Strawberries and Danish Summer Cream

Danish Summer Cream

To say that Danish people have a strong food culture would be selling it short. Very short. After living in Denmark for nearly six years now, I have had the privilege of witnessing and taking part in many of their passionate and long-established table traditions, celebrating the seasons through what they eat and vice versa. They are proud, and borderline obsessive about certain aspects of their food, and it is this fervour, this dedication, even if it is often for pork products, that I so strongly resonate with and connect to.

When I first met my husband, it drove me kinda nuts how stubborn he was with his traditional Danish meals: “no, this has to go with that. And you need to eat this on top of this in this special way, then cut it like this and put it on this special plate”. Open-faced sandwiches are actually served on their own teeny wooden boards, and have very specific and time-tested combinations of foods that are not to be contested or fooled around with. No. But many meals are like this. The first day of advent, you eat yellow split pea soup. At Easter you have lamb. And as the weather warms up (if it ever does) you have koldskål. Say what? Directly translated, “cold bowl”.

Koldskål, is a beguiling combination of creamy buttermilk, egg yolk, lemon, vanilla and sugar. I know it may sound a little strange, but trust me, it’s heaven. It is often served with Danish strawberries (which, sorry Ontario, are the best strawberries in the world) and always with kammerjunkere: very crispy little biscuits flavoured with cardamom and lemon. Think of them as Danish biscotti. And they only go with koldskål. That’s a rule.

Danish Summer Cream

I tried the real koldskål last summer when I was pregnant and feeling very strong urges to eat dairy products. I have to say, as much as I wanted to be against it, the stuff was insanely delicious. Addictive even. And the mere act of slicing up a bowl of freshly-picked berries, then pouring silky white cream across their blood-red facets struck a deep, primordial pleasure chord. In that moment, a voice called out from inside me and cooed in all of its ancient wisdom, that this was going to taste really, really good.

Needless to say, it did and I was hooked. What is not to love about ripe fruit, tangy, cold creaminess and crunchy crumbled cookies? Right. Moving on. Since that fateful day, I’ve discovered that koldskål is very easy to make and can be tweaked a little to be much healthier than the traditional version (which is why I am calling it something totally different). My twist uses sheep yogurt instead of buttermilk, leaves out the eggs and sweetens with maple syrup. The biscuits are gluten-free and vegan and sweetened with coconut sugar. All things considered, this would make a rather respectable breakfast, albeit with a rather hefty dose of strawberries, as I tend to make it.

Danish Summer Cream

Now, if I am all for tradition, why I am messing with a perfect thing? Switching out the buttermilk for goat or sheep yogurt? Well, you know my M.O. is to make things both tasty and healthy. In this case, it’s a small change in flavour for a big change in nutrition.

For one, goat and sheep milk are easier to digest than cow milk due to the fact that the protein molecules found goat and sheep milk are smaller and in fact more similar to the protein found in human milk. In addition, the fat molecules in goat and sheep milk have thinner, more fragile membranes – half the size of those in cow milk. This leads to an average curd tension that is literally 1⁄2 that of cow milk (36 grams for goat milk and 70 grams for cow milk). Curds from milk form in the digestive tract or during cheese or yogurt making (anywhere that the milk is subjected to acid). Having less curd tension means that the milk is less “tough”, and easier to digest. Dr. Bernard Jensen (my personal hero) showed that goat milk will digest in a baby’s stomach in 20 minutes, whereas pasteurized cow milk takes 8 hours. The difference is in the structure of the milk.

Goat and sheep milk boast twice the healthful medium chain fatty acids than that of cow milk, such as capric and caprylic acids. These fatty acids are highly antimicrobial. Capric and caprylic acids are used today in dietary supplements to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans and other yeast species. They also boost the immune system and enhance energy. 

