Merry Scandinavian Christmas
What We Eat
The traditional (Danish) dinner is pork roast and/or roast duck accompanied by tiny caramelized potatoes as well as boiled white potatoes, sweet-pickled red cabbage and gravy. This is followed by a traditional Christmas dessert.
Pronounced 'reeze ah lah mahnd'
Dessert is ris á la mande – a rice-based, vanilla-infused 'pudding' with loads of whipped cream, chopped almonds, and topped with a cherry sauce. A single whole almond is hidden in the dessert, and a lively hunt for it begins with every served portion. Who will be this years lucky winner and win the almond prize?
In between meals and snacks, there are generous helpings of mandarin oranges, crisp winter apples, cakes, cookies, and candies galore – just standing about waiting to be tasted.
It's a feast to be sure.
And it Doesn't Even Stop There
We also celebrate with a traditional Christmas lunch on the 25th – which the Danes have dubbed 'First Christmas Day'. This is followed by 'Second Christmas Day' (with even more feasting), and it has even become quite common to include 'Third Christmas Day' in holiday plans.
We need that third day because otherwise, how would everyone have time to visit the people they want to see, serve and eat all the goodies that have been prepared, and then enjoy a much-needed sleep-in after all those delicious calories?
This portion makes about 60 cookies
Traditional Danish Pepper Cookies
125 grams butter (don't skimp - it's Christmas - use the real stuff)
125 grams castor sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardemom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper
275 grams flour
Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg. Mix thoroughly. Set aside. Mix all dry ingredients and work into the butter mixture. Roll into small balls (about half a walnut size – they swell a bit) and lightly flatten with thumb on baking tray. Bake at 200 degrees celcius (392 degrees F) for 10-12 minutes.