Icelandic Language Blog

Celebrating bolla-pastries. Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Icelandic culture, Icelandic customs


Cream Puffs for Bolludagur by Barbara Olson at Flickr.


This is what many parents of small children will shortly hear screamed happily at them while they get beaten up with colourful, decorative wands. Bolludagur, the Day of Bolla (bolla = Icelandic version of choux pastries) is almost here. This year it will be celebrated on the 8th February and the bakeries are already getting ready for it. There may not yet be the amazing selection of flavours and fillings as there’ll be on the day but the classics are already available, especially the simple yet delicious whipped cream & jam filled ones with dark chocolate melted on top. Yes, I have already been sampling some and no doubt by the end of this week I’ll probably be a few kilos heavier than before but no regrets. It’s so worth it.

Like I wrote two years ago, the actual Bolludagur is bordering insanity and will see crowds like you wouldn’t believe in all the local bakeries. People will go through an amazing ordeal just to gain themselves a nice selection of puff pastries, and then afterwards you’ll see them outside balancing huge boxes carefully as they walk, looking suddenly really happy and relaxed. It’s a big change from a moment before when they still were fighting for their turn to buy them, the difference is so obvious that I’ve began to suspect they may in fact enjoy the whole process somehow.


There is however no need to brave the milling crowds at bakeries if you want your profiteroles: you can also bake them yourself! Here’s Hulda’s recipe for them.

Vatnsdeigsbollur (ca 12 st.)

2 dl vatn
80 gr smjör
125 gr hveiti
2-3 egg

Water Dough Pastries (ca 12 pieces)

2 dl water
80 g butter
125 g wheat flour
2-3 eggs

1. Smjör og vatn er sett saman í potti og soðið. Takið pottinn af hellunni og bætið hveitinu saman við og hrærið þar til deigið losnar frá köntunum. Látið kólna.

Butter and water are set into a pot and brought to boil. Take the pot off the stove, add wheat flour and mix until the dough separates from the sides of the bowl. Let cool down.

2. Eggjunum eru bætt út í einu í einu og hrært vel á milli. Ég nota helst handþeytara þó ef þú ert sterk/ur þá getur þú líka hrært sjálf/ur.

Eggs are added one by one and mixed well. I prefer to use a hand mixer but if you’re strong enough you can also mix it by hand.

3. Setjið á bökunarpappír með tveimur skeiðum.

Set blobs of dough on baking sheet with two spoons.

4. Ofninn stilltur á 220° og bollurnar settar í heitan ofn.

Oven is set to 220°C, the pastries should be put in an already heated oven.

5. Ekki má opna ofninn á meðan á bakstri stendur, þá falla bollurnar!

Do not open the oven while baking or the pastries will flatten!

6. Bakið í 15 mín. Þá er hitinn lækkaður í 150° og bakað áfram í 10 mín.

Bake the pastries for 15 min. Then the temperature is set to 150°C and the pastries can bake 10 min more.


After this you cut the pastries open carefully with a sharp knife. The bolla shells can at this point be f.ex. frozen if you don’t plan on eating them right away, but if you (like me) can’t wait it’s time to stuff the bolla with anything and everything you might like. Whipped cream, jam, chocolate, caramel sauce, berries, fruit, jelly, even ice cream, anything you like is the correct filling for a bolla. Bakeries even try to create their own selections nowadays to better stand out: just look at these amazing ones by 17 Sortir here!  Don’t forget to click to see all the photos, they look heavenly.


Bolludagur Wand by Barbara Olson at Flickr.

…wait, did I forget to explain why children try to beat up their parents with the Bolludagur wands? My apologies: they do it to get these pastries. For every successful hit the child gets a bolla so you can imagine they’re quite eager to ambush the grown-ups. 😀

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About the Author: hulda

Hi, I'm Hulda, originally Finnish but now living in the suburbs of Reykjavík. I'm here to help you in any way I can if you're considering learning Icelandic. Nice to meet you!


  1. Helen:

    Looks very naughty but delicious! Thank you for the recipe and the story.
    Can you please tell me what else I will find in the bakeries that I really must try? What sort of bread too? I can remember making a meal of pastries in Denmark, (very,very naughty), and will be looking for tasty things when I come in May! 😉

    • hulda:

      @Helen I would definitely try the kleina! They’re an Icelandic variation of a donut but unlike any donuts I’ve ever tried anywhere else. Ástarþungar are a close relative to the kleina, just in a different shape. I would also try snuður, a local version of the cinnamonroll. Vínarterta is also delicious and wonderful with coffee. Then there’s rye bread and flatbrauð that are also worth trying, the former surprisingly sweet and the latter with a strong taste of smoke (goes wonderfully with anything and everything smoked, of course).

      Annnnd of course Icelandic pancakes! They’re best when eaten fresh off the pan, at which they’re still crispy, with a bit of sugar sprinkled on and the whole thing rolled into a “pancake-cigar”. 😀

  2. Janet:

    Thank you for this! We’re definitely going to try making these tomorrow! If it works, I may just have to make Bolludagur a regular thing for our family. =-)

  3. Janet:

    I personally made sure at least three families in New Hampshire today!

    And the recipe worked great. =-)

    • hulda:

      @Janet I’m very, very glad I’ve managed to spread this tradition outside of Iceland and that the recipe worked for you! 😀 Bolla are so delicious everyone should have them!

  4. Helen:

    Takk fyrir Hulda!