for the egg whites. She beat the mixture until smooth. Then, she folded in the egg whites until well-blended.
She uses a special pan called an æbleskive-pan, anglicized as ebelskiver, which you can buy in the States at Williams-Sonoma.
She heated the pan on the stove, melted a bit of butter in each section, and then added about 2 tablespoons of the batter to each section.
She added dollop of jam to each one and then added more batter over the filling. You can also fill them with apples, cheese, or anything else really. The kids love Nutella in theirs!
She cooked them until slightly brown on the bottom and then turned each one carefully with toothpicks.
When a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean, she placed them on a plate and served them with a bit of jam and powdered sugar on top.
Often, these are made in batches of about 3 dozen or more. They’re meant to be eaten in great quantities. They’re just so delicious. The kids gobbled up their sample serving in no time.
A cup of hot mulled wine, or glögg, is the perfect accompaniment to the æbleskivers for the grown-ups. In delicate Danish ceramic mugs, Rachel gave us a serving of the traditional warm red wine that she heated with almonds and raisins.
For each serving, she added a spoonful of the strained almonds and raisins.
Instead of hanging their wreath from the ceiling as many Scandinavian families do, Christoffer and Rachel found this handsome candle stand to use for the four candles marking the four Sundays in Advent.
Next to it, they have an ingenious Danish calendar candle. They light the candle every day during breakfast and when the candle burns down to just before the next date, one of their three children blows it out (likely one of the older children, Magnus or Astrid).
If Christoffer and Rachel spend the holiday season with family in Denmark, they may take part in other wonderful traditions, like the Lucia processional on December 13. They may also celebrate with a Christmas Smørrebrød luncheon, snaps, and a dark, strong Christmas beer.
How about you? Do you have any international holiday traditions that you celebrate in your home? What decorations, baked goods, or specialty drinks do you whip up this time of year? Let us know in the comments!