This princely cake of Norway is iconic because it combines a tender pastry base with a subtle sweet filling.
The traditional filling is a paste made with almonds, egg whites and sugar. Butter is an addition. Whole eggs are a variation. The paste can be enhanced with cardamon and vanilla. Fruit is also an addition.
The traditional base is made with baking powder, butter, eggs, flour and sugar.
A lattice work occasionally decorates the top of the cake.
This is the basic recipe.
150 g almonds, ground
150 g icing sugar
2 egg whites
Combine ground almonds and icing sugar, fold in the two egg whites. Put in fridge for several hours. This is the almond paste.
175 g pastry flour
125 g butter, softened
100 g strong white wheat flour
3 egg whites
80 g brown sugar
8 g baking powder
Beat brown sugar into the butter, stir in the three egg whites, baking powder and sieved flours. Knead into a smooth ball. Leave for an hour.
30 g almonds, whole, blanched, skinned, halved for topping
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
Icing sugar, for dusting
22-25 cm diameter flan tin
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place the dough in the bottom of the cake tin, push it across the base and up the sides with a one centimeter overlap above the rim.
Spoon almond paste on top of the dough, wash with egg, top with almond pieces.
Once upon a time travellers on Norwegian Railways sleeper trains were handed special tickets by the train chief. ‘These are for your breakfast, go to the hotel across from the station,’ the chief would explain to bemused travellers. The sight on arrival in the grand hall of the grand hotel was a grand breakfast, an assortment of hot and cold foods that had no rival anywhere in the world. Sadly this tradition has lapsed. On the sleeper trains between Oslo, the capital of Norway, and Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim and between Trondheim and Bodø in the far north, a modest breakfast is served onboard. The grandiose buffet breakfasts are becoming a thing of the past, but some hotels are clinging to tradition by presenting modest grand buffets. Think of every possible breakfast food that is served across Europe, add the Norwegian love for loaves and fishes, cheeses and crispbreads, bacon and eggs, pickles and potatoes, and then something you never imagined.
Fishes – Klippfisk (cod), Lutefisk (lyed cod or ling), Sild (herring)
Leverpostej (liver paste)
Lefse (potato flatbreads)
Smoked bacon, grilled to a crisp
Smoked salmon, with lefse or toast
2 Welsh Breakfast
Bacon and eggs are a traditional breakfast throughout Europe, cockels and laverbread less so. In south Wales the sands stretch the length of the Gower peninsula. This is the cockel shore – a place of the laver. Laver is a soft purplish sea vegetable found at Atlantic shores, picked from rocks at low tide. It is thoroughly washed in two changes of water, drained, cooked and sold dried or fresh.
8 slices smoked back bacon
400 g laver pulp
100 g oatmeal
Combine laver pulp and oatmeal, shape into 5 cm wide, 2 cm thick cakes. Fry bacon, remove, allowing fat to drip into the frying pan, keep warm. Bring heat up, wait until the bacon fat is starting to smoke, then fry the laver cakes, two minutes each side. Serve with bacon, sausages and poached (or fried) eggs … And fresh cockles.
3 Irish Breakfast
4 mackerel, filleted
90 g butter
Boil the potatoes in their skins. Pan-fry the mackerel in half of the butter, skin-side down first. Serve with the potatoes, split in half, a little butter in each.
4 Sicilian Breakfast
2 squid, cleaned, cut into small pieces
2 lemons, juiced
45 ml olive oil
5 g chilli flakes
Water, for boiling
Bring water to the boil, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Place squid in the boiling water, boil for 90 seconds, then transfer it to the frying pan. Flash fry squid, about three minutes, adding the chilli after two minutes. Deglaze pan with lemon juice, pour over squid, serve.
5 French Breakfast
4 slices thick country bread
4-6 slices streaky bacon
1 lemon, juiced
15 ml anchovy sauce
Pepper, large pinch
4 wooden skewers
Shell the oysters, soak in the anchovy sauce and lemon juice. Season, wrap a piece of bacon around the oyster, skewer, four to each stick. Toast the bread and place the oyster wraps under a hot grill for two minutes.
