Posts Categorized: Pudding

You had me at Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

One word fills me with joy when it comes to reading a menu or recipe book – dumpling. Sweet, savoury – it doesn’t matter; dumpling is king.

This is a recipe I love, adapted from Beatrice Ojakangas’s ultimate guide to all things Scandinavian and baked.  It’s a cross between a cake and a desert, with a texture not dissimilar to the steamed puddings I loved as a child; and still whip up on a cold night when nothing else but the dense, comforting embrace of a pudding will do.

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Originally designed to be baked in a square unassuming cake tin and served in generous chunks, I prefer to lift it the next level and present it as an upside down cake that will definitely impress your afternoon tea guests. But by all means – go where the afternoon takes you.

Swedish apple dumpling cake or Appelkäka

Ingredients for Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

5 medium, tart cooking apples, peeled and halved (I chose Pink Lady, originally an Australian cultivar grown as a cross between a Lady William and a Golden Delicious)
10 walnut halves
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Vanilla wafer crumbs, or fine dry breadcrumbs – I used Panko crumbs in a pinch.
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup of softened butter
2/3 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of ground almonds
2/3 cup of plain flour
2 of teaspoons lemon juice

Walnuts :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Icing
1/2 cup of icing sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons single cream
1 teaspoon almond extract

Peel and cut apples into halves lengthwise. Cut off the core and stem ends and scoop out the seeds using a melon baller.

In a saucepan, combine the 1/2 of cup sugar, water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the apples. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmering, and cook 8 minutes until the apples are just barely tender. Be careful not to overcook, as some apples will suddenly transform from hard to collapsed in seconds.

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat oven to 180C.

Butter a 20 cm round spring form cake pan and dust it heavily the vanilla wafer crumbs, or breadcrumbs.

Drain the apples and place them with their cut sides down into the cake pan, carefully placing a walnut half underneath each hollow.

Separate the eggs and, with a hand mixer, beat the whites until stiff. Set aside.

In another bowl cream the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar. Add the egg yolks, ground almonds, flour, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Mixture will be stiff. Blend in the egg whites gently to maintain the lift until well combined.

Spread mixture over the apples in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and mix the icing ingredients. If you following the upside down method, allow the cake to cool slightly and gently release from the cake tin. Place a place over the top of the cake and flip to reveal the apple halves underneath. Drizzle the hot cake with the icing and arrange the lavender flowers.  If not, leave the cake in the square tin and drizzle with the icing – serve straight from the pan.

Swedish Apple Dumpling Cake :: The Scandinavian Baker

This cake is delicious served warm with some thick cream on the side and a piping hot pot of tea.


Pink Lady Apples :: The Scandinavian Baker

A Moment’s Notice and Cherry Clafoutis

Sour Cherry Clafoutis :: The Scandinavian Baker

There comes a time in the evenings, particularly on the cooler nights where your mind drifts to thoughts of warm baked puddings – but it’s a Wednesday and already too late to contemplate pie.

We’ve all been there. I’m there often.

When time is short and only pie will do, there’s no need to compromise with this delightful French classic that will make you feel at home – even if you’re in a far off land.

Fancy in name and connotations, this desert will impress your pyjama clad companion and satisfy the urge for pudding with one bite. The best part is, it’s made from on-hand ingredients you’re likely to have just lying about in the pantry. (I mean who doesn’t have sour cherries in the pantry – right?) Win!

Sour Cherries :: The Scandinavian Baker

Sour Cherry Clafoutis

The Pantry

1 jar of sour cherries, drained

6 eggs

250 ml of milk

100 grams of flour

Pinch of salt flakes

75 grams of caster or brown sugar (I used panela because it was handy and gives a great caramel flavour)

Butter to grease a 23cm pie dish – don’t be shy, this is pudding, not diet food.

Sour Cherry Clafoutis :: The Scandinavian Baker

Preheat your oven to 200c.

Combine the flour, salt, eggs and a little milk in a large bowl and gently mix until combined. Gradually add more milk and whisk well until very smooth – the consistency of crepe batter. Set aside.

Generously grease your pie dish – and I mean generously, leaving a few thick smears of the butter here and there.

Pour the drained cherries into the pie dish and cover with the batter. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the batter and place into the oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen, and golden. The custard should be firm with a slight wobble in the middle. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving with a little too much vanilla custard or thick double cream.

Retire back to the sofa and flick on the next episode of Orange is the New Black and be grateful you can whip up a deeply satisfying pudding with a moment’s notice.

Note: This recipe is very versatile and can be combined with a variety of different fruit. Dried apricots make for a surprising treat. Simply soak a cup full of dried apricots in freshly boiled water for an hour and proceed as above for a fresh take on a baked apricot Danish – sans pastry.

