Sunny Foods for Easter
Today marks the start of Easter in Norway – Palm Sunday is always an exciting day, as Norwegians look forward to the week ahead when they trek to the mountains in search of snow, sun, skiing, and of course… great food! The Easter holiday is huge in Norway, and always makes me homesick as I never get the same feeling of this celebratory time in my adopted country of the United States. Work always seem to take center stage here, while the opposite might be said to be true in my native country. Life is a little more than your career – it is enjoyment, spending time with family and friends, traveling, getting away from the hustle and bustle and preparing special foods to ring in the holiday.
Food with the color yellow is always popular around Easter. Think Easter eggs, yellow flowers, the color of the sun (which have reappeared this time of year after a long winter) and oranges, which could be said to be somewhat yellowish too. Norwegians eat oranges like they are going out of style for Easter – it is a popular snack food to bring along in backpacks when going hiking or skiing in the mountains. Of course, a little chocolate is appropriate too most likely the brand “Kvikklunsj”, literally translated to “quick lunch” and is reminiscent of our Kit Kat bars, but only ten times better :)
I recently came to think of the delicious pastry called “Solskinnskringle” – or “Sunshine Kringle”, shaped into a wreath or like a pretzel, filled with orange marmalade, almonds and vanilla custard and drizzled with confectioners sugar. Ever since having adopted a vegan diet, I was curious as to how I would ever be able to eat vanilla custard again, one of my favorite delicacies in pastries. I was so relieved to come across a recipe using cashew nuts that, when soaked and pureed in a blender, turned into a creamy, custard like mousse, and with the addition of vanilla beans, tastes just like the real thing. Below is my interpretation of a dairy free, egg less sunshine kringle – perfect to bake early next week in preparation for Easter weekend! Enjoy everyone!
SOLSKINNSKRINGLE (Sunshine Kringle)
1 stick margarine or 3 1/2 oz coconut butter or oil
1 cup almond milk
25 grams or 1 oz fresh yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Vanilla Custard Filling:
2 cups cashews, (soaked in water for 2 hours or more)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 cup melted coconut butter or il
1/4 tsp sea salt
Add cashews, water, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, and sea salt to a high-speed bender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in the freezer to set for 2 hours. Your vanilla custard is ready for use!
3 1/2 oz shredded marzipan
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit (210 Celcius). Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Heat the almond milk in a small pot until warm to the touch, around 98-99F/37C. Crumble the fresh yeast into the milk and mix until combined. In a large bowl, add the salt, sugar, cardamom and flax seed mixture. Pour in the milk-yeast mixture, and start gradually adding the all purpose flour. Combine and knead until you get a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 1 hour.
Pour the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and with a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 25 x 10 inch rectangle (60×25 cm). Using a spatula, spread the vanilla custard over the dough and sprinkle on the marzipan. Pour dollops of orange marmalade on top.
From the longest side closest to you, roll up the dough like a swiss roll. Shape the dough like a kringle (or pretzel) and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake the kringle in the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden. Cool on a rack.
While the kringle is cooling off, prepare the confectioners glaze. Whisk the confectioners sugar in a bowl with the added fresh lemon juice until smooth and relatively thick. If too thin, add more confectioners sugar. You can add the glaze to a piping bag or just drizzle the glaze over the cake with a fork.
Now you are ready to celebrate Norwegian Easter!
Photo Source: Tine.no