In Scandinavia, fika (a Swedish coffee break) and hygge (a feeling of coziness) are omnipresent—an integral part of the culture. So it should come as no surprise that with this emphasis on coffee and comfort, Scandinavians would know a thing or two about making something sweet.
Enter “Scandi Bites,” a new cookbook by Trine Hahnemann, a Danish food writer and chef, who has generated an amalgamation of sweets, finger food, and traditional Scandanavian snacks for her book geared toward the holidays. You’ll find poppy-seed danishes and pull-apart cardamon knots—ideal for kaffepause—along with savory items like smørrebrød (open-faced tartines) that are prepped to be piled with scrambled eggs and smoked mackerel, avocado and prawns, and pork-apple salad. Her easy-to-follow recipes will have you baking Scandinavian treats in no time.
Scandi Bites: 50 Recipes for Sweet Treats, Party Food and Other Little Scandinavian Snacks, $15.20 on Amazon
Take, for instance, her recipe for raspberry slices, excerpted below. The cake itself is simply a mix of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs, which is first baked in the oven in two lengthy slivers. Once cooled, one piece of the cake is generously spread with homemade raspberry jam, topped with the second half, and finished off with a swipe of icing and pink sprinkles. Throughout Scandinavia, the cake is often cut into triangles and eaten by hand, usually with a cup of coffee or tea during kaffepause (the Danish coffee break). After your first bite, you’ll hardly want to have teatime without a slice.
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Recipes excerpted with permission from “Scandi Bites” by Trine Hahnemann, published by Quadrille October 2019.
Raspberry Slices Recipe
This cake is for people who like things really sweet, such as my husband! Because of the sweetness, it has to be made with homemade raspberry jam that really tastes of the fruit and has a little acidity to it.
- 1 quantity Raspberry ‘Jam’ (see recipe below)
- 200g/1 ½ cups plain/all-purpose flour, plus more to dust
- 50g/5 Tbsp icing/confectioners’ sugar
- 100g/scant ½ cup cold butter, chopped
- ½ egg, lightly beaten
- 100g/7⁄8 cup icing/confectioners’ sugar
- Pink sprinkles
- To make the base, sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add the egg and stir until the pastry comes together in a ball. Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to 40 x 22cm/16 x 9in, then cut this into two 20 x 11cm/8 x 4 ½ in rectangular pieces. Prick each with a skewer all over and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Place one of the bases on a sheet of baking parchment.
- Mix the icing sugar with 2 Tbsp of water and whisk until it has a smooth consistency, then spread evenly on the base. Leave to set for 30 minutes. Place the other base on a wooden chopping board and spread with the raspberry jam. Top with the iced base, sprinkle with the pink sprinkles and cut into smaller triangular pieces. Serve, or keep in an airtight container for 4 or 5 days.
Raspberry ‘Jam’ Recipe
Jam in Denmark means a runny, fresh confection, made in the summer on the day the berries are picked. They are just ripe berries boiled with sugar in a very short time. Make these at least the day before you need them!
- 300g/10 ½ oz frozen raspberries
- 100g/ ½ cup caster or granulated sugar
- Place the frozen raspberries in a small heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Now add the sugar and let the jam simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to cool. It should be very thick.
Header image courtesy of Columbus Leth.