A baker’s delight
What do you do after having worked as a registered nurse at a local clinic for a full day?
Well, this one nurse, who resides near Blooming Prairie, makes rosettes. Alieshia (Alie) Strand is just learning the art and guess who her teacher is.
Her instructor is none other than Gregg Fristedt, owner of one of the most popular bakeries in southern Minnesota, The Bakery of Blooming Prairie.
"Put an apron on," Fristedt ordered as he prepared to teach his daughter the art of making rosettes.
Why was Strand making rosettes after completing a stressful day at the Austin Medical Clinic? "Why? Because it's something he's awesome at and I want to carry on the tradition," she said. "The rosettes are also delicious," she added.
Fristedt chose a cold late October day to make the Scandinavian delight. "It's getting close to Christmas and the orders will be coming in," he remarked.
The Bakery is a leader in preparing rosettes for the Christmas holiday. "We sold over 500 dozen rosettes between Nov. 1 and Christmas last year," Fristedt said.
The Scandinavian cookie is made in batches of 20 dozen and 60 dozen. "We have come up with our own recipe and I am really pleased when they turn out the way they are supposed to," he adds. The rosettes are covered with granulated and powdered sugar.
Rosettes are a Scandinavian pastry treat popular mostly with Norwegians and Swedes, Fristedt says.
Fristedt's first attempt at making rosettes came when he made a rosette wedding cake for a Blooming Prairie couple. The cake contained 200 individual rosettes, Fristedt said. He said his rosette experience came with self-teaching.
His recipe (without giving it away) includes eggs, flour, corn starch, sugar, salt, almond flavoring and milk.
The rosettes are made using intricately designed irons. The iron is heated to a very high temperature in oil, dipped into the batter, then re-immersed in the hot oil to create a crisp shell around the metal.
The frying temperature has to be around 350 degrees, Fristedt told Strand. The iron is immediately removed and the rosette is separated from the iron.
The Bakery route is not totally foreign to Strand. "She fills in occasionally and fries donuts," Fristedt said. Her children (Gregg's grandchildren) also help out in The Bakery. Learning the trade are Payton Strand, 16; Carson Strand, 14 and Landon Strand, 6.
Strand's indoctrination to rosette making began with her cracking eggs for the batter. Fristedt then instructed her on stirring the batter in a huge commercial mixer. He instructed her to use three-fourths of a gallon of milk in the batter.
When the batter was believed ready, he brought out two irons containing molds for five rosettes each. The design is a snowflake pattern, he said.
Fristedt displayed a soft touch in dipping the irons into the thin batter and then placing them into the hot oil. Using his eye as a timer, he would remove the perfectly made rosettes.
Strand caught on very quickly and had a few accidents with the rosette falling off the iron before it was to removed from the hot oil. Fristedt rescued her by dipping into the oil to get the straying snowflakes. "No harm done," he smiled.
"Rosettes have become family favorites since we started working here," Strand admitted. Fristedt and Strand made 23 dozen during one hour of work in The Bakery's kitchen. These rosettes were sold at the Owatonna Hospital Auxiliary Bazaar last weekend.
Typically, Fristedt uses two gallons of milk to make the batter which will result in creating 75 dozen rosettes.
"It takes practice," Strand admitted. "You will have plenty of opportunity to make more," he interjected. "You make it look easier than it is," she complimented her father.
"Don't break them," cautioned Diane Jensen, a mainstay at The Bakery who usually sugars the rosettes.