Danish Summer Cream

To serve koldskål in our house, we slice up a large amount of berries and divide them among the bowls. Then each person pours their own cream (obviously, because this is the most fun part) and crumbles the biscuits over top, or leaves them whole according to their liking. The cream must be very cold. The strawberries must be very ripe – none of those ones picked before they are ready and that are still white in the center – no! The red juice must run into the cream as you eat it, swirling about and staining the whole concoction a delicate, blushing pink by the end. Guh. I also like to sprinkle fresh elderflower over the top for fun, since I love eating flowers too. This is totally unnecessary, and completely divine.

Danish Summer Cream

 

If I have learned anything during my time here in Denmark, it’s that traditions exist for a reason. That certain foods taste best with other certain foods and that is just the way it is, no reason trying to fight it. In this case, strawberries and cream and cookies are best enjoyed together, and I am certainly willing to uphold this tradition for the good of us all.

Show me your Strawberries and Dansih Summer Cream on Instagram: #danishsummercream

Danish Summer Cream

59 comments

  1. Rue

    I am definitely going to try your healthier version, it sounds incredibly yummy! Both of my parents are Lithuanian and growing up I learned a lot of Lithuanian recipes from my mother and your post reminded me of the blueberry raviolis with vanilla sauce we used to make when blueberries were in season. It was a very simple flour & water dough which were filled with blueberries and a bit of sugar and then boiled and then drizzled with a sour cream, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla bean sauce. I loved watching the color of the white vanilla sauce turn into a blue-violet color once you cut a ravioli open; beautiful and delicious! I will have to try your revised healthier cream sauce as I have not made the blueberry raviolis in years due to the high fat content and raw egg yolks. Thank you!

  2. J

    I just made a half batch after my family left the house, and I ate it all myself before they returned (some dough, the rest baked) because last time I made it I had to share… surely this healthy recipe wasn’t meant to be consumed by one person in 45 minutes, haha!! I had no applesauce tonight so used mashed banana, and it was fine. I made them larger this time and baked them for 10 minutes with no drying-out time because I lIke them softer. SO GOOD… but I really should share next time, or at least put some in the back of the freezer for another day. Thank you Sarah, you have such an amazing gift!

  3. Kathleen

    This is amazing! So satisfying and refreshing. I’ve made it twice– it’s perfect on a hot summer night or for breakfast… or anytime. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Roxana

    Made this tonight using the long awaited ON strawberries and both sheep’s and goat’s yogurts mixed together. The cookies really brought the whole dish together and it was…DEE-VINE! My whole house smelled like lemon zest and cardamom. I can’t stop staring at them sitting beautifully in the mason jar. I’m pretty sure this dish will become a long time favourite, so thank you!
    Oh and PS: this was my first comment since I discovered your blog a while ago – couldn’t contain it.

  5. Amanda - A Cookie Named Desire

    My ex is Estonian and I can relate to how…. particular some cultures are with their food. I was lectured every day on how I should make food and when and why. It came to a point where for a while we had to cook meals without the other in the kitchen until we finally came to an agreement (which was just me listening to his instructions when we were making an Estonian meal). This sounds like a deliciously light treat and I am excited to try it (at the right time, of course!) And your photos are beautiful!

  6. The Brand Fam

    What I really love about your recipes is the fact that you first give some history behind the recipe, then you try to remake it using healthier ingredients, and finally you explain why some of those ingredients are better for you. So informative yet still entertaining to read. And the recipe, of course, sounds delicious! Thank you.

  7. AG

    LOVE these little cookies. I made them for a post Indian feast treat this weekend. I served them with no-churn mango ice cream and tea. For kicks I used all my leftover masala spices that I had toasted and ground for the meal prep in this recipe. Definitely not traditional kammerjunkere but they turned out fantastic. I am a much more conscientious cook and consumer due in part to the wealth of knowledge you share. Thank you!

  8. Renee

    These are TOO adorable. And this pie crust sounds to die for — like all the best things about traditional pie crusts and graham cracker crusts rolled into one! I love it.

  9. Renee

    Oh my, I’m totally in love with this recipe. I’m going to Copenhagen next year for some courses and I can’t wait to eat this in Denmark, the Danish way, as you describe it. Love how you write about it!

