Sure, the holidays can be a rowdy and boisterous affair with the family; perhaps you can have no festivities without grandma’s apricot half-moons or Uncle Bob’s eggnog.
But what about the celebrations at the office? Maybe this is an occasion when you can introduce something different that says something about your interest. Or why not teach your children about your (and their) heritage by cooking something Scandinavian? Whether you want to impress your colleagues with an elegant herring sampler or want to make Scandinavian-style candy, here’s a selection of some favorite Christmas recipes. (The classic Janssons Temptation recipe and one for Gravlax, the recipe) More on Christmas in Scandinavia
Most Scandinavian countries have some glögg variation (the mulled wine served with almonds and raisins) on their tables for Christmas. You’ll also see juleøl (Christmas beer) and julmust (or julebrus) – a soft drink alternative to alcoholic beverages. There’s also mumma, a mix of ale, wine and soda such as ginger ale.
Special accessories, outside of the normal kitchen utensils...
Lefse griddles can be bought online at http://www.kitchenkrafts.com
Æbleskivepans can be bought online at http://www.aebleskiver.com
As for the food itself well, you'll find ample suppliers both in the newspaper and right here, online, among our advertisers. As for sweets, you'll find a number of recipes here: Swedish Christmas Treats
Root Vegetable Casserole (Jouluinen juureslaatikko) from Finland
1 small rutabaga
4 – 5 carrots
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbs molasses
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
Cook the peeled and diced vegetables in salted water until tender. Pour out the liquid and mash. Add cream, breadcrumbs, eggs, molasses and seasonings. Stir well and pour into a greased oven casserole. Cook at 200 degrees Celsius for 1 – 1 1/2hours.
Red Wine Glögg (Punaviiniglögi) from Finland
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
piece of ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1 bottle of red wine
Boil the sugar and seasonings in water for approximately 10 minutes. Strain out the seasonings and pour the liquid back into the saucepan. Bring to boil and add red wine. Heat up again but do not allow the Glogg to boil. Pour into Glogg glasses and serve hot.
Orange and Cardamom Glögg (Appelsiini-kardemummaglögi) from Finland
For 6 portions:
1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
1/3 cup sugar
1 bottle of white wine (demi-sec)
1 sliced carambola for decoration
Crush cardamom seeds and peel the oranges. Place the orange peel, cardamom, sugar and 1/4 cup of white wine in a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes. Allow the liquid to cool and then cover with foil and store in a cool place over night. Strain the orange peel and cardamom from the liquid and then slowly heat up the spiced wine together with the remaining white wine. Do not allow the Glogg to boil.
Mixed Fruit Soup (Sekahedelmäkeitto) from Finland
200 gr dried mix fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, figs)
4 cups water
3 tbs sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbs potato starch
Rinse the mixed fruit in cold water. Allow the fruit to soak for a few hours in water containing some sugar. Boil the fruit in the sugar-water liquid until tender. Dissolve the potato starch in a drop of cold water and pour into the soup in a thin stream, whilst continuously stirring. Bring to boil and pour into a serving bowl and allow the soup to cool. Sprinkle with sugar.
Æbleskiver(Apple Dumplings) from Denmark
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In medium bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; set aside. In large bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Add all remaining ingredients except egg whites. Beat until smooth. Fold in egg whites until well blended.
Heat aebleskiver pan over medium heat until drops of water sizzle. Using about 1 tablespoon batter fill greased cups in aebleskiver pan about half full. Cook until lightly browned on bottom (2 to 3 minutes); turn with fork or knitting needle. Continue cooking until browned on bottom (2 to 3 minutes). Balls are done when wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Roll in sugar; serve hot. 35 pancake balls.
Can add a dab of jam or fruit just before turning the aebleskiver over.
Rice à l’Impératrice (Ris à la mande) from Denmark
1 cup rice
4-8 tbs sugar
1 1/2 – 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 tsp almond extract or to taste
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups whipped cream
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Mix sugar, salt and dissolved gelatin and let cool. Add the whipped cream and almond extract. Put in a bowl and chill until fairly firm. Serve with cherry sauce and sprinkle with nuts as desired.
