This year, learn how to make your own beloved Swedish classic! c’mon be a little Swedish! These sweet buns are eaten until Easter, so you have time!
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine made a traditional Swedish dish called fläskpannkaka, or pork pancake. I’ve read about this food before and was curious about it because it seemed very simple and easy to make in addition to something that Swedes love to eat!
It’s not just regular pancakes with pork, but instead a thicker version baked in the oven. The fläskpannkaka I ate was thinner and had spinach in it and I’ve read other recipes with parsley or other spices to give it a little different flavor and add some color. Below is the basic traditional way to make fläskpannkaka, enjoy!!
We used two different types of pork, as we didn’t have enough of either. Bacon works great, but the pork you’re supposed to use is called “rimmat fläsk” or “salted pork.” Many people prefer to bake the bacon or pork for 10-15 minutes instead of frying it by using the same pan as its going to be cooked in. Four eggs, 2.5 cups (6 dl) milk, and 1.5 cup (3.5 dl) flour with a sprinkle of salt and sugar into the batter.
Figures that the first time I host my own Thanksgiving dinner, I’m in a country that doesn’t celebrate it! My first year away from my family traditions and celebrations, I wanted to start my own – so I brought Thanksgiving to Sweden, to share it with my Swedish family.
Turkey nails for the occasion
On The Menu:
Turkey & Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, String Bean Casserole, Cauliflower Casserole, Fruit & Walnut Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Pumpkin Cookies, Cannoli Cups, Mulled Apple Cider
Eight over-sized American dishes I’ve never cooked before for seven new Swedish family members who have never tasted my cooking? No Pressure! It’s not as if I only started cooking a year ago and have hardly stepped foot in a kitchen before then or something… No Problem! Thankfully my husband helped me through it all, my mother-in-law made sure the turkey was cooked and made the gravy, and my sister-in-law brought the apple pie and vanilla sauce.
Chopping nuts and veggies at 9 am, handling a knife this early is just not safe!
My Swedish Thanksgiving breakfast.
Initially I thought celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving in Sweden would be hard to do, as Turkeys aren’t really sold here, but about a month ago I was shocked to see a small part of the freezer in Hemköp filled with small-medium sized turkeys! And about a week later, it was empty. I guess there are other American expats out there! Thankfully my in-laws were able to buy one in time. The store “defrosted” it for us for three days – but it was still half frozen!
We placed the turkey in the cold laundry room with the window open overnight, while it was brining in a pot of water, salt, sugar, and spices. After it didn’t fit in the refrigerator we didn’t know were to put it! I’ll never forget my husband running around with a huge turkey pot, “New Plan! New Plan!”
One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the canned cranberry sauce. I asked my cousin to mail a can, but neither of us thought that it was worth the $13 shipping. I spotted fresh cranberries two weeks ago, thought it was normal, and didn’t rush to buy any. When they were gone, my husband said he has never seen them being sold fresh before. Luckily we found frozen cranberries and I made my own. It was easier than I thought: cranberries, water, orange juice, white & brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt & pepper. Tasty tasty.
I was tempted to buy an extra pumpkin after Halloween, because canned pumpkin isn’t sold here in Sweden and I thought I would have to make my own if we were to have a traditional pumpkin dessert. Then, I heard rumors of it being stocked in the international section of MAXI. I made Pumpkin cookies instead of pumpkin pie; they were gobbled up quickly, being compared to different sorts of Christmas cookies. I also made a batch of cannoli cups, which were a hit.
My cousin sent me a care package with some Thanksgiving essentials like a turkey baster and French’s fried onions – without which, a classic dish would have been missing (Yes, I added bacon):
She also sent festive turkey napkins and paper plates. The decorations pulled it all together.
As soon as we arrived I realized I forgot the marshmallows at home. THE MARSHMALLOWS! A Thanksgiving tragedy, I thought – our poor sweet potatoes! Seeing as I already cut out half of the sugar and mixed in white potatoes to make this dish more “Swedish” the lack of marshmallows was probably a good thing.
When we started talking about celebrating Thanksgiving one of the first questions was, “Are we going to stuff the turkey??” Having seen Thanksgiving celebrated on T.V and movies, I guess this part of the meal was a staple for my Swedish family’s knowledge of the holiday. At first I said “Sure!” which lead to a bit of disappointment when I decided not to do it, as it can be potentially dangerous, too salty, and too much work for a first timer.
I was probably just as nervous about the fruit & walnuts stuffing as I was about the turkey. It came out very good, and now I know what to do to make it better next year! (Smaller, torn pieces of bread)
Next year I need to make more cauliflower casserole and green bean casserole:
Of course we had to Swedify Thanksgiving a bit and have some boiled potatoes and meatballs -
Once all the side dishes were done, and the kitchen was clean (Thanks to my incredibly helpful & supportive husband, who also did all the peeling and mashing) we had time to sit back for an hour before we started prepping the bird.
