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How to make Swedish cloudberry meringues

Meringues are attractive desserts and so a very nice way of finishing a meal, especially if you have some left-over egg whites. Using cloudberries makes it feel so Swedish and gives the meringue an exquisite taste. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

How to make Swedish cloudberry meringues
The finished meringues. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Cloudberries (hjortron) only grow in the wild in northern Scandinavia and are a much sought-after delicacy. I’ve never seen the berries in the UK, but it is possible to buy cloudberry jam (usually sold as hjortronsylt) which is used in this recipe. IKEA occasionally have the jam, but otherwise you will find it in a specialist shop or online.

Summary

Serves 4

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients

100g (3½ oz) cloudberry jam (often sold under the Swedish name of hjortronsylt)

Butter, for greasing

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp water

50g (2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar plus extra for ramekins

1 vanilla pod

5 egg whites

You will also need 4 ramekins

 

Method

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

2. Sieve the cloudberry jam into a bowl to create a kind of seedless coulis. Keep both parts.

3. Generously grease the insides of four individual ramekins. Coat the insides with some caster (superfine) sugar. (This helps the meringues rise because it gives the mixture a textured surface to climb.)

4. Mix the lime juice, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the saucepan. Heat over a moderate heat stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and then sieve.

5. Whisk the egg whites until stiff using an electric mixer. Slowly add the sugar syrup whilst still whisking. Keep whisking for around 4 minutes.

6. Slowly add the cloudberry coulis whilst still whisking until thoroughly mixed.

7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 7 or 8 minutes until nicely risen, golden brown on top but still slightly wobbly.

8. Garnish with the cloudberries sieved from the jam. (If you have a nice thick jam, use unsieved cloudberry jam.)


A close-up of a finished meringue. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Tips

•  You can prepare the vanilla and lime mixture in advance and then make the meringues at the last moment.

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

•  Use the juice of half a lemon instead of lime juice if you prefer.

Leftovers

The meringues are also quite pleasant cold and they do keep their shape fairly well.

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

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DISCOVER SWEDEN

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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