Danish Buttermilk & Rhubarb Summer Bowl – My Favourite Treat Also Called Koldskål

Rarbarber koldskål - Rhubarb & buttermilk bowl with fresh summer  berries

I am from a dairy loving family. Ice cream, yoghurt, milk, cheese, koldskål and even more cheese, these have always been stable foods in our kitchen. Running out of milk or yoghurt could create a disaster at home, and I don’t think that my dad would survive an entire day without a piece of toasted bread topped with slices of very mature cheese and a dollop of yam.
If it’s our Norwegian genes shining through or simply the love of creamy textures I am not sure – but I know as much as I have always preferred a cheese snack over any lollypop. My dad, who is half Norwegian, has always entertained with stories from his childhood of how they got lumps of brown caramelized goats cheese instead of candy and how he was excluded from birthday parties due to his overwhelming love of ice cream. In many ways my dad and I are very much alike – I too have a great appetite when it comes to ice cream, though I prefer mine less sweet. And I can’t deny my endless love for that brown, caramelized Norwegian cheese –  it is absolutely amazing.
Another thing we share and love is the classic danish koldskål. As soon as summer starts knocking on the door and all meal preferences turns towards fresh, cold and hydrating – my dad starts mixing up this magic summer ‘brew’. He has taught me to appreciate the homemade, thick and creamy version – and he was partly responsible for my very first and only ‘koldskål shower’ of my life. (Read he made the koldskål – and Josephine 7 years reached for it on the top shelf of the fridge and dropped everything from head to toe).

Danish buttermilk bowl 'koldskål' with rhubarb syrup - A tasty love story

I guess that most people outside of scandinavia don’t have a clue what koldskål is. I can tell you as much as it falls in between the two categories; yoghurt and ice cream. It is originally made from cultured buttermilk (0,5% fat) and a creamy cultured yoghurt (3,5 % fat), flavoured with sugar, lemon and vanilla and served with sweet butter biscuits. Egg yolks are whisked with sugar to make the result as creamy and foamy as possible, and some people even add a bit of cream to enhance the velvet texture.
My everyday version of this dish is actually quite close to the original. I would never add cream and I rarely serve it with biscuits – but the flavours and the creaminess of this classic recipe are absolutely irresistible. I prefer to add a bit of fruit and granola on top and I often have it for breakfast, as a snack or even for dessert. Sometimes I just pour a big glass and gulp it down with an almond cracker on the side (my version of milk and chocolate chip cookies).

Rarbarber koldskål - Rhubarb & buttermilk bowl with fresh summer  berries

To add a little seasonal twist to the recipe I have used a homemade rhubarb syrup as sweetener. It provides the dish with lovely aromas that are perfect matched with the fresh summer berries. You could also make a rhubarb compote and add a dollop of this along with a scoop of ice cream – and voila you would have an awesome, light summer dessert.
I really hope you will try this danish summer specialty. It is amazing, addictive and might be some of the best you’ve ever had!

Danish buttermilk bowl 'koldskål' with rhubarb syrup - A tasty love story

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Buttermilk & rhubarb summer bowl
Makes 1 litre

Notes
It is different how sweet you prefer a dish like this. My dad would always double the amount of sugar compared to me, and my brother would add a lot of sweet biscuits to it. I love the gentle sweetness from the rhubarb syrup, which will also vary in sweetness depending on your rhubarbs and how thick and intense you make the syrup. My point is that you need to carefully adjust the sweetness of this according to your preference – more or less syrup – it is up to you.

Rhubarb Syrup
1/2 cup sugar (100 g)
18-21 oz rhubarbs (500-600 g)
1 vanilla pod
1 cup water (250 ml)

Summer buttermilk bowl
2 cups (cultured) buttermilk (0,5 litre)
2 cups semi thick cultured yoghurt with 1,5-3,5 % fat (0,5 litre)
2 egg yolks
100 g rhubarb syrup (this can be replaced with regular sugar around 50-75 g)
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped + 1 Tbsp sugar
Zest from 1/2 organic lemon

To Serve
Fresh strawberries & raspberries
Granola, try this
Bran flakes

Make the rhubarb syrup
1. Rinse and clean the rhubarbs and cut them in smaller chunks. Add them in a pot together with the water and bring into a boil. Let it simmer under a lid for about 15-20 min until completely tender and mushy. Run everything through a fine strainer into a bowl and let it drip of for 15 min or more.
2. Rinse the pot and add the rhubarb juice and sugar. Let it slowly simmer until it is reduced into a thin syrup. Remove from heat and pour the syrup into a bottle or a jar and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.

Make the summer buttermilk bowl
1. Scrape out the vanilla beans from the pod. Add 1 Tbsp of sugar and mash the vanilla beans into the sugar. This will prevent the vanilla beans from clumping together.
2. In a bowl whisk together egg yolk, syrup and vanilla sugar. When foamy add the rest of the ingredients and whisk again. Adjust sweetness with rhubarb syrup or more sugar.

Serve the buttermilk bowl with fresh berries and granola or bran flakes.
If you want to serve it as a dessert you can crumble in almond or whole meal biscuits together with the fresh berries. And even a scoop of vanilla ice cream for extra creamy thickness.

Rarbarber koldskål - Rhubarb & buttermilk bowl with fresh summer  berries

  1. This dish is so elegant in its simplicity! Gorgeous photos!

  2. KatarinaKatarina05-23-2013

    It looks so delicious! I love rhubarb. Have a great day!

    • Oh yes me too – and it is amazing that it IS actually a vegetable! Mother earth nailed it again!

  3. SanneSanne05-27-2013

    Åh Jose! Fantastiske retter du laver og totalt proff. til at style on top of that. Husk at tipse mig om kamera, please!
    Knus S.

  4. Looks beautiful and delicious–I love a soupy breakfast. Somehow feels really right, hydrating, easy, luscious.

    • I could not agree more – and this is a wonderful summer breakfast – just does so much good for the body!

  5. AnaAna07-03-2013

    Josephine, thank you for posting a recipe for this danish classic that I love (even straight from the package!) :) I was wondering if one can do something with the mushy rhubarb that is left after boiling? I think I will feel bad throwing it away… :)

    • Oh yes, I can have it from the package as well, think the danish dairy industry is doing a pretty good job producing those :) I actually though about that as well. You could easily add it in cakes, muffins, pancakes etc. Just be aware that it is totally unsweetened so it will need a lot of sugar/ honey. I thought about including it in shakes as well and maybe ice cream, but play around, I am sure it will be no problem :)

  6. Mr. ShannonMr. Shannon11-13-2013

    Love this blog. I was just looking for more information on Danish buttermilk and this popped up. The pictures are making me hungry!

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