With some hound interest in the layered dessert cake known as princess cake/prinsesstarta, I thought I'd share the recipe for a sandwich cake, the smorgastarta. It's a tasty creation that resembles a big tea sandwich, but goes a few steps further with a creamy coatiing and abundant decorative touches. You can make one with just about anything-ham, liver pate, smoked salmon, gravlax, shrimp, etc. and decorate with whatever looks fresh & nice-lemon wedges, hardboiled eggs, caviar, herbs-it adapts easily to your tastes. The shape can be round, square, rectangular, whatever shape suits your bread. The best part is that you can make it ahead and serve at a picnic or special lunch the next day. The following is just a simple guide for a creamy version.
shrimp & egg smorgastarta (serves 6)
1 loaf of firm, thin "old fashioned" white bread, not super fresh
1/2 lb bay shrimp
3 hardboiled eggs
1 cup mayo
1/2 creme fraiche
salt & white pepper
1 brick of cream cheese or 2 c mayo or mayo/creme fraiche blend
1/4 c room temp butter (Danish brand Lurpak is nice)
1 c mixture of chopped dill & parsley
whole dill for decoration
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced & drained on papertowels
1 lemon, thinly sliced & drained on papertowels
1 small head of butter lettuce
cherry tomatoes for decoration
a firm piece of cardboard covered with loose foil.
Set aside a handful of shrimp for later decoration and chop up the rest. Divide mayo & creme fraiche into 2 bowls. In bowl #1, add chopped shrimp to the creamy mixture and season with s& p to taste. Chop eggs up and add to bowl #2, season with s&p. Chill in fridge.
Using a serrated knife, carefully & evenly slice off crusts from bread. Line up 2 stacks of bread slices evenly to create your desired shape (this recipe makes a loaf shape).
build your cake:
Set 2 slices end to end on the foil covered cardboard. Lightly spread the touching bread ends with butter to glue them together. Spread each slice with butter, adding layers of egg & shrimp filling alternately with bread slices. When you've created an even shape from the two stacks, put in fridge to chill & settle a bit.
frost your cake:
whip the cream cheese in a blender until light and spreadable. You could use purchased whipped cream cheese but I find it melts too easily. Some smorgastortas are covered in mayo or a blend of mayo and creme fraiche, I just prefer the flavor & texture of cream cheese. Using a small offset spatula, spread the cream cheese over the top & sides of the torta. Set in fridge until firmed up.
Arrange the slices of cucumber and lemon over and around your torta, pressing them in firmly. Lightly pat the chopped herb mixture into the sides of the torta, creating as even a covering as possible. Place lettuce, tomatoes & shrimp on top with whole dill. Carefully lift the torta off the foil with a long spatula and set on cardboard. Cover smorgastorta with a deep upsidedown piece of tupperware that doesn't touch the decorations (for transport) or loosely with foil (if kept at home). Enjoy!
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