Shrovetide, also known as “Fastelavn” in Denmark, is a traditional celebration that takes place in the days leading up to Lent. While Fastelavn was originally a religious holiday, it has now become a secular celebration in Denmark, mainly celebrated among kids, who will go to costume parties and Fastelavns-raslen (a kind of trick-or-treat).
One of the most popular traditions associated with Fastelavn is the Fastelavnsboller, which are sweet buns filled with cream, remonce or custard. Fastelavns buns have evolved quite a bit during the years, and nowadays, they come in all sorts and shapes.
This recipe is for old-fashioned, traditional fastelavnsboller. The buns are made with a rich, yeasty dough, and filled with vanilla custard cream. My mom got the recipe from a friend almost 50 years ago, and this is the only recipe, she has been using ever since.
Recipe and notes by my mom, aka Mummi P:)
The recipe is supposed to yield 30 Fastelavnsboller, but if you make 30 buns, they would be very small, so I suggest that you make 14-18 buns. I usually also add a teaspoon of cardamom when I make fastelavnsboller, so if you like the taste of cardamom, you can add it too, along with the flour.
Danish Margarine: Nowadays in Denmark, many people use liquid margarine for baking, but I’m not sure how widely available it is abroad. The original recipe is with solid margarine but you can also use butter.
Vanilla: You can either use the seeds from a whole vanilla bean, or use vanilla essence or vanilla sugar.
Yeast: In Denmark we use a lot of fresh yeast for baking, but if you don’t have fresh yeast at home, you can also use dry yeast. However, please not that dry yeast is activated at a higher temperature, compared to fresh yeast, so follow the instructions on the packaging.
Icing: Let the buns cool off, so they warm, but not very hot, when you apply the icing. If the buns are very hot, the icing will melt and thin out.