6 English and Scottish Breakfast
600 g haddock / smoked haddock, cut into chunks
500 ml chicken stock
350 g long grain rice
2 eggs, hard-boiled
75 g onion, chopped
25 g butter
5 g parsley, chopped
5 cardamoms, crushed
3 g cinnamon
Turmeric powder, very large pinch
Water, for boiling
Sauté onion in butter in a large frying pan for ten minutes, add bay leaf, spices and seasonings. Stir rice into the onion mixture, add stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Simmer haddock in water for five minutes, flake and set aside. Chop eggs into small pieces. Stir the eggs, fish and parsley into the rice, heat through, season.
7 Swedish Breakfast
2 litres water
250 g smoked salmon, sliced thin
4 slices wholewheat bread
10 g salt
Black peppercorns, crushed
Salt the water and bring to the boil. Break an egg into a small bowl, carefully let it slip into the water, reduce heat and poach for three minutes, remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining eggs. Toast bread, place a poached egg on each slice, garnish with equal amounts of the salmon and a sprinkling of black pepper.
8 Turkish Breakfast
1 kg Black Sea anchovy fillets
250 g corn / maize flour
4 lemons, juiced
Pour flour into a large bowl, dredge anchovies through flour, place side by side on plates. Heat oil, fry anchovies until crisp, drain. Serve with lemon juice.
9 Greek Breakfast
The art of preparing octopus for the grill has consumed the time of Greeks for centuries. The tenderising process alternates between pounding, freezing, baking, marinating and slow cooking. Yet the one method that remains infallible is drying the whole fish under a hot sun in a light breeze.
1 kg octopus, sun dried
60 ml olive oil
30 ml vinegar
2 lemons, juiced
1 tbsp oregano
Blend the oil and vinegar, cut the octopus into pieces. Marinade in this mixture for an hour. Grill under a high heat for three or four minutes until the flesh is tender. Serve with vinaigrette of lemon juice and oregano.
10 Russian Breakfast
Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat describes caviar as ‘the last legendary food of modern times’. Traditionally caviar was made from the roe of wild sturgeon in the nutrient rich Caspian Sea.
It came in four varieties: –
Beluga (pale to dark grey eggs from the larger fish, up to 1000 kg).
Oscietra (various coloured eggs from the smaller fish, 300 kg).
Sevruga (dark grey to black eggs from the smallest fish, 60 kg).
Sterlet (a very small sturgeon that is almost extinct).
Seruga is thought to be too strong for a breakfast caviar, beluga too rich, which leaves oscietra, a light nutty caviar. Because of its flavour, roe from the Icelandic capelin is accepted as caviar and suitable for breakfast.
80 g oscietra caviar / black capelin caviar
45 ml kefir
45 g flour
10 g sugar
Baking soda, large pinch
Oil, for frying
Whisk the kefir into the eggs, season, add flour and soda to make a smooth batter, leave to froth. Heat some oil in a hot frying pan, pour a tablespoon of the batter into the centre of the pan, remove from heat. When holes form on the surface, flip over, and after a few seconds press with a spatula into the pan, putting it back on the heat for a minute. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with the caviar.
Traditionally made with lamb or mutton, sodd is sometimes made with beef. More of a soup than a stew, sodd is characterised by the gentle flavour of the stock used for the broth and the separately coooked vegetables. One of Norway’s most popular traditional dishes.
Lamb / Mutton
5 litres water
1.5 kg lamb or mutton leg / neck / shoulder, 250 g lean and a little fat removed, fine minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
1 tsp salt
Cut 250 g lean meat and a little fat from the chosen piece of meat, add salt, mince. Tradition calls for a dozen runs through the mincer, and one more for luck!
Braise the meat in salted water, remove the foamy scum that forms on the surface, reduce heat to slow, simmer for three hours, until meat is tender, strain liquid and keep warm.
The meat should fall off the bone, cut into large cubes.
1.5 kg water
1 kg potatoes, cut large
500 g carrots, chopped small
10 g salt
Cook the potatoes in the same volume of water until almost ready Cook the carrots in just enough water to cover them until they are al dente.
500 ml lamb stock
250 g lamb mince
75 ml cream
2 tsp cornflour / potato flour
2 tsp ginger, ground
1 tsp nutmeg, grated
Black pepper, freshly ground, large pinch
Stir cornflour or potato flour, spices and cream into the minced lamb, shape with wet hands into walnut-sized balls, around 25 grams each.
Poach in lamb stock for 10 minutes. When they rise to the surface they are ready.
Pour the stock into bowls, add the carrots, broth balls and braised lamb. Serve with crispbread and potatoes on the side.