Since arriving in Copenhagen in February, I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of new people - mainly other ex pat mums also living in Denmark with their little ones while husbands take up work here. We've all got our stories to tell and hints and tips to share - passing around the benefits of our individual experiences.
This weekend I met up with two of my new mummy friends for a girls night - no children, no husbands just the three of us, some delicious food and a bottle of wine (or two!). My contribution was to take along something sweet and I chose another recipe from Trina Hahnemann's Scandinavian Cookbook.
Kartoffelkage literally means potato cake but there is in fact no potato involved. The name apparently comes from the fact that the pastries look like potatoes!! Not sure that's a selling point.... These are essentially the Scandinavian variation on what the English would call an eclair and a more refined version would be a French profiterole.
And thus I was introduced to the art and joy of making choux pastry. Now, Ms Hahnemann does warn that making the kartoffelkage is something that takes time and my husband very obligingly took the children off my hands for a couple of hours so that I could lose myself in the kitchen without distraction.
How my arms ached from beating the flour into the boiling butter and water and then, in turn and bit by bit, adding the eggs. Watching the clock on the cooker and waiting for the dough to cool felt like an eternity - I'm a choux pastry novice and I wanted to move on to the piping...
It was my chance to use a gadget that has been in its unopened box in my cupboards since I went to a Pampered Chef party in London a few months ago. This piping bottle for cake icing is really simple to use (it concertinas to force the icing out of the nozzle) and makes less mess than piping bags.
The finished pastries did rather resemble potatoes but it didn't matter, I was thrilled, the dough rose beautifully. The filling is a vanilla custard cream, light and delicate, that required constant stirring and a watchful eye - hence the lack of photographs! Topped with a piece of marzipan and then dusted with cocoa powder, compared to eclairs and profiteroles, these are a lighter pastry - the flavours are more subtle.
I had a wonderful evening with my new friends and the kartoffelkages made it in one piece despite being carried in a bag dangling from the handlebars of my bike as I rode across town....