Sour Cherry Clafoutis :: The Scandinavian Baker

Almost Bread and Butter Pudding

Bun and Butter Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Crumb and the Restless

I think I’ve hit my limit. It’s hard to admit, but could five delicious bunly months almost be too much? Even the fact that there are two posts about this topic is astonishing in itself.

From the commencement of the 2014 season (in December 2013) at my local multi-national provedore, to the heady days of Easter and quick-fire discounting at the checkout I’ve had my share of Hot Cross Buns.

But it’s May and the buns have now returned to the little piece of heaven they’re baked in for another year… Except they haven’t.

My local is still stocking them 3ft high on entry. Even the competitor down the road has continued the supply, albeit sans cross and now labeled and fruity and convenient breakfast buns – but I see through their charade.

I’m beginning to suspect they have made the jump… to everyday food.

So why not take advantage? Why suffer when your heart’s desire is there for the taking – well, for me it’s beginning to feel a little stale (see what I did there). Sure I can stretch to four months, but now I need a break so I can experience the joy of devouring hot cross buns anew in the scorching heat of January next year.

So I’m farewelling the buns with the proper send-off they deserve – almost bread and butter pudding, with a twist.

Bun and Butter Pudding

Ingredients for Bun and Butter Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

I’m using the buns from my previous post, but this recipe works splendidly with slightly stale korvapuusti, pulla, brioche or your everyday sandwich bread.  A surprisingly stunning version can also be made with stale rye bread, molasses and cinnamon – deliciously peculiar.

The Pantry

3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

¾ of a cup of caster sugar

600 mls of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

½ a teaspoon each of cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg

Pinch of salt

6 stale hot cross buns, split in two

25 grams of butter

Lingonberry or other jam of your choice

Bun and Butter Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

Beat the eggs and extra yolk with the sugar, salt and spices, but not too vigorously to avoid too many bubbles. Incorporate the milk and vanilla and set aside.

Split the buns in half and butter each side liberally and dot with the jam. Place the buns butter side up I to a baking dish.

Gently pour in the custard mixture covering the buns and allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the buns to absorb some of the liquid.

Bun and Butter Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

Place the baking dish into a larger baking tin filled with enough hot water to reach two thirds of the way up the dish.

Bake at 160c for 40-45 minutes until the custard is set and the buns a burnished gold.

Best served warm, but is equally delicious cold the next day for a sneaky mid-morning snack.

If you like things a little zesty, grate some lemon zest in to the custard mix before baking for a surprising addition.

Oh and happy May-ster?

Bun and Butter Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

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Pavlova – Just the way you remember her

Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

There’s nothing quite like a Pavlova to elicit a wistful and starry-eyed response from those about to eat it. It makes an appearance at all kinds of summer celebrations and is often the queen of the table when deserts appear.

To be honest, I love them because of their simplicity. They’re a breeze to make and they showcase stunning summer ingredients like nothing else – and then there are the starry-eyed recipients.

Named for a Russian ballerina but not well known outside of the antipodes  I was glad to introduce the Finn’s family to it one lunchtime to much acclaim.  A new experience for them and a success all around.

The Pavlova Recipe :: The Scandinavian Baker

This Pav recipe comes from my heavily dog-eared copy of Stephanie Alexander’s The Cooks Companion  and has become a staple for me. When you’ve found the best, there’s no need to mess, (well, except that I can’t help it and use raw or golden caster sugar instead of white to transform the meringue to an almost rose gold caramel – but that’s it I swear).

A lovely friend and colleague left the team this week past to start a new exciting adventure as a soon to be parent, so what better way to celebrate a new generation of Pavlova lovers than with this.

Ingredients for Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

4 egg whites, at room temperature

pinch of salt

250 grams of golden/ raw caster sugar

2 teaspoons cornflour

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

A few drops of pure vanilla

250ml of thick cream or firmly whipped if you prefer

Raspberries, blueberries, walnuts and lemon curd (recipe below)

Set your oven to 180c. Beat the egg whites with the salt until firm. Add the sugar a little at a time and beat until shiny and stiff (and no longer gritty). Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour and gently fold into the mixture until combined.

Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Transfer on to a prepared baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Flatten the mound a little and smooth out the sides. As I don’t invert my pavs after baking this is the point you can get creative. Using a spatula pat the meringue around the edges of the top lifting gentle waves and loops across the surface. Don’t worry too much about the centre as it will be covered with cream.

Lemons :: The Scandinavian Baker

Place into the oven and reduce the temperature to 150c and bake for 30 minutes. Then reduce again to 120c and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Switch off the oven and allow the meringue to cool completely. I often bake it the night before the party and leave it in the oven overnight.

