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Kärleksmums or Snoddas or Mocha Squares

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

I can promise you that no matter which Swedish café you’ll enter, they will most probably have kärleksmums. It’s a typical Swedish cake, which translates to the cute name love yummies. In the book Sju sorters kakor (Swedish cakes and cookies, which you can win here) they are called Snoddas and some people even call them Mocha Squares, but I’ve always called them love yummies becuase that’s what they are :-) They are not as rich and dense as the rather similar chocolate gingerbread from Nigella; but they are much lighter and have a rather mild chocolate taste. I really like the frosting and my mother often use the frosting from this recipe on other cakes and cookies.

    Kärleksmums / Snoddas / Mocha Squares
    (makes 30-35 pieces. Recipe from “Sju sorters kakor” aka “Swedish cakes and cookies)

    cake:
    150 gram butter
    2 eggs
    300 ml caster sugar
    2 tsp vanilla sugar
    1 tbsp cocoa, sifted
    450 ml flour
    2 tsp baking soda
    150 ml milk

    frosting:
    75 gram butter
    2 tsp cold coffee
    1 tbsp cocoa, sifted
    2 tsp vanilla sugar
    350 ml icing sugar

    garniture:
    shredded coconut

    Heat the oven to 175 degrees C.

    Melt the butter and let it cool. Whip the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients varied with the milk and the butter. Pour the batter into a buttered and breaded rectangular pan, about 30 X 40 cm.

    Bake the cake in the lower part of the oven for about 15 minutes but not too long as you don’t want a dry cake.

    Let the cake cool. In the meantime melt the butter for the frosting. Add the remaining ingredients. Spread the frosting over the cake and sprinkle a lot of shredded coconot. Cut the cake in squares.

Lussekatter or Lucia cats or Saffron buns

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Yesterday was the first sunday of Advent. Christmas is getting closer and closer and it’s time to get into that Christmas mode. We bought new Advent star lights for our windows which we hang up, we baked ginger bread cookies and we started on building a ginger bread cookie house which we’ll finish this evening. And for our Advent breakfast I baked Lussekatter which means Lucia Cats. They are basically S formed Saffron buns which are very common in Sweden before Christmas and especially on Lucia day. I always use the same recipe, the one from Arla which contains quark (Kesella) as it makes the buns moist and nice. I really recommend this recipe, the saffron buns becomes very moist and juicy, far from the dry ones found in stores. The only thing I’ve changed about the recipe is that I add more saffron, which both I and Fredrik like a lot.

    Lussekatter

    50 g fresh yeast
    100 g butter
    500 ml milk
    250 g Kesella lätt (quark)
    1.5 g saffron (3 Swedish “bags” of saffron).
    150 ml caster sugar
    abour 1700 ml flour

    For garnishing:
    raisins

    For brushing:
    1 beaten egg

    Melt butter in a pan and add the milk. Make sure that the mixture is lukewarm (37 degrees C). Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast. Mix and then add the remaining ingredients. Work the dough so it becomes smooth and nice. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 40 minutes.

    Knead the dough, divide it into 32 pieces. Form each piece of dough into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a double S. Place 2 raisins at the ends of each bun. Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them rise for 30 minutes.

    Brush the buns with the egg and then bake them in the oven at 225 degrees C, about 5-8 minutes until they are golden brownish yellow.

Knedle ze śliwkami (dumplings with plums)

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Many countries have their own versions of potato based dumplings; kroppkakor in Sweden, Klöße in Germany, Knödeln in Austria and so on. In Poland there are many dumpling variants made of boiled potatoes. We have the ones with savoury filling “Pyzy“, the sweet ones “knedle” and “kopytka” which are not filled with anything at all. Some people would probably want to add “pierogi” to the above dumpling list, but their dough normally doesn’t contain any boiled potatoes (apart from the filling) so they don’t really belong here.

Knedle ze śliwkami is typical Polish sweet dish, often eaten as a sweet dinner. The Polish kitchen isn’t always healthy… :-) Normally the dumpling dough is made of boiled potatoes, but I found a variant made out of quark (my middlename should be quark…) on the Polish food forum which I read. The result was excellent, and even Fredrik really liked these dumplings.

Knedle ze śliwkami
(makes 12, serves 4)

Dough:
250 gr quark (don’t use Kesella as it’s too runny; I made my own quark)
1 egg
120-130 gr flour
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Filling:
12 small sweet plums
12 tsp caster sugar

For serving:
melted butter
caster sugar
cinnamon


Wash the plums, pat dry and stone by cutting a gash. Stuff each plum with one teaspoon of sugar.