  10. Hannah

    loooooooove healthy twist on old classics! :) this meal it a completly new one to me , the photos are gorgoeus.. more of that please ;)

  11. Allison

    Thank you for posting about Danish food and tradition! I am proudly Danish and LOVE all of the flavours, textures, and simple recipes that they are known for. I’ve also inherited a taste for all things pickled and fermented and can’t go day without. This is just beautiful and I enjoy the cardamom you’ve got going on here too -so underused in North America.

  12. Grace

    OK I made this, ate it, practically licked the bowl and I’m still drooling! Fanfreakintastic Sarah! Very cool to share the traditions around you with your twist on it. Thank you :)

  13. Elizabeth

    Wow, this recipe was written for me I think. I recently went for allergy testing and now cow’s milk and wheat is out for me. I love sheep yoghurt (not goat at all) and can’t wait for our Ontario strawberries (ahem) which are a little behind this year. Definitely trying this. It sounds like bliss.

  14. Hannah

    I’m soooo excited to be setting if for denmark tomorrow! 5 days in Copenhagen then off round Scandinavia. I will definitely be trying strawberries and have been told I MUST have wild blueberries in Oslo. Then when I get back I will be making these biscuits with English strawberries and cashew cream. YUM! :)

  15. Flora

    Just made these! So incredibly delicious. Halved the recipe and since we are not vegan I swapped the coco oil for butter and apple sauce for an egg (hope that doesn’t offend…). We had it with plain yogurt and that was sweet enough for us!

  16. Beth

    I LOVE Koldskål – i will for sure try your healthy version, but it might be hard to ajust – i grew up on the original. You have to try it w. Toasted caramelized oats. I know , I know – it has sugar but It’s sooo good and right!! And yes danish just picked sweet, sweet strawberries they taste of sunshine, that’s why they’re special :) this brings back a lot of great memories.
    love your blog
    sincerely,
    A stubborn Danish fan from Texas :))

  17. kristie

    This is one of my favorite posts of yours. The photos are so beautiful! And the whole dish looks incredibly fresh and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Joanne | The Mindful Morning

    Love love love this ! What an interesting recipe to share! I can just feel summer skipping off this website right now – it is definitely making me long for long summer afternoons with cakes, strawberries and iced tea! X

  19. Alfiya

    Sarah,
    I love your recipes, and some of them are regular in my kitchen now since I discovered your blog several months ago. I can’t wait to try this so good-looking strawberry-cream creation (don’t even try to spell it though), but I have a question about one ingridient. I make goat keffir from raw goat milk, can it be used instead of yogurt? For some reason, I cannot make good yogurt out of goat milk, so I make it out of store bought organic cow milk, but goat keffir is really good.

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  21. Kelly

    Hahha thats funny, I make this kind of breakfast a lot for myself, but I didn’t knew it was danish;). I’m gonna try the biscuits tomorrow morning with coconutyoghurt instead of the sheepyoghurt :). I hope this twist is gonna taste as delicious as yours.

  22. Eileen

    This is such a unique and amazing-sounding summer dish! I’m not normally one to go for fruit and cream, but I think I’m going to have to make an exception for a bowl of this. :)

  23. Lauren

    Given the antimicrobial properties of the fatty acids in sheep and goat milk, would you recommend adding either yogurt to the diet of an 8-month old with recurring yeast rash?

    Regardless, I can’t wait to try this recipe. It hasn’t been a great strawberry year here in California (in my opinion), but we have some delicious blue and blackberries growing in our yard.

  24. Jen at sweetgreenkitchen.com

    Oh Sarah, this looks divine! The beautifully red summer strawberries have started to show themselves at our NY Farmer’s Market last week and I fear my 5 year old son is forever spoiled and will not touch a store bought winter strawberry ever again. Since I took home 2 large quarts from the Farm Market, I think I will need to try this recipe. Loved your story on Danish tradition and also your wonderfully simple to understand explanation of the difference between cow and goats/sheep’s milk. I always knew that especially goats milk was easier to digest, but never really knew why.