The Lemon Curd

4 egg yolks (reserved from the meringue above)

75 grams of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of caster sugar

Juice and rind of two lemons

Because I make this curd often to dress a pavlova, it can sometimes be runnier than you’re probably used too, but don’t worry – that’s how you want it. If you want the curd for crumpets in the morning, pop it into the fridge to set a little or reduce the lemon juice to around 100ml if you’re using larger lemons.

Combine the sugar, egg yolks, butter and the juice and rind of the lemons in a small saucepan. Stir  over a gentle heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is combined. Bring to a simmer while stirring and cook for a few minutes until think and the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. And there you have it – instant lemon curd and possibly the best unexpected  pavlova topping you’re likely to come across.

Naked Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Dress it up

Dress your cooled meringue with thick dollopy cream (or light fluffy whipped if you prefer), spoonfuls of the home-made lemon curd, raspberries, blueberries and walnuts.

There it is in all its glory – Pavlova. Irresistible! (Hooray)

Pavlova :: The Scandinavian Baker

Tradition with a Twist

Freshly picked Rosellas :: The Scandinavian Baker

One summer visiting Finland we retired to the family’s lakeside summer house for sauna, swimming under the midnight sun and hunting for early mushrooms and signs of bears.

The Finn’s lovely aunt was preparing a seriously traditional summerhouse style lunch of cheese, dark rye bread and pea soup followed by a bowl of Vispipuuro. The Finn’s eyes lit up – this was going to be a treat. After the main fare she presented the table with bowlfuls of blindingly-magenta wobbling whipped pudding – a sight to behold.

Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

This is a super-easy, if not a little peculiar, desert that everyone will love and can be whipped up (pun intended) in a matter of minutes.

Made on fresh lingonberries and semolina this is a summer classic for summerhouse sojourns.

Fresh or frozen lingonberries are not an ingredient I can easily put my hands on, so necessity is the mother of invention and I took my lead from the Finn’s mother and used her home-grown rosellas.

Rosellas :: The Scandinavian Baker

She adapted the recipe many years ago when they lived in the sun-baked desert in far north western Queensland and berries were impossible to come by but rosellas thrived. There was no nipping down to the local supermarket even for frozen ones back then.

Rosellas make for a fantastic variation on the original. Their flavour is sour and slightly astringent, made deeper by the essential addition of sugar – and not dissimilar to lingonberries.

Ingedients for Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry 

1 litre of cold water

300 grams of fresh rosellas (seed removed)

½ a cup of golden caster sugar

1 cup of semolina

Semolina :: The Scandinavian Baker

Place the rosellas, and water in to a large saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to soften and release its deep red colour. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid in to a heat proof jug.

While the rosellas have given up some of their flavour and colour the remaining fruit is still rich and ready for another transformation. Reserve the flesh in a smaller saucepan for later to make into super quick jam.

Return the liquid to the pan and add the sugar, stir to dissolve and add the semolina. Return to the heat and bring the mixture to the boil stirring constantly. If the semolina begins to clump a balloon whisk will help smooth it all out.

Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the semolina is cooked and no longer grainy to the touch. Stirring, always stirring.

Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

Here comes the magic.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and using a stand or hand mixer, beat the pudding with a whisk attachment for at least 5 minutes on high speed. The dark magenta mixture will begin to transform to a paler, lighter and much larger version of itself right before your eyes. The Vispipuuro is born.

It’s best served a room temperature, so allow to cool before devouring. Milk and sugar or cream make for a great accompaniment.

Vispipuuro :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Jam

Meanwhile, don’t forget about the rosellas. These are quickly transformed into jam with the addition of half a cup of caster sugar and the juice and seeds of a small lemon. Bring this all to the boil and cook for 10 minutes on a steady heat. Once ready fish out the lemon seeds and transfer into a sterilised jar.

Dollop jam on top of the Vispipuuro for a delightful rosella infused twist on a Scandinavian summer favourite. Then pop down to the lake for a dip!

Lakeside at the Summerhouse :: The Scandinavian Baker

A Christmas Years in the Making Part 2: Flame On!

Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

The time eventually came for pudding – and it didn’t disappoint.

We saved our pudding for New Year’s Day which might become its own tradition at The Scandinavian Baker HQ. As indicated I opted for showy and awe-inspiring  when it came to the brandy.

The Method
See: A Christmas Years in the Making Part 1 to prepare.

Pour half the warmed brandy over the pudding. Take a match and light the remaining brandy in the saucepan. Take control of the elements and pour bright living flame onto the pudding and make it the best New Year ever!

Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

Even my self-proclaimed pudding hater friend devoured her slice – perhaps I have a convert?


Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker
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A Christmas Years in the Making

Brandy :: The Scandinavian Baker

Everyone has a favourite home-made treat at Christmas time. For sure, the Christmas Pudding has to be up there with the best.