Duck with Apples and Prunes (And med æbler og svesker) from Denmark
duck (3000 g)
1 tsp salt
150 g prunes
3 cups of water
3 tbsp duck fat
2 tbsp flour
Rub the duck with salt. Fill it with apple slices and prunes and close it with meat pins. Place the duck on a grid over a dripping pan and place giblets and neck in the pan. Roast the duck for 2½ - 3 hours at 320 F, for the first 45 mins with the back upwards. After 45 mins, the fat is poured away and the water added. The duck can be browned later if it is not crisp, roast for approx. 10 mins at 435F. Check that it is thoroughly done. Leave to rest for approx. 20 mins in the turned-off oven before it is carved.
Pour away the gravy and skim it of fat. Melt the duck fat for the sauce in a saucepan. Stir in the flour. Gradually whip in the gravy. Boil the sauce for a few minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with potatoes, both white and caramelised, sour-sweet red cabbage, pickled large cucumbers or gherkins, jam or halved steamed apples with jelly.
Icelandic Christmas Cake (Jólakaka) from Iceland
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon cardamom flavored extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 11 inch loaf pan. Cream the butter or margarine and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at time beating well after each one. Stir in the milk, lemon and cardamom flavorings. Stir in the flour and the baking powder. Sift a little flour over the raisins then stir them into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes.
Lead Bread (Laufabraud) from Iceland
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
vegetable oil for frying
Heat the milk and butter in a pan to just below a boil. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Pour the milk mix into the center and stir. The dough will be very stiff. Turn onto a floured cloth and knead thoroughly. Cover with a clean, dampened kitchen towel and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 5 portions. Keep the towel on top of the ones you aren't working on. Roll as thin as possible, a heavy rolling pin is essential. You should be able to almost see through the dough. Place a small dinner plate or a pan lid (about 7 inches) on top of the rolled-out dough and cut dough into a circle. Fold the dough in half and use a knife or scissors to cut slits in the dough in a pattern. (The way you made snowflakes from construction paper as a child). Pull the slits open and press to the back side of the dough, or simply cut away the pieces of dough and fry them as snacks after you've made the leaf bread.
In a deep frying pan, heat oil 1/2 inch deep over medium-high heat. When oil is just starting to smoke, gently slide a bread into the oil. When it rises to surface, turn over and cook for about 30 seconds more, or until just turning golden. Drain on paper towels. Store in dry, airtight container. Makes 5 breads.
Mutton Soup(Kjötsupa) from Iceland
2 lbs mutton, cut in chunks
6 cups water
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 head of white cabbage, chopped
4-5 carrots, sliced
1 lbs rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup rice
1 tbs salt
Cover the mutton with the water in a large casserole, add salt and bring to a boil. Skim off the fat and cook for 30 minutes, then add the vegetables and rice. Allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mutton, serve separately with potatoes. You will need a large serving bowl for the soup.
Crullers (Kleinur) from Iceland
4 cups flour
8 oz sugar
2 oz margarine
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk
Combine margarine and flour and add other dry ingredients. Make a well in the flour and add the milk, egg, and extract. Knead well to make a smooth dough and roll it out to finger thickness. Cut into diamonds and make a diagonal slit in the middle of each and pull one end through the slit. Deep fry until golden brown.
Lefse from Norway
3 cups riced potatoes
6 Tablespoons margarine
2 Tablespoons cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
Boil potatoes in salted water. Rice them and measure 3 cups. Add margarine, cream and sugar while the potatoes are still hot, Mix well. Let stand overnight. Add flour when ready to bake. Bake on lefse iron at 500 degrees. When brown spots show, turn and bake on other side. Makes 1 dozen.