  25. Henriette

    Dear Ladies, on behalf of Germany: We have the best strawberries ever ever ever. Was für ein wunderbares Rezept!. Ich muss es gleich machen. Vielen Dank, liebe Sarah und bitte: mehr davon. All the best, Henriette

  26. Mia

    can somebody give me an alternative for applesauce as we don’t have this here. Or even better, is there a recipe to make your own applesauce? The strawberry season is over here… if have to try this with cherishes, those big almost black ones, yum! thanks for your reactions.

  27. Katrine

    I LOVE your blog and I really love your perfect description of the danish food traditions – we are pretty crazy about our food. Koldskål is a celebration of summer and everybody loves it. Thank you so much for the healthier alternative to kammerjunkere – the downside of the traditional koldskål and kammerjunkere is the unnessesary unhealthy ingredients.

  28. Amelie

    Must be delicious… as usual! And the pictures are lovely. Would you tell me where did you buy/get your plates please? Thank you! x

  29. Sonja {Dagmar's Kitchen}

    Haha, and on behalf of Sweden I protest – WE have the best strawberries ;-) I cannot tell you how much I love koldskål too – something we used to have every summer at my grandma when we were little. I have been thinking of figuring out a ‘healthier’ way of making it too, but now I’ll just go and try yours first. Thanks!

  30. kaktusfink

    Oh, that’s so interesting! In Germany we have “Kaltschale”, a sweet cold fruit soup which is sometimes even eaten alongside potatoes (but I think that’s only in the North of Germany). Food combination is a strange thing there, too.
    Your recipe looks really lovely.

  31. ola

    LOve your koldskål! Not long ago I posted my very untraditional and Danish not-aproved version without karmmejunkere, but with rose petals. it was even 3-coloured (white, strawberry pink and rose pink), very pretty and tasty :) I’m at my mum’s now, gonna make some for her as well, using her homemade goat yoghurt :) hugs and greetings!

  32. Flora

    I’m going to made this straight away. I can’t believe I was having trouble figuring out what to make with all the strawberries I bought!

  33. Maritza

    love this post the way is written and the pictures makes my mouth watering I love the plates and definitely those strawberries look so fresh, ripe and red. the last picture oh my! delicious. God thing that there are so many healthy substitutions to make the guilty pleasures no that guilty any more. I have to try this and maybe one day go to Denmark for a taste of those strawberries.
    TKS for this beautiful post

  34. Sylvana

    Hi Sarah I absolutely love your recipes, I was wondering if you could tell me where you get your nutritional facts for your blog from? I know there are many websites and books however I find the content conflicting, is there a specific nutritional book you use from your library? Would love if you could recommend a book or books with thorough nutritional content for each fruit, vegetable, grain, legume etc.

  35. Kathleen

    This sounds so delicious and divine! I love the backstory too, about the Danish traditions. Really interesting. And the elderflower on top…I’m going to make this this weekend! Thank you!

  36. Lana

    I literally can not believe that this recipe popped up on my facebook feed. As my semester in Copenhagen is coming to and end, the desire to experience everything Danish is sort of stressful and overwhelming! This is one of the things I have not yet tried and it is on the top of my list, though I constantly see the breakfast biscuits at all the grocery stores. I think I will also try a version of this when I return to Canada. This post and the commentary on tradition and stubborn Danes (rightfully so?) made me burst. Denmark… what a special place.

    (I so agree with you – Danish strawberries completely outshine Ontario ones. Although there is nothing like an Ontario peach).

  37. Oana

    Beautiful recipe, photos and story! Definitely trying this soon, I love anything with strawberries and it sounds like a very nice combination :)

  38. Stine

    Oh, I almost forgot about koldskal! I used to love it when I lived in Copenhagen 10 years ago. Sweet memories of great food! (especially strawberry cake with various layers of dough, chocolate, marcipan and pudding, yummie)
    Thanks for the reminder, I definitely need to make Koldskal again! Stine

  39. Audrey

    Ohh this is so gorgeous Sarah! This is also a perfect timing: fresh, local Québec strawberries just got available here. Definitively going to try this danish version; I bet the cardamom cookies are addictive! Have a beautiful summer!

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