Culture
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Great Moments In Icelandic Cuisine: Kleinur

Great Moments In Icelandic Cuisine: Kleinur

Noemi Ehrat
Words by
Photos by
Stock Image

Published August 9, 2018

Have you ever wondered what that delicious twisted pastry is, often served to complement a standard cup of coffee? Sometimes branded as “Icelandic doughnuts,” kleinur – kleina, in singular – are made from the familiar base of flour, sugar, butter and eggs, but with sour milk and a pinch of cardamom, which gives them their unique taste.

Number one Icelandic food

Also unique is the kleinur’s appearance, as it is made by cutting a hole into the pastry and pulling one end through it before frying, resulting in their twisted appearance. In fact, Kleinur are so popular among locals and tourists that in 2017 Business Insider listed them as the number one food to try in Iceland, even before famous Icelandic delicacy of rotten shark (perhaps unsurprisingly to locals, as no Icelander under the age of 50 eats that).

Support your local bakery

Kleinur can be bought in cafés, gas stations, supermarkets and grocery stores all around the country. While the kleinur in Bónus are okay, they can be a little dry—you should definitely go to a local bakery and buy them fresh to fully engage your taste buds and enjoy every bite.

If you’re really ambitious—or you’re practicing for the first Great Icelandic Bake Off—you could also try making them yourself. Most families have their own recipes, but you can find some of them here, here, or here. The Grapevine does not take responsibility for disappointing outcomes, bursts of anger while baking, or any living creatures and/or kitchen appliances hurt during the process. Good luck!

Read more great moments in Icelandic cuisine here.


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