Boil water in a large pot.


Prepare dough in a bowl by mixing all ingredients. Work dough until firm, if the dough is too sticky add some flour. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, then flatten each piece with your hands and wrap it around each plum.

The plums should be completely covered with dough.


Put the knedle in boiling water, 6 at a time or less depending of the size of your pot. When they start floating carefully boil for about 8 minutes until you think that the plums are soft. Take out the dumplings carefully with a slotted spoon. Pour melted butter over the knedle and sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon.

How to make your own quark-curd

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Quark-curd

Quark is a kind of soft cream cheese often used in Polish recipes and you’vre probably noticed that I use it a lot, especially in cheesecakes as I’m used to eastern european cheesecakes with quark instead of cream cheese. The problem is that in Sweden we only have Kesella. Kesella works rather well in some recipes but for most dishes it’s just too watery and runny. Some dishes calls for compact quark, and that you solve by making it yourself. This is just the base recipe, when you’re done you can use this homemade quark in cheesecakes (maybe a Tiramisù cheesecake or raspberry cheesecake brownies, pierogi (a sort of Polish tortellini), pancakes (either Polish ones or pancakes that melt in your mouth) or other dishes. Or you can just add some of your favourite spices and put it on a piece of bread together with some tomato slices and you have yourself a delicious sandwich. In day or two I will post another great dish which calls for this homemade quark.

Quark-curd
(makes about 400 gr)

2 litres of filmjölk 3% (Kefir should work as well)


Pour the filmjölk into an ovenproof container.


Heat the oven to 100 degrees C. Put the container into the oven for about 1 hour.


It’s done when the quark-curd has thickened slightly and begun to separate from the whey. Be aware that you need to carefully stir with a spoon to see if the whey has separated or not.


Cover a large sieve with a clean kitchen towel (sterilized with boiling water!) and pour everything in the container onto the towel. Let drain for at least 1 hour, preferably longer.

Then take the whole kitchen towel and try to drain the last by hand, squeezing firmly. Keep the quark-curd in the fridge until you need it.


Quark-curd, ready to eat.

National Day

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

National Day Pastry
Swedish National Day pastry

I’m a bad food blogger, instead of baking my own Swedish National pastries today on the Swedish National Day I sent Fredrik to buy two ones from Hemköp. They had a a suspicious list of contents, but they were actually pretty OK. Next year I’ll make my own ones though, they’re not so complicated to make, they basically consist of almond paste and Strawberries.

Ćwikła

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
Tarte buraki z chrzanem
Grated beetroots with horseradish

Ćwikła isn’t quite easy to pronounce so I’ve always just called it buraki, because that’s what is is. Buraki simpy means beetroots and this is a typical Polish condiment, served with roast or any kind of smoked meat or sausage. It is a must on the holiday table, regardless if it’s Christmas or Easter. Ćwikła basically consists of grated beetroots and horseradish. I prefer it with as much horseradish as possible, really hot and nice. Make a try next time you’ll make a Sunday roast!

    Dagmar’s buraki
    (makes 1 jar)

    800 gr beetroots
    20 gr (or even more) horseradish
    5 tbsp lemon juice
    0.5- 1 tbsp Maldon Sea Salt

    Clean the beetroots but don’t peel them. Boil them in water for about 1 hour, until they’re soft. Let the beetroots cool and them peel them. Grate the beetroots as finely as you can, myself I use my parmesan microplain. Just be careful not to get any nasty stains! Grate the horseradish aswell and mix it with the beetroots. Add the lemon juice and the salt. Taste. Add more horseradish if needed, this dish is supposed to be stingy. Fill up a hot sterilized jar with the mixture and keep in the fridge.

Grate the beetroots carefully

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

Swienconka

Happy Easter!! I’m on my way to church now, with a small basket. Every year, on Holy Saturday we go to church to bless our Easter food. We prepare a Swienconka (Easter Basket), which contains samples of the Easter food. Each family decorate the basket in their own way and the most common contents of the basket are salt, pepper, bread, horseradish and boiled and painted eggs. But there are many variations. I love this tradition which is only common among Eastern European Roman-Catholics. When I was I child I put a lot of effort in painting the eggs for the basket. This year I tried to be effective and put food colour in the boiling water, but all the eggs remained white :-) For more information about possible contents in the basket, read my post from last year.

