The magic of Norwegian plums + a cake you will want to make!

There are few fruits as exquisite as Norwegian plums. They taste far better than any imported plums, yet the season in Norway is super short with availability during the month of August and September only.

Norway has planted plums since the 18th century (possibly earlier),  so we have a long tradition utilizing plums in our cooking. Plums are regarded as one of autumn’s most delightful harvests, and there are a number of different varieties available.   The ones most known are Edda, Mallard, Riis, Jubileum, Opal and Victoria.

Side bar and fun fact: According to the newspaper Bondebladet , 2017 is inching towards holding a record for plum production with over 1400 tons harvested nationwide. Most of the plums come from Hardanger.  Norwegians are demanding more Norwegian grown fruit like apples, cherries and plums, than ever before, as eating local and seasonal is increasing in popularity. 

I remember the enormous plum tree my parents had growing right in front of our verandah that stretched over two floors.  I couldn’t wait for plum season, and ran straight out to the tree after school to snag a handful of delicious, huge blue plums to snack on.  There seem to be a never ending supply, but I also recall being impatient for them to ripen before the season hit.

My mom would begin a huge canning process of the plums we weren’t able to eat fresh, so we could enjoy them through the winter.  She served them up with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert after dinner on weekdays, because in my household, dessert was expected every day (by my dad mostly – he had a big sweet tooth!),

In addition to canning them, other popular ways of cooking with plums in Norway include making jam, porridge, compote and chutney.    I think the most delicious way to enjoy them besides eating them straight from the tree, is to make a cake.  Plommekake is a fun variant of the traditional Norwegian “eplekake” (apple cake) and a great way to use any leftover plums you might have.

The recipe really is very simple; flour, sugar, baking powder, a couple of spices along with milk and vanilla extract. The traditional version has eggs in it, but I’ve used apple sauce, as it functions just as well in this cake.  Remember, eggs only act as a binder, there is nothing more magical about eggs than that.  You can elect to add in a some ground up nuts as well, I’ve omitted them in my recipe to please those that may have nut allergies or want a lighter cake.

Hope you will try my vegan version of plommekake out – this is not overly sweet, as the tanginess from the plums balance out the sweetness of the batter.  I served it to my local businesswomen group earlier today and got rave reviews!

Remember to follow my FB page Arctic Grub for daily updates on Norwegian food, culture and other fun posts on Nordic content!! I also love hearing from you so comment below if you have any questions when it comes to Norway and /or Norwegian food!

NORVEGAN PLUM CAKE

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 heaping teaspoon of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of salt

5 tablespoons of vegan butter – room temperature (I use Earth Balance brand)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup apple sauce

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup of almond milk

4 large black or blue plums – sliced into 1/4 inch slivers

2 tablespoons of chilled vegan butter

1/4 cup of brown sugar

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350° F (180C).  Coat a 9 inch spring form pan with the 2 tablespoons of chilled butter and sprinkle the brown sugar in.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.

Whip the vegan butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl on a high speed until completely combined.

Add the apple sauce and vanilla extract and  stir in well.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to mixing bowl while going on a low speed until mostly combined. Add 1/3 of the almond milk and blend.  Continue adding the flour and milk in 1/3 increments.

Arrange the plum slices in the buttered and sugar coated spring form pan.

plommekakeforbaking1

Pour the batter evenly over the plums and smooth until the pan is evenly covered.

Bake for 50-60 minutes – place spring form on a baking sheet to prevent spillage.

Let cool completely before removing from and inverting the pan.

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plommekake12

plommekake6

Recreate a Norwegian breakfast or lunch with rundstykker

What is ‘rundstykker’? These ’round pieces’ (=rundstykke) of bread are buns made with various cereals and grains, and are popular all throughout the Nordic countries, particularly in Norway and Denmark.   As bread lovers, Scandinavians love to play around with different versions of baked goods, and rundstykker are some of the more unique creations I’ve been unable to find a true equivalent of here in the United States.

