Midsummer is very special for us Swedes. In many parts of the world midsummer passes without even a flicker of acknowledgement, but for us Swedes it is the most important festival after Christmas.
Food plays a dominant role in all our festivals. We try to make use of what is seasonal and so for Midsummer strawberries take centre stage. Of course, they must be Swedish! We are very tolerant of other cultures except when it comes to strawberries. Our strawberries are simply the best: redder and better flavoured than any others!
Jordgubbar is Swedish for strawberries, but literally means Earthmen. It makes strawberry picking with children more fun: find the little red Earthmen. It’s also kind of cute to think of strawberries as nice little Earthmen joining in our Midsummer celebrations.
Swedes eat a lot of strawberries: on average about 4 litres (8 pints) per year. Generally we eat them with milk and sugar or with ice cream, but for a special occasion it is nice to use them to crown a cake. Mine uses meringue with Rice Krispies to produce a gorgeous sweet backdrop to show off the red Earthmen. I hope you like it.
Makes 8-12 slices
Difficulty level: Easy
Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking: 120 minutes
TOTAL: 140 minutes
4 egg whites*
280 g 1¼ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
200 ml (3/4) cup Rice Krispies (Rice Bubbles)
*The yolks will be required for the middle layer
4 egg yolks
100 g (7tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
100 ml (7tbsp) whipping cream
1 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
75 g (1/3) cup butter
240 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
225 g (8 oz) fresh strawberries
1. Pre-heat the oven to 130°C (250°F, Gas 1⁄2, Fan 120°C).
2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
3. Whip the egg whites and sugar until they form stiff peaks and then mix in the Rice Krispies.
4. Spread the mixture on to the baking parchment to form a circle about 20 cm (8”) diameter. Bake for 1 hour and then reduce the temperature to 100°C (200°F, Gas 1⁄4, Fan 100°C) and bake for another hour.
5. Mix the egg whites, caster sugar, whipping cream and flour in a saucepan. Heat the mixture, stirring continuously until it thickens, without letting it boil.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and then stir in the butter until it is melted and evenly mixed. Leave to cool.
7. When cold, spread the mixture over the meringue.
8. Whip the cream for the topping until stiff and spoon over the top.
Decorate with fresh strawberries.
This recipe was originally published on food writer John Duxbury’s Swedish Food website.