Being in Sweden means having no roasting rack or pan, but we made do with what we had!
Hubby had the honor of washing, handling, and carving the bird, while I prepped the flavoring.
While it was cooking everyone was in the kitchen saying “luktar så gott!” – “Smells so good!”
I tried the method of cooking it upside-down for half of the time, which seemed to make the breast less dry and more tasty. The gravy from the juices was delicious!
Tasted, smelled, and felt like home.
Thanksgiving in Sweden was officially a success! Everyone took seconds, and had a favorite dish. The next day we all enjoyed a full plate of left overs. I took home enough sweet potatoes and stuffing to last a few days. Looking forward to next year with notes of improvement from this very first Thanksgiving! Happy Gobble Gobble Day!
Give thanks: Ge tack
Today we pondered what we can have for dinner and my husband told me to look up “Falukorv med Bostongurka” After looking at a few photos, I chopped a few veggies, spread some condiments, sprinkled some cheese, baked, and enjoyed!
Falukorv is a large traditional sausage made of pork, spices and potato starch flour. It is commonly eaten fried in a few popular meals, as well as atop of a smörgås. Bostongurka is a type of pickled relish that is very popular in Sweden.
This is a pretty common Swedish meal, something kids learn to make in school. It would be considered a “vardag” or “husmanskost” food, because it is simple, traditional, and made with common local ingredients.
Sausage – Korv
Cucumber – Gurka
Pepper – Peprika
Tomato – Tomat
Onion – Lök
Cheese – Ost
Dinner – Middag
Did you know that cinnamon roll originated in Sweden? Neither did I!
Not only is today Kanelbullens Dag,
but also the 100th Something Swedish post!!
What better way to celebrate the 100th post than to research, bake, buy, photograph, and eat this beloved Swedish treat and then blog all about it!?
From the first time I visited Sweden I noticed that cinnamon buns were a big part of the culture, especially when it was time to fika [here]. While many pastries are enjoyed with coffee in Sweden, cinnamon rolls are the traditional choice. They’ve been popular in Sweden since the 1920’s, but it was in the 1950’s when baking them at home became a big deal. In 1999 an organization called Hembakningsrådet (Home Baking Council) [here] created the day to highlight this especially Swedish pastry and to “kick off” the Autumn season, when home baking is best.
I’ve never baked cinnamon rolls before, so I gave it a shot! Thankfully, my oh-so-Swedish husband has made kanelbullar many times in his life, so I had some help. I always knew that kanelbullar and cinnamon rolls were very different, but it wasn’t until I started making them that I saw why my husband doesn’t even consider them to be the same pastry.
American Cinnamon Rolls vs Swedish Kanelbullar
Kanelbullar are a lot less sweet than cinnamon rolls (as are most pastries here, Swedens sweet tooth is not nearly as decadent). The sugary sweet icing I salivate over when I crave a cinnamon roll isn’t what you will ever find in Sweden – instead a simple sprinkle of pearl sugar is the topping of choice.
Kanelbullar are baked with kardemumma (cardamon – a popular pastry spice here) into the dough, giving it a very distinct flavor.
The cinnamon roll recipe called for almost twice the amount of sugar and twice the amount of filling, with a lot of brown sugar – which is not used at all in kanelbullar.
Instead of baking the cinnamon rolls squished together in one pan like in the U.S., kanelbullar are baked completely separate, like muffins or cookies.
Overall, both kinds were really yummy, but really too different to compare.
Kanelbullar are a lot easier to make (less sticky, less filling, no icing, less clean up) and you can easily eat more than one. + points for being a lot more photogenic, too.
Having American cinnamon rolls was very comforting as they reminded me of home – an overly sweet bite of NYC.
25 g of yeast
1 cups milk
0.5 cup granulated sugar
1 pinches of salt
1 tsp ground cardamom (If you don’t have cardamom, then add a little bit more cinnamon to the filling to make up the lack of flavor – although it’s not the same at all.)
7 cups flour
50g butter (softened)
0.5 cup granulated sugar
0.5 tablespoon cinnamon
Brushing: 1 egg
Garnish: Pearl sugar
1. Crumble the yeast in a bowl .
2. Melt the butter, add the milk until lukewarm (Test with your finger, should feel comfortable). Make sure to stir and that it doesn’t get too hot or the yeast dies.
3. Add yeast until it is dissolved and then salt, sugar and cardamom. Stir.
4. Start adding and mixing the flour into the liquid (use an electric mixer with dough hooks)
5. Let the dough sit and rise until doubled in size (30-45 minutes ).
6. Meanwhile, whip the filling ingredients together until smooth.
7. When the dough is ready , knead it into a flat rectangle on a floured surface.
8. Spread on the filling and roll up
9. Cut about 1 ½ cm thick slices and place them in the muffin forms.
10. Let sit so that dough can rise again (30-40 minutes).
11. Meanwhile, whisk the egg and turn on the oven..
12. Gently brush on the whisked egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar .
13. Bake in oven at 400 ° F for 9-10 minutes until a golden brown color.
Today my SFI class had a party for those of us moving on to the next course (D kurs). This type of party is an Avskedsfest – “Departure party”. In the Swedish spirit of things (Read here), the four of us that are leaving brought cakes, cookies, chocolates, soda, etc., for everyone to enjoy. We listened to music and spoke to each other about our lives and played a game in Swedish.
