It is a singular and terrifying power that parents hold in creating traditions for their children. No one can predict what will make it through the gauntlet of passing years to end up perched in their child’s adult mind, right next to “facts” about why the sky is blue, and what their hair color is. I think most of us are pleased to claim the traditions we remember and we hold them fiercely, so much so that it is not uncommon to find two best friends (or lovers) outraged to hear the other’s ideas of what a decent and humane Christmas eve should look like.

There are only two Easter traditions that made it through for me, and they are persistent little buggers that won’t be shook off:

  1. Wear something new, ideally something that could comfortably be considered the zenith of femininity and spring wrapped into one.
  2. Eat many pieces of flaky, almond-scented, Grandma’s-recipe-only Danish Pastry.

I’m sure when I have kids a few more will come out of the woodwork, but for now, this is it. Of course when you move away from home, eat comes with the imperative make.  I also considerately asked my husband about possible traditions he might like to continue. Turns out my mother-in-law would make a lamb shaped cake, which might just have to go down as her signature thing because I wouldn’t know where to start.

It might just be my Easter-tradition-neuron talking here (actually, shouting and shaking its fist) but Danish Pastry seems to be the very best thing to have for the holiday. It goes nicely with brunch food. It could be a post-lamb dessert. It’s easy to make, and contains one delicious teaspoon of almond extract and a unrepeatable amount of butter. You might even have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. This is one of those floating, inheritated recipes that probably shouldn’t even be called Danish in the first place, but here it is. In my mind you are all delighted to finally get this because what has your Easter ever been without it?


Danish Pastry

MAKES:  2 long rolls
INGREDIENTS:
CRUST:*
1 cup    flour
1 stick    butter (or margarine)
dash of sugar and salt
2 T.    water
FILLING:
1 cup    water
1 stick    butter (or margarine)
1 cup    flour
3 eggs
1/2 teasp    almond extract
FROSTING:
1/2 stick    (4 T.) butter, softened
1 cup    powdered sugar
1/2 teasp    almond extract
some milk
CRUST:
Mix 4 crust ingredients as a pie crust (I just moosh it together for awhile with my hands). Divide into 2 rolls and put onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Pat to form two strips- each about 5-6″ wide by length of cookie sheet- about 1/4″ thick.
FILLING:
Bring to a boil 1 cup of water and 1 stick butter. Remove from heat and QUICKLY add 1 cup of flour, the 3 eggs- one at a time, beating after each egg (I just beat it with a whisk ), 1/2 t. almond extract. Place by spoonfuls on crust and spread carefully to edges.
Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. When it has cooled, frost with:
FROSTING:
Beat frosting ingredients together adding milk to desired consistency.

*Taster’s Notes: You’ll note that my strips of dough are rather paltry, and I ended up with leftover filling. If I were making it again, I would double the ingredients for the dough to double the fun. Since I haven’t done that before, I’m not changing the official recipe, just suggesting it.

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