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SWEDIS

Recipe: How to make Swedish cloudberry soufflé

Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe for a very impressive dessert with Swedish delicacy cloudberries.

Recipe: How to make Swedish cloudberry soufflé
Cloudberry soufflé. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Soufflés are such wonderfully theatrical desserts that they are a splendid way of finishing any meal. Using cloudberries makes it feel so Swedish and gives the soufflés an exquisite taste.

Cloudberries (hjortron) only grow in the wild in northern Scandinavia and are a much sought-after delicacy. It is possible to buy cloudberry jam (usually sold as hjortronsylt), which is used in this recipe, outside of Sweden in specialist shops or online.

Summary

Makes: 6 soufflés

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Ingredients

25g (1oz) unsalted (sweet) butter, plus extra for greasing

2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour

240ml (1 cup) milk

2 egg yolks

3 egg whites

140g (1 cup) cloudberry jam (hjortronsylt)

1 tbsp Lakka (Finnish cloudberry liqueur), optional

Icing (confectioner's) sugar, for dusting

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 250C (475F, gas 9, fan 200C).

2. Generously grease the insides of six individual ramekins. Coat the insides with half the sugar. This helps the soufflés rise because it gives the mixture a textured surface to climb.

3. Place a teaspoon of cloudberry jam in the bottom of each ramekin.

4. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook over a low heat for 30 seconds, stirring to make a roux. Slowly add the milk and stir continuously to form a smooth sauce. Cook until the sauce boils and thickens.

5. Remove the sauce from the heat, leave to cool slightly, then stir in the egg yolks. Add the remaining cloudberry jam and cloudberry liqueur and set aside.

6. Whisk the egg whites to form firm peaks. Fold in the remaining sugar, then the cloudberry mixture.

7. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, smoothing the tops if you like the soufflés to rise straight, but leaving it if you like a more rustic looking top.

8. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until well risen and golden on top, but still with a slight wobble. Dust lightly with icing (confectioner's) sugar and run with them to the table before they start to sink!

Note

Whilst cold soufflés look pretty ugly they really taste every bit as good as their hot cousins, possibly even better, so if you have any soufflés left over don't throw them away.

Tips

– You can prepare the soufflé mixture up to three hours ahead, up to stage five. Store the sauce and unwhisked egg whites in sealed containers in the fridge, but for best results bring back to room temperature before continuing.

– Make sure the oven is really hot before you put the soufflés in, as they need an instant blast of heat to push up the egg whites, before they have the chance to set.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.

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The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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