Pineapple pudding - Ananasfrómas

A decorated pineapple fromage
Light and frothy cold puddings made with egg and thickened with gelatine are known as "frómas" in Icelandic and as "fromage" in Danish. Those who know their French will realise that this is the French word for "cheese". How it underwent the change in meaning from French to Danish is not known.

This recipe is in all likelihood originally Danish. This is a popular dessert in my family that my mother makes  for special occasions. With a bit of adjustment, it can be adapted to other kinds of flavours. For example, I adore the lemon version.


250 g sugar
5 eggs, whites and yolks separated
12 sheets of gelatine
2 cups double cream or whipping cream
2 small cans (8. oz.) pineapple rings in juice, cut into small chunks (retain 2-3 rings for decoration)
Pineapple juice from the can
juice from 1 lemon

In separate bowls, whip together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, and whip the egg whites until stiff.

Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for about 10 minutes, remove and squeeze out the water. Put about 200 ml (4/5 cup) of pineapple juice in a saucepan and add the gelatine. Over low heat (or in a water-bath) melt the gelatine in the pineapple juice, stirring well to eliminate lumps. Cool to room temperature (plunge the bottom of the saucepan into cold water to speed up the cooling process). Pour through a sieve into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring constantly and carefully to mix. Add the lemon juice and stir in carefully. Fold in the cream and then the pineapple pieces. Finally fold in the whipped egg whites.

Pour into bowls and allow to set. These can be either a couple of big serving bowls, or individual serving bowls or dessert glasses. Decorate with remaining pineapple rings and whipped cream. Red cocktail cherries can be added for a bit of colour.

Serve cold, with or without whipped cream.

This pudding makes an excellent filling for sponge cake. To use, allow to set enough to be spreadable without running, and smooth on top of one cake layer, allow to set and top with another cake layer.


Date cake with caramel sauce - Döðluterta með karamellusósu

My friends call this cake "that heavenly date cake with the caramel sauce". It is apparently an old recipe, but someone must have rediscovered it recently, because it has been served a lot at birthday parties and ladies' handicrafts clubs lately.

I haven't got a clue where the recipe originally came from, but in Iceland it's known either as döðluterta með karamellusósu, which simply describes what it is, or as Dillonskaka or Dillon's Cake, which could suggests Irish or British origins. However, it might, and this is supported by information from some older ladies I know, be named after Lord Dillon, a British aristocrat who came to Iceland in 1834, fell in love with a local woman and built a house that he gave her before he left the country. It was a famous scandal at the time, as they had a child out of wedlock and were prevented from marrying by his family. She ran a guest house in the house he gave her and sold meals there for many years. Today the house stands in the Árbær museum and is a café.

235 g (8.3 oz.) stoneless dates and a little bit of water
1 tsp baking soda
120 g (4.2 oz.) butter, soft
5 tbs sugar
2 eggs
300 ml (approx. 1 1/4 cup) flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 tsp baking powder

Put the dates in a saucepan and pour in enough water to barely cover the dates. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat and let stand for a few minutes.
Add the baking soda to the saucepan and stir well. Dates should come apart into a thick paste.
Whip together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one by one. Add the dry ingredients and vanilla and mix well. Finally add the stewed dates.

Bake in a well-greased springform pan, for 30-40 minutes at 180°C (356°F).
Remove from oven when done, let cool slightly, then remove from pan and serve warm with the sauce on the side.

Caramel sauce:
200 g (7 oz.) butter
200 g (7 oz.) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
200 ml (1/2 cup + 1/3 cup) cream

Put all ingredients together in a saucepan and cook together over slow heat, stirring continuously for 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Pour into a jug or sauce boat and serve warm on the side with the cake or pour directly over the cake and serve. This sauce is also excellent on ice cream.


Danish pastries, part 3: Long Danish

Now its time for the "long Danish" I mentioned in the previous post. You will need the dough, prepared as in the previous post, but rolled out into strips, about 15 cm wide and slightly shorter than the cookie sheet you will bake them on. The thickness of the dough should be about 5 mm.

You will also need:
Almond paste (recipe in the first post) and thick jam, e.g. strawberry or raspberry OR egg custard
Pearl sugar
Flaked almonds

Spread the jam down the centre of the strip of dough and spread or pipe the almond paste on top. Fold the sides into the centre so they overlap slightly and press together. Gently transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg, milk or water, sprinkle the pearl sugar and flaked almonds on too, and bake. This is called an old-fashioned Danish in Iceland.

If you prefer custard to jam, you spread the custard down the centre of the dough strip instead of jam and leave out the almond paste. Brush with beaten egg, milk or water and sprinkle the pearl sugar and flaked almonds on top.

To bake:
Arrange on a cookie sheet, about 5 cm apart. Let rise at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, then bake at high temperature (225°C) until a light golden colour (should take about 12-15 minutes). Let it cool and then pipe icing in a zig-zag pattern over the pastry and allow to set before serving.