Thursday, 13 May 2010
It’s a little known fact that Sweden produces some spectacularly delicious cheese (ost in Swedish).
Herrgardsost is a very popular cow’s milk cheese with a slight grassy flavour, full-bodied tang and soft texture.
Hushållsost, which just means “household cheese” is a typical farmer's cheese being semi-soft and mild in flavour. It’s easily for sliced and melted which makes it good for cooking and eating.
My personal favourite is prästost, meaning "Priest Cheese" in Swedish. Apparently the name comes from the days when farms gave a tenth of their produce to local clergy. Prästost is strong, biting, moreish and reminiscent of tangy, soft Cheddar. It’s wonderful, and another cow’s milk product.
But we’re here to discuss Västerbottenost, the so-called emperor of Swedish cheeses, being reserved for the most special of occasions. It’s produced in huge wheels and aged for almost a year, making it hard, crumbly and strong. Its flavour is similar to a young Parmigiano Reggiano (which makes a good substitute) and it’s perfect eaten on its own as a decadent nibble.
Jonas made this pie and it was AMAZING.
It’s not healthy, so don’t even pretend. But it does taste wonderful.
On Easter Sunday we were hit with our first taste of winter’s cold winds and torrential rain. It was enough to make us retreat into my dad and stepmum’s cosy home to enjoy a slice of the fabulous pie followed by some sticky Middle Eastern Orange Cake and an excess of Lindt chocolate.
If you don’t have access to Sweden’s wonderful Västerbottenost, just substitute with a combination of parmesan and taleggio.
Västerbottenostpaj (Västerbotten Cheese Pie)
Jonas’ very own recipe. Serves 8.
250g västerbottenost (or 200g parmesan and 50g taleggio)
1 brown onion
3 eggs, beaten
200ml thickened cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Butter, for frying
20g extra västerbottenost (or parmesan), for garnishing
Prepared pastry shell, as per below
1. Preheat oven to 180’C.
2. Dice the onion very finely.
3. Heat the butter in a frying pan then cook onion until translucent and a little golden. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4. Whisk together the eggs and cream.
5. Add the salt and pepper, onion and cheese and whisk to combine.
6. Pour into the prepared pastry casing and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until set.
7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.
8. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Note: The pie can be made the day before and refrigerated overnight. The next day simply reheat and serve.
Savoury Shortcrust Pastry
Jonas’ very own recipe. Makes 1 pastry case.
1 teaspoon salt
125g butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons hot water
1. Preheat oven to 180’C. Grease and line a springform tart tin.
2. Blend the ingredients in food processer until it forms a ball of dough.
3. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.
4. On lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to about 5 mm thick.
5. Line the pastry tin and bake for 15 minutes until golden.