While rundstykker are now enjoyed for both breakfast and lunch every day,  growing up in Norway in the 1970s and 1980s, they were a more decadent affair.   Today they can be found in ever home,  but when I was a teenager, you would mostly buy them in bakeries or cafes.

My niece recently shared a memory from her childhood of my sister making rundstykker and hot cocoa after they had been to swim class in the winter.  I recall my mom buying them at the bakery when she had her friends over from the charity she was involved with, and “dressing them up” with special cold cuts and neatly cut cucumbers, sliced salmon, scrambled eggs and curly parsley, or cheese and paprika.

Today you can even buy rundstykker half baked in the grocery stores, and just throw them in the oven and they are ready in no time,  but tasting like you baked them from scratch.   Rundstykker also go by the name “tebriks” – here are some examples of packages available in stores:

tebriks

Of course, I no longer eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs, so I was having a bit of fun the other day veganizing both the buns and the toppings.  Many original rundstykke recipes are already vegan – no eggs are needed and water is often used in place of milk.

I hope you’ll enjoy my recipe, these buns will turn out soft, light and airy and produces a fabulous dough that is easy to work with!     You can top the buns with any kinds of seeds, or leave seeds off and make them plain.  Spread them with butter and jam, or as I did the other day: a lettuce, tomato, peppers and avocado sandwich with vegan mayo:

avorundstykker

 

NORWEGIAN RUNDSTYKKER

Makes about 14 large rundstykker

1 packet (2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast

2 3/4 cups plant based milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 stick (113g) of vegan butter (Earth Balance)

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water)

3 cups (700g) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (110g) rolled oats

1 cup (200g) whole wheat flour

melted vegan butter for brushing top of the buns

For topping on buns:

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp flaxseeds

1 tbsp pepita seeds

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat on stove. Add in the milk and heat up to bring mixture to about 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.

Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  While the machine is running, pour in the butter-milk mixture, then the flax eggs. Knead on medium for about 10 minutes until a smooth dough forms.  Add more flour towards the end if it is still sticky.

Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest for about one hour until dough is doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease two baking sheets with a little oil or baking spray.  Combine all the seeds in a small bowl

Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean work surface, turn the dough onto table, roll out to a log and divide into 14 equal pieces.

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Shape into round buns and place onto baking sheets, cover with a towel and let rest once more for about 30 minutes.

Brush top of buns with melted vegan butter and sprinkle seed mixture on.  Bake in oven for about 14-15 minutes until golden up top. rundstykker7rundstykker5rundstykker3

 

Tilslørte Bondepiker; veganizing and elevating a classic Norwegian dessert

I’ve been having so much fun transforming traditinal Norwegian dishes into plant based alternatives these past few years, and while some have not turned out the way I had hoped or envisioned (I have high standards), others come out so much better than I had ever dared imagining. Today’s blog post is one of those.

“Tilslørte bondepiker”, the name of this sweet dish, loosely and directly translates into “veiled peasant/farm girls”.  It is a layered dessert with mashed apples or applesauce, breadcrumbs sauteed in butter and whipped cream.  Typically it is served in a glass bowl or some time of drinkware.   Tilslørte bondepiker was popular before ice cream in Norway and has a long history there.  You can find the dessert in various forms, made with different kinds of fruit and toppings like shaved chocolate and citrus rind.

About 4 1/2 years ago before I was vegan, I wrote about this old, classic dessert and the story behind its peculiar name. You can read about that here. 

Today I wanted to share the amazing vegan version with all of you and to let you know that anything you want to eat, you make eat plant based! There are no boundaries to creativity amongst vegan cooks and chefs, this is what makes plant based cooking so incredibly exciting!   There are “tuna” sandwiches made from chickpeas, crab cakes from hearts of palm, pulled “pork” sandwiches from jackfruit and the other day I saw somebody making “calamari” from grilled corn on the cob!

