Century-Old Danish Coffeecake

Do you remember visiting grandma’s house when you were little, and she always seemed to have something she’d made–maple walnut rolls, sour cream cookies, or apple cinnamon pie–fresh out of the oven? When you think of favorite childhood foods, are you tempted to think there was something grandma made that only she could make?

In our family, my sister and I recall a bread our great aunt made when we were very young. It had a funny name. (Not only was Hazel a fabulous cook, she is the instigator behind my love of writing. You can see her elegant script here). Her bread was served at Christmas, and, as we both recall, it was delicious. I will feature the bread with the funny name in a future post.

When I was looking for Hazel’s bread recipe, one for “century-old” coffee cake caught my eye. My mother-in-law Dorothy baked often, and given that I use her cookware, utensils, and cutting board every day, I post this with her in mind. Her delicious quick bread with lemon icing (cottage pudding) isn’t technically a pudding, and lasts mere hours.



First, a note about yeast and proofing. All my initial attempts to make yeast bread failed until I learned one simple trick. I haven’t had a failure since. I microwave the water in a 2 Cup Pyrex measuring cup. One cup of liquid/water usually takes ~ 50 seconds on high. I dip my finger in the warmed water and place a few drops on the inside of my wrist. If it feels like bathwater, a temperature you could jump into, not too hot or cold, it’s perfect. When it’s ready, I add the yeast and mix until dissolved, then add one teaspoon of sugar. I stir, coverΒ  with a towel, and let it sit. If the mixture bubbles up after several minutes, my yeast is good; if not, I need to start over.

img_20160529_064227818.jpgThe suggested path is to start with 4 C of flour, softened butter, 1/2 C sugar and 1 teaspoon salt mixed with a pastry blender. I added nearly 6+ Cups flour to get a soft dough.

When the mixture resembles a “meal,” the yeast, yolks, and milk are added.

Having never made this, I had to guess at that “soft dough” consistency. I added just enough flour to be able to knead the dough on the counter. It was sticky and very soft.

Meanwhile, as the dough sits, I mixed the filling. This was the fun part.

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The raisins/dates are folded in after the mixing is complete, i.e. when no sugar is felt between the fingers. The raisins are kind of hidden, but they are here.

img_20160529_124040739.jpgNext: roll out the dough into two, 9″ by 22″ rectangles. Place half the filling lengthwise on the dough and fold edges over like an envelope. Seal the edges. Place in buttered bundt* pan. Repeat with the other half.

I was alone in the kitchen when I attempted to place the sealed dough in the pans. This got me laughing. The dough is so soft that it falls apart when picked up. Using large pancake flippers or another person to help would be best. Having said that, I think mine went in pretty well as there was minimal leaking. It just looks like I am a messy cook. πŸ˜‰

I baked the pans together, which, on second thought, I may not next time. I still don’t know why the dough did not rise more on the second rising. The yeast was good. I am going to chalk it up to the pans.

Here is the finished product. In spite of the dough rising problem, it was pretty darned good. Both my husband and son ate more than one piece.

This was a lot of fun to make, and as stated, I’ll make it again. Even though some of these older recipes take a long time to prepare, they beat some of the commercially made sweetbreads and other baked goods. The dough and filling were delicious.

The recipe comes from this book.

With recipes like this one, I always think of my grandma and my mother-in-law, whose mothers probably made this type of dessert often. This coffeecake was incredibly good. After a bit more practice, this could become a traditional family recipe, like grandma’s.

If you attempt to make this, please come back and let me know how it went. ENJOY!

*Bundt pan. I don’t have a bundt pan, so I used the cake pan my mother used when we were children. I also used a cheesecake pan for the second portion. I had no idea how these pans would do, but both worked reasonably well. Having said that, since the dough did not rise as much as I hoped, I’m guessing this recipe works best with a bundt pan. Will have to make this one again. Soon. πŸ˜‰


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