I decided to bake some sweets for the class, as I had a recipe (here) that I wanted to try but didn’t want to eat so many pastries at home by myself! They are a spin off of cannolis, a popular Italian pastry, which I was shocked to find that no one has ever eaten or heard of. I already knew that they are not known in Sweden, as I introduced my husband to his first cannoli, but with a classroom filled with people from around the world I thought someone would know.
It really put the American melting pot into perspective, I appreciate that I have eaten so many food from different cultures.
The test to go to the next level course is available every 5 weeks, which means having an Avskedsfest again soon, hopefully! Something to look forward to!
A little about the C level course test:
There are 5 parts you get graded on (split into two days):
(VG) Reading comprehension
(G) Word comprehension
Grades in Sweden range from Underkänd “U” (Fail), Godkänd “G” (Passing), and Väl Godkänd “VG” (Passed with Distinction)
Above are the grades I received for each section. The teacher said my writing could be “VG” if I stopped forgetting the accents over å, ö, and ä.
Reading: (40 mins each) Two very straight forward, multiple choice tests based on text. There are different types of texts, such as newspaper articles, time schedules, menus, advertisements, letters, and stories.
Listening: (40 mins) You will be able to read all the questions and multiple choice answers before listening to the recording, which you will hear two times. Pay attention to details as most of the answer choices are mentioned but not exactly related to the questions being asked. This part is a bit difficult as they speak quicker than our teachers prepare us for, I suggest listening to the radio or tv to prepare.
Speaking: (20 mins) Pretty laid back and informal group conversation about a given generic topic, for example: is better to live in a city or in the countryside? Our teachers helped move the conversation along if we got stuck.
Writing: (60 mins) Write a page about one of four topics. Make sure to follow the instructions and stay on topic. For example, if you need to write a letter make sure to structure it properly. C level test had simple topics like driving, childcare, job interviews, or computers. D level moves onto things like town hero’s and politics.
Word Comprehension: Based off of your writing and speaking tests and a few vocabulary questions in the reading test.
Hopefully that will help anyone who is testing soon! Lycka Till! (Good Luck!)
My dad always says you can judge a pizzeria by the quality of its eggplant, weather its on a pizza, on a hero, or eggplant parmesan. So, when I had the craving to make eggplant for dinner last week I felt a bit of pressure for quality and knew it is a dish that can turn out less than good. I didn’t let that stop me as eggplant is one of my favorite foods and I’ve wanted it ever since spotting some in the city square market.
I learned that the first key to good eggplant is draining out the bitterness. Once you cut them (And peel, if you choose) you sprinkle salt on each piece to make it sweat out a dark juice. This meant having two colanders sitting around and waiting for 30-60 minutes for each one, then rotating in the next batch.
Something to do in advance, before you are actually prepping or else it will feel incredibly stressful and tedious to wait for since you can’t do much else until after it is done. Make sure to pat them completely dry with paper towels when you are finished. You can set up the bowls for breadcrumbs with flour & seasoning and one for the beaten egg. Don’t forget to set up an area with paper towels to place the eggplant on to absorb the access oil.
The second key is the thickness of the slices. They should be 1/4 – 1/2 inch (between .6 and 1 cm) and all uniform thickness to cook evenly. I think I cut mine a little bit too thick, on the 1/2 side. As you can see in the photo above I must have gotten tired because I had a monstrously thick slice in the mix. Don’t do that :)
I think next time I will cut the slices length wise instead, should make it easier and quicker- both to fry and to place in the dish.
When I finished frying up each slice of eggplant (2-3 minutes on each side in oil) I realized that while this is one of my favorites my husband might not like it, ya know…since there is no meat! When he came home and saw the cooking process (aka, The Big Mess) he asked what I was making and “Is that all?” I could tell he was hesitant.
Over all it is a pretty time consuming dish to make and I have to admit I was frustrated and found it tedious by the end. Now that I know what to expect though it won’t be so bad.
Thankfully it was a success and he admitted that he was sad to have a vegetarian meal but that he liked it a lot and it was better than he expected. Overall the dish came out yummy enough to put up with the peeling/draining/frying process, (and the mess) the rest is easy – just make sure you have enough sauce!
Is eggplant a common food in Sweden? I was a little surprised to see it at the city market but I don’t recall ever seeing it where I buy groceries. Does anyone else have any eggplant recipes to share? Suggestions? Eggplant parm had to find its way into my recipe book- I’m looking on improving it before then though!