Marzipan pigs (Masipangris) from Norway
1 cup almond paste
2 egg whites
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, knead almond paste to soften. Mix in egg whites. Knead in confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time. Add vanilla. Knead until marzipan feels like heavy pie dough.
Wrap tightly in plastic, and store in refrigerator in a sealed container. To use after storage, let stand at room temperature until soft, then knead briefly and shape into piglets.
Dried mutton ribs (Pinnekjøtt) from Norway
3 lbs mutton ribs
Separate the ribs and place in cold water overnight. Put a grate or birch twigs at the bottom of a casserole and cover in water. Put the ribs in and steam at medium heat until the meat loosens from the bone.
Serve with mashed swedes, boiled potatoes, French mustard and red whortleberry jam.
Lutefisk from Norway
2-3 lbs lutefisk
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
Cut lutefisk into serving pieces, rinse and drain well. Place the fish skin side down in one layer of heavy foil and sprinkle with salt. Bring foil around and make a fold in it. Fold up ends and seal. Place in a shallow glass pan on a rake, seam up and bake at 325F for at least an hour. Cut corner and drain out excess water. Serve with melted butter.
Christmas ham (Julskinka) and Dopp-i-grytan from Sweden
1 lb salt-cured fresh ham
2 tbs mustard
1 tbs sugar
3 tbs breadcrumbs
Depending on the method of salt curing, you might have to leave the ham overnight covered in water to desalt it. Preheat over to 240F and insert an over thermometer in the thickest part of the ham. Leave it in the oven until temperature reaches 167F. Remove the rind carefully and as much of the fat as you choose. Heat the oven to 450F. Mix egg, mustard, and sugar. Place the ham on a roasting pan, cover it with the mixture and sift the breadcrumbs over it. They should stick to the egg-mixture. Bake the ham fro 10 minutes in the oven. It should have a golden color when ready with a few brown but no black patches. You can decorate in by inserting 20 cloves into the top of the ham in a criss-cross pattern.
You can also boil the ham instead of roasting it. If you boil it, be sure to save the water, keep it warm, put it in a pot on the table and dip bread slices in it – that’s the dopp-i-grytan. Enjoy it with mustard and ham.
Beet root salad (Rödbetssallad) from Sweden
8-10 pickled red beet roots (pickled in vinegar)
8-10 cold boiled potatoes
1/2 pickled gherkin
1 yellow onion
salt and black pepper to taste
Chop in small cubes, mix together, color with some of the red pickling vinegar from the pickled beet roots, spice with salt and pepper after individual taste. Serve with sour cream.
You may decorate with hard boiled eggs if you want.
Saffron buns (Lussekatter) from Sweden
1 3/4 sticks butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
.06 ounces saffron threads
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
6 (.25-ounce) packages yeast
1 cup 2 percent low-fat milk, warm
2 eggs, beaten separately
1 teaspoon salt
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup raisins
Combine melted butter and cream. Crush saffron with 1 tablespoon sugar in a mortar until very fine. Combine yeast, milk and 2 tablespoons sugar; let stand 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy. Add butter mixture, saffron mixture, 1 of the beaten eggs and salt to yeast mixture. Stir well. Add remaining sugar. Add 6 cups flour; stir until a stiff dough forms. Turn mixture out onto a floured surface; knead about 10 minutes, adding additional flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a large bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 475F. Knead dough and divide into 24 pieces. Shape each into an S shape. Place 2 raisins at ends of buns. Let rise 1 hour. Brush with remaining beaten egg. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until browned. Yield: 24 buns.
Gingerbread cookies (Pepparkakor) fromSweden
2.5 sticks of butter
0.6 lbs of sugar
1.3 cups of golden syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
5.4 cups of flour
1.5 tbsp of baking soda
Heat up syrup, sugar and spices. Let the mix cool down. Add baking soda, then add butter. Add the eggs. Add the flour, a little at a time (be careful not to use too much since the cookies will be dry). Roll out a piece of dough on top of a floured sheet and cut out figures. Bake for approximately 5 minutes at 392ºF.