Swedish Dreams

d6I have a dream…So simple yet so powerful. Dreams are what keep us going, give us hope. Sometimes easy to forget, yet without them there would be no change. We’d be lost. These Swedish cookies have been given this name for a reason. Dröm. Dream. They encourage you, just for a brief moment, to pause and reflect over the meaning of the word before taking your first bite. This is where you realize why this nondescript-looking creation was given such a powerful title. They are white as snow, a crunchy fluffiness difficult to describe. As it vanishes in your mouth you are left with a velvety smooth taste of vanilla. You will most likely close your eyes and let your mind pay full attention to this decadent and short lived dream. I dare you to eat a whole cookie without licking your lips.

d4150g butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ammonium bicarbonate

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 300F.

In a blender, on medium speed, whisk butter and sugar until light and airy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the oil and vanilla. Sift ammonium bicarbonate and flour into a bowl then slowly, while whisking on medium-low speed add to the butter mixture. Blend well then stop.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and kneed into a ball. 

Pinch pieces of dough and roll into 1″ size balls. Place, 2″ apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 min. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

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Rustic Oven Baked Pancake

rp8Brunch. I love that word. For me it’s tied with fun times with friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Almost festive. This Swedish oven baked pancake is a wonderful option next time you have friends staying for the weekend. Traditionally chunks of bacon are added to the batter before baking, although I prefer it without. The reason being has nothing to do with taste or flavour. Serving it plain gives you the opportunity to consume it savoury or sweet. A side of fried bacon or sausages drizzled with maple syrup is a mouth watering salty option. Whipped cream and strawberry or blueberry jam with a dusting of icing sugar is ideal for the sweet tooth. It’s easy to make and its moon landscape surface is sure to make a longer lasting impression than the more common flat pancake.

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3 cups milk

1 1/3 cups flour

5 eggs

pinch of salt and sugar.

Butter

Pre-heat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, sift the flour into the milk and whisk together until a smooth mixture forms. 

Add the eggs, salt and sugar and keep whisking until well blended.

Pour into a buttered 11”X17” baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes or until browned and bubbles have formed. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

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Dream Squares

dr4 Drömtårta, or Dream Cake is a real classic at the Swedish coffee table. Did you know that traditionally, Fika, the Swedish word for coffee with dip, includes seven different kinds of cookies? More about that in another post. Drömtårta is often made sure to make an appearance as one of the seven. This was one of my favourites growing up. Traditionally it is served in a rolled-up version, just like the Budapest Roll in an earlier post, then cut into 1″ pieces. Today I decided to turn it into bite size squares for a change. A very decadent, hint of vanilla filling, wrapped in a fluffy subtle chocolate cake. It is as good with a glass of milk as with a nice hot cup of java. Your choice. This recipe calls for all purpose flour but feel free to substitute it with potato flour for a gluten-free version. It works just as well.

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Cake:

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp cacao

1 tsp baking powder

Filling:

100g butter, room temperature

2/3 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

Preheat oven to 480F.

With a blender, whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour, cacao and baking powder into a bowl then slowly, while whisking on medium-low speed add to the egg mixture. Blend well but make sure not to over beat the batter. 

Line a 11″x17″ baking sheet with parchment paper then pour batter. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 5 min, or until cake is set.

On a rack, place another sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle with sugar and flip the cake on top of the sugared paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper from the cake. Let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the filling. Spread evenly over the cooled cake. Cut the cake in half, crosswise, then flip on side over the other – filling agains filling. Cut into bite size squares. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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Budapest Roll

b7I was quite spoiled growing up. Having a stay at home mom who baked and cooked everything from scratch had its perks. I’m sure I wasn’t always appreciative about it though. I mean, why couldn’t we have tasteless store bought loaves of bread like most of my friends? I do now, however, look back at it all with very fond memories and a lot of gratitude. Breads, cookies, cakes and jams as well as all kinds of food. One of my all time favourites and a real treat was “Budapestrulle”. A melt-in-your-mouth meringue and hazelnut roll with whipped cream and mandarins. Originally created by Swedish pastry chef Ingvar Strid in the 1950’s. It has, surprisingly, no resemblance to Hungary’s capital Budapest. It is quite easy to make although you might need to take a deep breath before rolling it up. I guarantee you will love it. In this recipe I have substituted the hazelnuts with almonds which works just as well.

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6 egg whites

1 1/3 cup sugar

150g ground almonds

1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

2 cans mandarin oranges

Dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar while beating the egg whites on low speed. With the use of a spatula, carefully fold in the ground almonds and vanilla with the egg whites. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 min, or until set. You can check by poking it with a toothpick. If it comes out dry, it’s ready. Move meringue and parchment paper to a drying rack and let cool completely. While meringue is cooling, drain the mandarin slices. They need to be fairly dry before being put on the cake.

Flip the cake upside down onto a new sheet of parchment paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper (brush it with warm water if it doesn’t loosen). Spread the whipped cream over the bottom of the cake. Place the mandarin slices evenly on top of the cream.

Now comes the tricky part. The rolling. Don’t panic if it cracks or start to break. Place the long side of the cake in front of you and start rolling it. Don’t press too hard (you’ll end with an empty roll of meringue and a pile of whipped cream and mandarines in front of it if you do.) I find using the parchment paper helps the rolling ones you get started (hold on to the paper rather then the cake). Remember not to press too hard. Once rolled up make sure the edge of the roll is facing down.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle on top. A dusting of icing sugar is pretty as well. Cut diagonally in a zig-zag pattern so that you end up with triangular pieces.

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Swedish Cheese Tart

ct3ct2Pies and tarts are two things I will never grow tired of. The options for the filling are endless. Sweet or savoury, it doesn’t matter. This Swedish inspired Cheese Tart is more delicate than your regular quiche. There’s no ham, so vegetarians can rejoice and enjoy. A great option for a light week night dinner or to be served at a weekend luncheon. Would you feel the need for meat, prosciutto is a great side. I serve it with a dollop of sour cream, arugula lettuce and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze.

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Crust:

200 g sifted flour

100 g unsalted, cold butter.

1 egg

pinch of salt

2 tbsp ice water

 

Filling:

3 Eggs

300g Shredded Cheese, such as Gruyère or other hard, nutty cheese.

3/4 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp finely chopped tarragon

Pinch of salt (not too much, the cheese will add saltiness as well)

Pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Crust:

Add the flour to a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour along with the egg. Pulse a few times and add one tablespoon of ice water at a time. Keep pulsing until it forms a ball of dough. It shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 seconds. You may need a third table spoon of ice water.

Remove the dough and flatten the ball somewhat. Dust with flour, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to rest. It is important not to over manipulate the dough to ensure flakiness.

Roll the dough and line a pie shell, prick it with a fork then bake blind for 10-12 min.

Filling:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, and bake in the lower part of the oven for 30-35 min, or until tart is set and has a nice golden colour. Let it cool slightly before serving. Serves 6-8.

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