For the first time in my life I’m not celebrating with my family in Gothenburg, but one good thing is that I and Fredrik will visit his old Grandmother and we will bring Easter food, Västerbotten pie and Rhubarb cake with us. She’s really looking forward to us coming and I’m sure we’ll have a nice time. But now I have to run to the oven so that the cake won’t get burned and then we’re off to church. Happy Easter!

Shrove Tuesday: Semla

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Semlor
Semlor (I still havn’t unpacked my battery charger for the camera so you have to stand with the cell phone photos)

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, and in Sweden we have a tradition eating a special bun called Semla on this day. It is a plain wheat bun with cardamom filled with whipped cream and almond paste. There’s a long story behind this bun, and I have to admit that I don’t know all about it even though I just bought a book called “History book for cookie lovers” (in Swedish though) where there’s a lot of history to read, including the history behind and about the Semla. The Semla is eaten in many nordic countries, with a few modifications and other names. For example you can read about Pille’s Estonian Vastlakuklid here.

Anyway, you either go to the nearest bakery and buy a Semla (which nowadays can be found from New Year’s to Easter) or you bake them yourself. Yesterday evening I did my own ones, for the first time. The bun is easy to do and was excellent, but I wasn’t quite happy with my almond mixture. I did my own almond paste, but as I don’t have any kitchen mill I first grated the almonds in my food processor and then I used the food processor knife. I didn’t get the almond paste as fine as I wanted but it was sufficient. I also (as usual) havn’t found my kitchen scales in any of the unpacked boxes yet so I just used the deciliter measure, even though I prefer to weigh my ingredients.

    Semlor
    (12 ones)

    Buns:
    100 g butter
    300 ml milk
    1.5 tsp cardamom
    50 g fresh yeast
    a pinch of salt
    100 ml caster sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp baking powder
    900-1200 ml of plain wheat flour (about 540 g-720 g)

    To brush on the buns:
    1 egg + a small amount of water

    Almond paste:
    200 g sweet Almonds
    120 ml icing sugar
    1 drop of bitter almond extract

    To the Almond mixture:
    100 ml milk, hot

    Decoration:
    500 ml double /whipping cream
    Icing sugar

    Melt the butter and combine with the milk. Make sure that the mixture has the right temperature, which is 37 degrees C.

    Crumble the yeast in a large bowl or a kitchen aid. Add the milk and egg mixture and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add cardamom, sugar, salt, egg, milk, butter and baking powder, and combine. Then start to add the flour while you work with the dough. Make sure not to use too much flour. Knead the dough until it’s smooth. Then let the dough rise in its bowl for about 45 minutes.

    When the dough has risen enough, knead it again and add more flour if needed. Shape 12 round balls that you put on 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them rise for about 45 minutes or until they have doubled in size. Beat the egg and add some water, then brush the buns with the mixture. Bake in the oven (225 degrees C) for 8 minutes, make sure not to burn them. I baked both baking sheets at the same time as I nowadays have a fan oven (yay!! ) Let the buns cool.

    AlmondsNow it’s time to start with the almond paste. Blanche the almonds by boiling them for 3 minutes. Drain off the water and slip the skins off by squeezing the almonds between your thumb and fingers. Be careful as they really are slippery! If you have a kitchen mill, then use it. If you don’t, first grate the almonds in a food processor and then use the food processor knife so that you get a very fine mixture. Now add the icing sugar and the bitter almond. Mix some more. Add some drops of water so that the almond paste binds together.

    Plain bun with a hole!When the buns have cooled completely it’s time to assemble them. Cut off a small lid on top of the 12 buns. Put the lids aside. Scoop out the crumbs from the buns, making a small hole. Mix the crumbs with the almond paste and the hot milk. If the mixture is too firm you can add some more milk and also some more icing sugar if it isn’t sweet enough. Whip the cream, but absolutely not to hard. You don’t want the semlor to taste like butter. Add a pinch of vanilla sugar to the cream.

    Cut the 12 lids, which you earlier put aside, so that they become triangular.

    Fill the buns with the almond mixture, about 2 tbsp for each bun. Now put some whipped cream on each bun and top it with a triangular lid. Sift each bun with icing sugar. Enjoy!!

Dagmar’s tip: Yesterday when I baked, I only assemled 4 semlor. The rest of the buns I put in the freezer so I easily can assemble more Semlor when I want, without having to bake new buns.