If you’re stuck around how you can remove dairy and meat from a classic dish you’ve grown up to love, comment below and let’s see if can come up with something delicious made from plants! 

The classic version of this dessert is in fact plant based, with the exception of the whipped cream.  In place of heavy cream, I used a can of full fat coconut milk that I left in the fridge overnight. What that does, is solidify the cream on the top, and this is the only part you use to whip up the cream (discard or save the liquid for later use).  Make sure you buy full fat (14grams and higher, preferably) and not low fat, as the latter won’t work.

coconutcream

Use the whisk part of your Kitchen aid not the attachment in the picture, I just couldn’t find mine, but it worked out fine anyway!   Make sure your bowl is cold (I put mine in the freezer an hour or more before using it) which will ensure a really fluffy, firm cream. You can season it with confectioners sugar and vanilla extract or sweetener of your choice, to bring out the flavor of the cream some more.

coconutwhip

Instead of plain breadcrumbs sauteed in butter, I made my own granola from scratch which I can also use for breakfast and a mid afternoon snack.  I have provided the recipe, inspired from the Cooks Illustrated Baking book.

I used local and organic apples, because I find the flavor of local and organic produce far surpasses any other.  Either way, make sure you use some type of red crispy apples like Gala, Red Delicious or Cortlands.  I find the combination of sweet and acidic perfect in this recipe. If you want, you can leave some of the peel on, which will then create a more pinkish color in the sauteed apples and apple sauce.

You can make a syrup if you like from brown sugar and some apple sauce to drizzle on top, but I find the sweetness of the apple sauce and sauteed apples are sweet enough for me.  Homemade apple sauce is a must – while it might seem extra work, it’s really not that big of a deal. While the apples cook down you can whip up the granola. The end result will come out so much better than if you use a store bought version.

Hope you will like my example of Tilslørte Bondepiker, happy cooking!

TILSLØRTE BONDEPIKER (vegan)

For the applesauce:

4 red apples, like Cortland, Red Delicious or Gala, peeled, cored and diced into 1-inch pieces

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)

1/2 cup water

For apple layer:

3 red apples, like Gala or Red Delicious

1/2 cup (100ml) homemade apple sauce

1 vanilla bean pod, split and beans scraped out (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

1 cinnamon stick

For the whipped cream:

1 x 14.5 oz can full fat coconut cream, placed in fridge overnight

1 tbsp confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup homemade granola* (*recipe listed below)

To make the applesauce:

Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pot, place over medium heat and cook down, about 30 minutes until apples start to dissolve. Throw the mix in a high speed blender and puree until smooth. Set aside to cool.

To make the sauteed apples:

Place all ingredients in medium sauce pot, place over medium heat and cook until apples are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Set aside.

To make the whipped cream:

Scoop out the hardened cream part of the coconut can (discard liquid) and place in a Kitchen aid or a bowl and whisk until fluffy and it stiffens up, a couple of minutes. Add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract and combine well.

To assemble dessert: 

Using a pretty glass bowl or individual drink glass such as a small mason jar or whatever you have, layer the sauteed apples, granola and whipped coconut cream and sprinkle top with additional granola.

HOME MADE GRANOLA:

recipe adapted by Cooks Illustrated

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten free oats if you want recipe to be GF)

1 cup sliced or chopped almonds

3 tablespoons coconut sugar or granulated sugar of choice

2 tablespoons ground flax

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 vanilla beans, scraped or 1/2-3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons smooth natural almond or peanut butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, sugar, ground flax, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup, almond butter, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir well until everything is thoroughly combined. The mixture will be a bit dry at first but keep mixing as it will eventually come together.

Place granola on the baking sheet and spread it out into a thin layer.

Bake for about 15 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden, rotating the pan half-way through baking. Be careful not to burn. Allow the granola to cool for about 30 minutes on the baking sheet, or until completely cool, and then break it apart into clusters. Store the granola in an air-tight container for a few weeks, or it can be frozen for 1 to 2 months.

granola