Klejner – this Danish treat is a traditional danish Christmas pastry that you usually see handed out during the month of December. It is a type of pastry that involves shaping the dough into a knot or diamond before it gets deep-fried. Klejner is also a type of biscuit that you can find in the supermarket. However, the homemade version of klejner is the best.
There are different ways you can enjoy this simple pastry but having it by itself can be just as delicious. You can usually find the treat paired with tea or coffee, and to add a little sweetness, there are some recipes where it has powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
A great thing about the dish is that it can last longer when kept in an airtight container for a week. Or, you can have it frozen then heat it up in the oven. Having it fresh and warm is generally how it’s served though.
History of the Klejner Recipe
As one of the oldest Danish cookies, klejner went through a variety of names including vridpibe, vridefitte, snofitte, fugleunge, fedtfugl and skrædderlår. The reason it has the name it has today is that it ultimately fell under the category of kleinbrot (small bread).
It is said that the creation of the dish goes back as far as medieval times. The first official record of the word however, is in a cookbook from 1766. The actual origins of the dish are not certain. What is known is that during the 18th century, klejner got made by a special baker known as a klein baker.
- 500 g flour
- 100 g sugar
- ½ pinch salt
- 150 g baking or frying margarine
- 3 eggs
- ½ dl cream
- Mix flour, sugar and deer antler salt.
- Crumble the margarine into the mixture.
- Add eggs and cream, and knead it all well together.
- Put the dough in the fridge for an hour.
- Roll out the dough into approx. ½ cm thick.
- Cut it into approx. 3 cm wide strips on the long joint – preferably with a small groove.
- Cut the strips diagonally across so that they have a length of approx. 8 cm.
- Cut a small incision in the middle of each klejne and pull one tip through the cut so that the klejne gets its characteristic shape. (Just below there is a small video where you can see how you do it 🙂
- Heat the palm tree in a saucepan over even heat. You only need to fill the pot half full with palm oil.
- Carefully add 2-3 kleins to the liquid palm and cook them until golden – turn them a few times along the way. If the clays do not rise quickly to the surface, your palm is too cold.
- Pick up the donuts, place them on greaseproof paper, and repeat the procedure until all the donuts are cooked.
Variations in the Klejner Recipe
The deep-fried pastry is something that can be enjoyed fresh and simple with the noted recipe. Some people call them Danish Fried Twisters. We just call them klejner! There are, however, different variations you can add to the recipe/snack. If you want to have something a little different with the spice, you’ll want to use cinnamon instead of cardamom. You’ll want to use fresh cinnamon though to make the flavor stand out. Another option for a richer taste is to add cream instead of milk. For a zesty touch, you can also lemon to the recipe. If you want to add something a little unique for a kick, some add cognac to the dough.
There are different variations of this dish in other countries and one way that the pastry can be enjoyed in Norway is by adding lemon glazing. Whatever way you decide to enjoy the dish, it’s a delightful Christmas treat to enjoy.
If you are interested in trying other Danish sweets, try checking out our Ris a la Mande Recipe or another very special danish pastry is pebernødder. If you love klejner you will also love pebernødder.