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THE LOCAL RECIPES

FISH

How to make Sweden’s posh potato cakes at home

Known as 'Råraka' in Swedish, this potato and fish dish is common in luxury restaurants, but it's easier than you might think to make at home. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

How to make Sweden's posh potato cakes at home
Roe is very similar to caviar. Photo: John Duxbury

Similar to caviar, roe is a type of fish egg adored by Swedes. 'Kalix löjrom', one of the most popular varieties, is harvested from the Bothnian Bay archipelago in northern Sweden. It is the only Swedish product with the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), the same stamp given to other famous delicacies such as Parmigiano Reggiano (which must come from the Emilia-Romagna region to be recognised in this way) and Champagne (named after the region in France where it originates).

Summary

Serves: 4

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking: 35 minutes

Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients 

100g roe, preferably kalix löjrom

1 red onion, finely chopped

120ml crème fraîche or gräddfil

4 lemon wedges

4 small sprigs of dill

600g potatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method

1. Thaw the roe in the fridge overnight. If it is a bit watery, rinse and drain.

2. Peel the potatoes and coarsely grate them. Put them in a bowl of water to prevent them from going brown.


Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

3. Add half of the butter and half of the oil to a frying pan over a medium heat.

4. When the butter turns golden brown and is almost smoking, drain about a quarter of the potatoes in a sieve and then spread them out in the pan to make two potato cakes. Push the mixture down with a spatula so that each cake is fairly thin and about 5cm in diameter. Fry for about four minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the pan, pat dry with kitchen paper and then keep warm.

5. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, adding more butter and oil if necessary.

6. To serve, put two potato cakes on each plate, top with the roe, finely chopped red onion, crème fraîche, a lemon wedge and garnish with some dill.


Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Tips

– Serve the potato cakes with fried bacon and lingonberries, if you don't like or can't find roe.

– Roe is best served with mother of pearl spoons rather than metal or wooden ones, to avoid tainting the taste.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, Editor and Founder of Swedish Food

For members

FOOD & DRINK

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Do you know your biskvi from your bakelse? Your chokladboll from your kanelbulle? Here's a guide guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

Five sweet treats you should be able to identify if you live in Sweden

Kanelbulle

The most famous of all Swedish cakes outside Sweden, the classic kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) is the symbol of Sweden abroad, no doubt helped by the fact that Swedish furniture giants IKEA stock frozen buns in their food stores for customers to bake off at home.

Forget American tear-apart cinnamon rolls baked in a pan and slathered with cream cheese frosting: a classic Swedish cinnamon bun is baked individually using a yeasted dough spread with cinnamon sugar and butter. The dough is then rolled up, sliced into strips which are then stretched out and knotted into buns, baked, glazed with sugar syrup and sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Home-made varieties skip the stretching and knotting step, rolling the cinnamon-sprinkled dough into a spiral instead which, although less traditional, tastes just as good.

Kanelbullar in Sweden often include a small amount of Sweden’s favourite spice: cardamom. If you’re a fan of cardamom, try ordering the kanelbulle‘s even more Swedish cousin, the kardemummabulle or cardamom bun, which skips the cinnamon entirely and goes all-out on cardamom instead.

Sweden celebrates cinnamon bun day (kanelbullens dag) on October 4th.

Photo: Lieselotte van der Meijs/imagebank.sweden.se

Chokladboll

A great option if you want a smaller cake for your fika, the chokladboll or ‘chocolate ball’ is a perfect accompaniment to coffee – some recipes even call for mixing cold coffee into the batter.

They aren’t baked and are relatively easy to make, meaning they are a popular choice for parents (or grandparents) wanting to involve children in the cake-making process.

Chokladbollar are a simple mix of sugar, oats, melted butter and cocoa powder, with the optional addition of vanilla or coffee, or occasionally rum extract. They are rolled into balls which are then rolled in desiccated coconut (or occasionally pearl sugar), and placed in the fridge to become more solid.

Some bakeries or cafés also offer dadelbollar or rawbollar/råbollar (date or raw balls), a vegan alternative made from dried dates and nuts blended together with cocoa powder.

Chocolate ball day (chokladbollens dag) falls on May 11th.

Photo: Magnus Carlsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Prinsesstårta

The lime-green prinsesstårta or ‘princess cake’ may look like a modern invention with it’s brightly-coloured marzipan covering, but it has been around since the beginning of the 1900s, and is named after three Swedish princesses, Margareta, Märta and Astrid, who were supposedly especially fond of the cake.

The cake consists of a sponge bottom spread with jam, crème pâtissière and a dome of whipped cream, covered in green marzipan and some sort of decoration, often a marzipan rose.

Prinsesstårtor can also be served in individual portions, small slices of a log which are then referred to as a prinsessbakelse.

Although the cakes are popular all year round, in the Swedish region of Småland, prinsesstårta is eaten on the first Thursday in March, due to this being the unofficial national day of the Småland region (as the phrase första torsdagen i mars is pronounced fössta tossdan i mass in the Småland dialect).

Since 2004, the Association of Swedish Bakers and Confectioners has designated the last week of September as prinsesstårtans vecka (Princess cake day).

Photo: Sinikka Halme, Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0.

Budapestbakelse

Belonging to the more traditional cakes, a Budapestbakelse or “Budapest slice” is a type of rulltårta or “roll cake” similar to a Swiss roll, consisting of a light and crispy cake made from whipped egg whites, sugar and hazelnut, filled with whipped cream and fruit, often chopped conserved peaches, nectarines or mandarines, and rolled into a log.

The log is then sliced into individual portions and drizzled with chocolate, then often topped with whipped cream and a slice of fruit. 

Despite its name, the Budapest slice has nothing to do with the city of Budapest – it was supposedly invented by baker Ingvar Strid in 1926 and received the name due to Strid’s love for the Hungarian capital.

Of course, the Budapestbakelse also has its own day – May 1st.

Kanelbullar (left), chokladbollar (centre) and biskvier (right). Photo: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebank.sweden.se

Biskvi

Another smaller cake, a biskvi (pronounced like the French biscuit), consists of an almond biscuit base, covered in buttercream (usually chocolate flavoured), and dark chocolate.

Different variants of biskvier exist, such as a Sarah Bernhardt, named after the French actress of the same name, which has chocolate truffle instead of buttercream.

You might also spot biskvier with white chocolate, often with a hallon (raspberry) or citron (lemon) filling, or even saffransbiskvier around Christmastime.

Chokladbiskviens dag is celebrated on November 11th.

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