Veiled Peasant Girls – a dessert from the land of the Midnight Sun

Yes, what a strange name it is… in Norwegian, we call this dessert “Tilslørte Bondepiker” and consists of breadcrumbs, sugar, cinnamon, whipping cream and apple sauce, layered in individual drink glasses or in a trifle or glass bowl, topped with chopped nuts of your choice. Incredibly simple, but most often tasty food does not need a million ingredients. Rather, this light and fluffy sweet ending incorporates different flavors of sweet and tangy,  with soft and crunchy textures which and results in an  incredibly satisfying ending to a meal (or beginning, if you wish!). In Sweden, the dish is called “Anglamat” (Angel’s Food), while Denmark is in some places credited with inventing this dish, but that discussion is ongoing…  Below is an image of Anglamat made with cloudberries and chopped chocolate:


Photo Sourced from

This dish was introduced before ice cream, and has a long history in Norway.  While I see it less and less these days, I think this dish deserves a comeback, because it truly is refreshingly light and tasty.  So what is the story behind the curious name of this dessert?  Nobody really knows for sure. One theory has it named by  the famous Norwegian poet and philologist Ivar Aasen (who by the way, hailed from my part of the country – as all good ones tend to do:) – who was deeply in love with a peasant girl that made this dessert.  He supposedly proposed to her several times, but she always turned him down. One day, the girl asked Ivar if he would like to taste her sweets… meaning her dessert but obviously Ivar was thinking about something completely different… when he discovered she meant food, disappointed, he decided to name the dessert “veiled peasant girls”.


Below is a classic recipe for the traditional Veiled Peasant Girls.  These days, several variations have popped up of this dessert, substituting the apples with sauteed peaches, passion fruit, plums, berries and other fruits.  You can also use crumbled up cinnamon graham crackers or even macaroons instead of regular bread crumbs for instance. I’ve also seen some people add in sour cream to the whipped cream, as the tangy/sweet combination has proven especially delicious. Play around with it while using the general frame of the recipe. The key is to get the proportions correct; heavy cream to breadcrumbs to applesauce, and also to flavor the applesauce with enough sugar/cinnamon so it’s not too tangy, and also making sure the breadcrumbs are nice and crispy and not heavy and soggy.  This ensures a delicious dessert and also one that won’t weigh you down!


Photo: Inkognito,

TILSLØRTE BONDEPIKER  (“Veiled Peasant Girls”)

Serves 4

3 apples, peeled, cored and diced

7 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup apple cider (from the farmer’s market is best)

3 tbsp butter

1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade from stale bread, put through the food processor)

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of cardamom

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted.

In a small saucepan, add the diced apples with 5 tbsp of the sugar and apple cider. Bring to a boil and cook until the apples soften and break down. Set aside and cool down.

Melt the butter on low heat along with the remainder 2 tbsp of the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small saute pan, and add the breadcrumbs, saute until fragrant and toasted to a golden brown color.

Whip the heavy cream (add 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, a pinch of cardamom and 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar for added sweetness/flavor if you’d like).

Layer the applesauce, bread crumbs and heavy cream in individual glasses or in a glass serving bowl, top with the chopped hazelnuts and serve.


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