My Mum has beautiful recipe book that was handwritten by her mother. It’s filled with the recipes that have become our celebration meals and shaped our shared history – including Christmas Pudding.

It’s a wonderful thing to be now cooking these recipes for my family and friends.  The recipes travel with me and make up some of my cook-them-with-my-eyes-closed celebration standards.

Mixed dried fruit :: The Scandinavian Baker

The first Christmas we lived in Finland I managed to convince the Finn’s family to have Christmas twice (it wasn’t that hard to do).

The first Christmas would be on the 24th, the traditional day for the Scandinavians, and the second would be on the 25th featuring the best an Australian Christmas had to offer – including the Christmas Pudding. Our cousin excelled himself and cooked one of the best turkeys I’ve ever eaten – I think I may have started a tradition.

Christmas Pudding ingedients :: The Scandinavian Baker

Christmas Pudding

The pudding was unfamiliar to all, which made it even more exciting when I revealed the giant, cloth-wrapped behemoth and told them I needed a serving plate that wouldn’t crack if it was set on fire.

The Pantry

454 grams of fresh breadcrumbs (homemade, not the ultra-fine store bought kind – these will not work, put them back)

340 grams of unsalted butter, softened

113 grams of plain flour

340 grams of brown sugar

454 grams of currants

454 grams of raisins

113 grams of mixed peel

8 large eggs

1 wine glass of brandy (approx 150 mls)

Teaspoon of salt

1 pudding cloth, plus extra flour for dusting.

Clean pudding coins (for luck)

NOTE: The weights are a little strange as the original recipe is measured in Imperial weights.

This recipe works brilliantly halved if you’re not feeding a horde. Just adjust the cooking time by half plus 30 minutes.

Homemade breadcrumbs :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Breadcrumbs

To make the bread crumbs begin the day before. Take a fresh plain loaf of bread, regular store-bought sliced white actually works the best. Empty the slices into a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to bread to go stale overnight.

The next day crumble the bread in to rough crumbs. The crumbs don’t need to be very small, just even and no larger than your thumb nail. Rubbing the bread lightly between your hands in a circular motion gives good results. Huzzah! Crumbs.

Christmas Pudding ingredients :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Mixture

Start early in the day. (You’ll see why below)

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time and continue to mix until well combined. Don’t panic if the mixture begins to split, the dry ingredients will help it all reincorporate.

Add the flour and salt and mix well. Add the fruit and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Now, this is the important part. Add the brandy at once and stir. It’s tradition with this pudding for each family member to take a turn at mixing in the brandy and make a Christmas wish for their effort – proceed.

Once combined and wishes complete you can add pudding coins if you want to. Mix again.



How to prepare your pudding cloth

In a large saucepan place a heat proof plate and cover with water. Bring to the boil.

Lay out your clean and dry pudding cloth onto a table or the kitchen bench. Sprinkle the surface with flour and using your hands evenly spread the flour across the cloth. Get ready to wrap.

Pudding batter :: The Scandinavian Baker

Working quickly scrape the pudding mixture into a mound on the pudding cloth, bring up the edges of the cloth, forming a slightly squat ball and tie the cloth firmly with cotton roasting twine. Tie it as tightly as you can. Make a loop in the end of the twine to hang the pudding from later.

Once tied, lower your pudding into the boiling water and top up to cover. The pudding will float, so don’t worry of the top isn’t entirely covered. Pop a lid on top and boil for (wait for it) 6-7 hours.

Wrapped Christmas Pudding :: The Scandinavian Baker

Once the time has passed turn off the stove and gently lift the pudding from its bath. Hold it over a bowl until the cooking water has stopped dripping. The pudding now needs to hang in a cool breezy location to dry out and form a skin. It can last for months, but over the years, we’ve been known to whip it up a week before Christmas and the result is just as good.

To Serve

To serve the pudding it will need to be reheated in a pot of boiling water for an hour until warmed through. Now comes the fancy part. Gently unwrap your pudding and invert onto a flame-resistant serving plate.

Gently heat half a cup of brandy right before you’re ready to present the pudding. Don’t let it boil.

Christmas Pudding on the boil :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Brave and the Bold

There a two ways to do this. One: pour the warmed brandy over the pudding and light it with a match. The pudding will ignite and dazzle your guests with a stunning blue flame for a few minutes. Once the flames and applause have died down cut into generous slices and serve with cream, custard, ice cream or more brandy.

Two: (My preferred method) pour half the warmed brandy over the pudding. Take a match and light the remaining brandy in the saucepan. Take control of the elements and pour bright living flame onto the pudding and make it the best Christmas ever! (Photos to come)

Again: Once the flames and applause have died down cut into generous slices and serve with cream, custard, ice cream or more brandy.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas – Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta!

Marimekko Christmas tree :: The Scandinavian Baker