Monday, May 17, 2010

A Day in the Life : Frystekake

Frystekake, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.
I've dubbed this post 'a day in the life' simply because this series of photos vary drastically from one to the next. A couple were taken during the day as I baked this traditional Norwegian cake up, rolling out lattice, whipping up filling, and plastering dough to the inside of my tart pan. Others were taken as the sun started to set (and as my guests readied their already full bellies for a tasty treat). Generally, as most food bloggers do, I like my photos to have a cohesive look. But I like how most of these photos show the process of Frystekake from delicious beginning to end.

Frystekake, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.
First, let me say happy Syttende Mai! Or, 17th of May. While this may be just any day for the masses, it was a big deal growing up in my (and particularly my grandmothers) household. It's Norway's day of independence from Sweden. Every year as a child my grandmother would spend the days leading up to this holiday baking her heart out. A dear friend of hers owned the Norwegian gift shop in Ballard, Washington (Seattle) an area that celebrates the 17th of May each year with a giant parade and large crowds of people. They would meander around Ballard, noshing on the Norwegian delecacies offered at the gift shop made my grandmother, or on a variety of other Norwegian treats sold by vendors on the street (one of my favorite being brats smothered with onions and norwegian mustard stuffed into a large square of potato lefse, popular on commuter trains in Norway). It was such a special day for her, and remains so for me. In honor of both, we whipped up a meal she would've been proud of today. Large steaks of halibut lightly dusted with salt, pepper, and flour, fried in copious amounts of salted brown butter. A pot full of skin-on creamy mashed potatoes. Freshly steamed sweet petite green peas. And of course, a bowl full of caramelized onion. Heaven.

Fyrstekake, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.
My grandmother was known for her baked goods. Particularly her Norwegian treats. There was a reason she was asked to bake up a large variety year after year. So understandably, it was hard for me to choose which to make. Frystekake is something I've missed over the years. Sweet, crumbly, a bit dry, but filled with the softest, chewiest, downright tastiest almond goo you could imagine (with a bit of cinnamon and cardamom thrown in for good measure, of course!) A perfect mate to a large black cup of coffee. In fact, thinking on it now as I sit here and write, I'd dub it the Norwegians take on coffee cake. It's not that complicated to pull together either. I think it would make a great Sunday morning treat. Something to savor while you enjoy the paper and your caffeine in the morning. All I know is for a split second as I took my first bite, it was almost as if I was in my grandmothers little yellow house, sun filled kitchen, waiting anxiously to leave the house while she packed up goodie after goodie.

Fyrstekake, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
10 Tablespoons of butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 egg
1 cup of almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
healthy pinch of cinnamon
healthy pinch of cardamom

Preheat oven to 375 F

1. Sift dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, and granulated sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and blend until the it 'peas', ie, turns into pea sized granules. This will take a matter of seconds.
3. With the food processor running, add your egg. Wait a minute or so until it all comes together into a ball of dough. Remove from the processor, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill. Move onto filling as the dough chills.
4. Wipe down your processor, or wash completely, it's up to you.
5. Place almonds and powdered sugar into the processor bowl fitted with the blade. Pulse until the almonds are chopped finely.
6. Add egg whites, cinnamon, and cardamom, mix well.
7. Remove dough from fridge. Eyeing it, remove about a quarter of the dough from the ball placing it back in the refrigerator. Roll out the 3/4 that remains and press into a 9inch springform (or in my case a tart pan, something with a drop bottom).
8. Fill the shell with the almond filling.
9. Remove the small ball of dough from the fridge. Now you can roll it out and cut about 8 - 1/2 inch wide, 8 inch long strips. I however rolled 8 long 'snakes' (think play dough). Press each one onto the top, lattice style, crimping the edges.
10. Bake in the oven until golden brown, between 22-25 minutes.
11. Serve warm, or room temperature. My grandmother never did, but we had a scoop of delicious vanilla bean ice cream on top dressed with a sprinkle of cinnamon.


Fyrstekake, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.