As a Dane born on the beautiful island of Funen, I am very conscious of my cultural heritage. Funen is in the heart of Denmark, surrounded by the sea and other small islands. It is a true paradise with beautiful nature, and I go there whenever I can find the time to recharge my batteries, to visit friends and to spend time with family.
We people from Funen are often considered to be kind-hearted and proud of our origins. This also goes for our pastry tradition.
The brunsviger is our pride and joy. Not only does it taste fantastic, it is also a cultural institution for the island’s people. We even celebrate an official brunsviger day every year in the fall.
For me, brunsviger is closely linked to the concept of hygge, a social get-together with friends and family, often centered around coffee, cake or pastries.
I remember a certain trilogue negotiation following the “dieselgate” scandal in 2015. The atmosphere felt electric, as it often does during tough negotiations.
I brought brunsviger for my colleagues and staff. Sometimes I find time to bake in the evenings after work even though days are busy in Brussels.
I am not saying that this is what led to a good compromise between the political groups, but I would like to think it contributed in a small way. And to this day, when I meet colleagues that attended that meeting, we still talk about it with a smile on our faces.
Culture, with all the differences and similarities we have in Europe, is what binds us together. The brunsviger is a part of this and one of the things I like to share whenever I have the opportunity.
It’s important to note that there are many ways to prepare brunsviger. The following is just one of them, and it’s one which I hope can be used internationally.
- 1/4 litre whole milk, warmed to 50C
- 50g yeast
- 6g salt
- 4 eggs
- 100g soft butter
- 25g white sugar
- 600-650g wheat flour
- Butter for greasing the pan
- 200g butter
- 200g brown sugar
- 4 spoonfuls of heavy cream
- Dough: Dissolve the yeast in the milk. In a large bowl, knead the yeast, eggs, milk, sugar, salt and 3/4 of the flour together. Add the butter and, gradually, the rest of the flour until the dough is smooth. Keep in mind that the dough should remain sticky and very flexible, so be cautious when adding the last of the flour.
- Smear a baking pan with butter and place the ball of dough directly onto it. Let it rest for five minutes before spreading it to fill the whole baking pan. Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour. In the meantime, start preparing the filling
- Filling: Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat until they are fully combined.
- With your fingers, push some deep holes into the dough so that the filling can run into them. Let the dough with filling rest for a quarter of an hour, then bake it for 30-35 minutes at 200C.
- Let your brunsviger cool off for a bit before serving. Enjoy.