I am very happy to announce that I’ve formed a relationship with Jarlsberg USA and I’m excited to begin developing some recipes utilizing their awesome cheeses!! I’ve been a fan of this cheese since I was a little girl in Norway, and am always happy to see it in stores here in the U.S. In addition to the delightful Jarlsberg cheese, I was also sent the most delicious brown cheese, “Ekte Gjetost”, as well as the more commonly seen Ski Queen and the spreadable white goat cheese, Snøfrisk. The cheeses are distributed by Norseland Inc. who is the exclusive importer and sales and marketing agent of Jarlsberg in the U.S.
If you’ve ever tasted Jarlsberg, you instantly notice there is something special about this cheese. Its deep flavor, rich, buttery and round with a slight nuttiness, as well as the special consistency is the perfect choice for a grilled cheese, but there are so many other ways to utilize this tasty product. Try to add it to your cheese trays, topped on our popular Scandinavian open face sandwiches, in salads and on pizzas and in other hot dishes. I’ve also cut the cheese in cubes and placed them in a glass jar with some good olive oil and herbs and garlic, which makes for a tasty snack alongside a nice crusty loaf of bread and of course a good glass of red wine… Jarlsberg pairs perfectly with wine, beer and aquavit – whatever your drink of choice, this cheese will do a great job as a pairing partner.
A semi-soft, part-skim cheese made from cow’s milk and aged for a minimum of one year, Jarlsberg is characterized by its large round holes. It has often been compared to the Swiss Emmentaler because of its appearance, but it is both sweeter and stronger (and dare I say better?).
Jarlsberg is one of the world’s most famous cheeses, which is not a small feat coming from such a small country as Norway. The unique flavor of Jarlsberg was created as a result of a lengthy research task led by professor Ole Martin Ystgaard at “Landbrukshøyskolen” (The Agricultural University) in Ås dating all the way back to 1957. To this day, a secret ingredient has been said to be responsible for the very particular taste we find in Jarlsberg today.
Since 1957, over 900,000 tons of cheese has been produced, and every little grams is said to originate from this small bottle containing the secret ingredient. That is why the cheese has been called irreplaceable.
Jarlsberg began exporting its cheese slowly in 1961, and today it is being sold all over the world. In the U.S., an impressive nine out of ten supermarkets carry Jarlsberg, and is the most sold and recognized cheese in its category in this country.
So with all this wonderful information, how does one even begin to develop a recipe that will best showcase this incredible product? I had to limit it to three of my favorite foods I like to eat, and today I am going to start with an “ost og skinkepai” – literal translation is “cheese and ham pie” but most of you will most likely think of it as quiche.
I remember my sister making this pie when I was a young kid, and I was mesmerized because it seemed so modern and exotic (my mom only made ultra traditional Norwegian food at home), but it still tasted very Norwegian. The versatility of this dish also appeals to me; perfect for lunch or dinner, or as a snack at any point of the day, and it tastes just as good cold as it does warm. Satisfying, rich but still light – it’s a perfect choice when you want a meal that looks both simple and impressive.
For my pie, I chose to add some caramelized shallots to the mixture, which I believe gives it that extra sweet flavor.
I decided to serve the pie with a mixed green salad, drizzled with a Norwegian inspired salad dressing. I am not one to brag, but this turned out better than I had dared hope for, and I’m sneaking into the kitchen for leftovers as I write this!! I am hoping there will be a piece left for my husband when he gets home from work tonight… 🙂
JARLSBERG PAI m/SKINKE OG SJALOTTER (Jarlsberg Pie w/Ham and Shallots)
For the pie dough:
300g 10.5 oz all purpose flour
1 1/2 stick butter (about 185g)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ice cold water
For the pie filling:
300g/10.5 oz thick ham, diced /cubed
6 large shallots (or 9-10 small), peeled, halved and sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, cut the greenest tops off but utilize both white and some of the green, sliced thin OR
1 small leek, cleaned, halved and sliced thin
3 tbsp butter for sauteing
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Make the pie dough: Combine flour and salt in a food processor, pulse a few times to combine. Pull the butter from the refrigerator (it has to be cold) and cut into 1/2 inch cubes and add on top of the flour.
Pulse to combine a few times, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal; the butter should not be larger than the size of peas. Add the water and pulse until a dough starts to form and you can see it can come together.
Pour onto a work surface and knead into a disc (do not overwork it), cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for about 1 hour. You can do this step up to two days before you make the pie.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat a pie pan with spray.
In the mean time, place the 3 tbsp of butter in a large saute skillet, add the onion and scallions and sprinkle with a little salt, saute for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add the ham and saute for a few minutes and season with some cracked pepper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, crack the eggs, add the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg and add in the onion-ham mixture and Jarlsberg cheese. Combine and set aside to let flavors combine.
Pull the pie dough out of the fridge, dust work surface and rolling pin with a little flour and and roll out into a circle large enough to fit into your pie pan. It may be a bit hard coming right out of fridge, so if need be, let it rest for 10 minutes or so until it becomes soft enough to handle (not too soft though!). Push the dough into your pie pan, pushing the dough up against the edges, and covering the entire pie pan.
Prickle the bottom with a fork, cover the pie with parchment paper or tin foil and place a bag of dried beans over it to prevent the pie dough from shrinking. Place in middle of oven and bake for 15 minutes. Pull out of oven and remove the beans and tin foil/parchment paper. Pour in the egg/ham/onion mixture.
Reduce oven to 360 degrees and place pie in oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes until set. Enjoy warm or room temperature, and serve with a mixed green salad (recipe to follow).
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH SYNNØVE’s DRESSING (that’s me – Synnøve:))
1 small head of Boston (butter) lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1 small container of mixed greens
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
any other vegetables or ingredients you desire in a salad!
1 small container sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1-2 tbs chopped chives, thyme, oregano or herbs of your choice
sea salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and keep adding ingredients until you get the consistency you want for your dressing. It’s supposed to have a combination of sweet and tangy with a hint of salt. This is also delicious on poached salmon!
Jarlsberg is made by TINE, the biggest dairy company in Norway. Its history goes all the way back to 1881, and today makes over 500 different products. Norseland Inc. is owned by TINE and employs 29 people. Regional sales offices are located in Montreal, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas and New York with the corporate office in Darien, Connecticut.