While still based in tradition, Danish cuisine has embraced new flavours, foreign ingredients and a lighter touch, says Trine Hahnemann
We Danes have stopped thinking about the dinner as revolving around meat and potatoes. More things are eaten raw than my grandmother would have imagined.
While my cooking is quite different from my grandmothers it is still deeply rooted in tradition, but I use stronger flavours, more spices, more fresh herbs, different techniques. I grew up with cauliflower boiled to demise or in a gratin with white sauce. Now I serve it in endless ways: raw, fried in butter, as a pure with chilli.
Inspiration from around the world has entered modern Danish cooking, and texture and combinings have shifted. It is lighter, a bit more complex in flavours, but without giving in on seasonality and still recognising the benefits of maintaining things simple.
Spelt tart with spinach, Jerusalem artichokes and feta
This tart is ideal for everyday cooking and not that hard to induce. Its also perfect for guests, as it can be made the day before, then heated up to serve. Serves 4-6.
For the pastry:
plain flour 100 g, plus extra for dusting
wholegrain spelt flour 100 g
ocean salt 1 tsp
butter, chopped 75 g
skyr( quark) or fromage frais 75 g
For the fill:
Jerusalem artichokes 200 g
olive oil 2 tbsp
garlic cloves, chopped 2
spinach 500 g
eggs, beaten 5
full-fat crme frache 100 ml
feta cheese 200 g, crumbled
freshly grated nutmeg 1 tsp
ocean salt 1 tsp
freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp
Begin with the pastry. Mix both flours with the salt in a large bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Mix in the skyr( quark) or fromage frais. Knead the dough gently with your hands simply until the ingredients are combined.( Alternatively, pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor, adding a little water if the dough does not come together .)
Roll the dough out on a floured surface and butter a tart tin or dish, about 28 cm in diameter. Use the pastry to line the tart tin, then refrigerate for one hour. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4. Line the pastry case with cooking parchment and pour in baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and parchment and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the fill. Peel the artichokes and cut them into 1.5 cm chunks. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the artichokes and saut for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and let it cook for about five minutes; take off the heat. If utilizing fresh spinach, rinse in cold water, then place in a separate saucepan over a medium hot and allow it to wilt. When it is just wilted, drainage really well in a sieve.
Put the beat eggs, crme frache, feta, nutmeg and salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoonful. Fold in the drained spinach and Jerusalem artichokes. Pour the mixture into the pastry instance, return it to the oven and cook for 3035 minutes, or until the fill has set but retains a slight wobble. Serve right away with a nice salad.
Cauliflower, prawns and dill
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