Around this time last year I was getting ready to fly to Gothenburg to celebrate Midsummer (and the summer solstice) in Swedish-style. Midsommar is the most important holiday in Sweden and is usually celebrated in the countryside, with all-night-long parties, food and drinks and dances around a pole with flower crowns on your heads.
My husband and I spent Midsummer last year at My’s home, a lovely couchsurfer who had agreed to host us in her Gothenburg flat for a few nights. Since My had to work in the city and miss the Midsummer celebrations with her family, she decided to make a small feast at home for us. We had dinner together and stayed awake until midnight to watch the sunset from her 9th floor apartment.
My made a traditional Swedish Sandwich Cake and I loved watching her prepare it and learn about this unique dish.
Smörgåstårta is a savoury cake that is basically made like a giant sandwich, but since it is covered in cream and garnished, it resembles a beautifully decorated layered cream cake.
The smörgåstårta is made up of several layers of white (or light rye) bread with different creamy fillings in between. Boiled eggs and mayonnaise are often the base, while the additional filling often include: shrimp, ham, cold cuts, caviar, tomato, cucumber, lemon slices, cream cheese and smoked salmon.
- 1 rectangular loaf of white bread (around 15-20 slices)
For egg salad filling
- 1 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped fine
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 white onion, chopped fine
- 1 tbsp red caviar
For smoked salmon filling
- 150g smoked salmon, chopped fine
- 250ml crème fraîche
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
For cream cheese filling
- 140gr whipped cream cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, dill and chives (finely chopped)
For the topping
- 6-8 smoked salmon slices
- handful of shrimps
- 6-8 tsp red caviar
- fresh parsley
- 1 tomato
- 6 to 8 radishes, trimmed and sliced thinly
- lemon slices
In 3 separate bowls combine all ingredients for each filling, stirring each together until combined well. Season each filling with salt and pepper.
Stack 4 bread slices together and with a serrated knife trim crusts from bread. Stack and trim remaining bread slices in same manner.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper arrange 3 bread slices side by side to form a rectangle. Top the bread with half of egg salad filling, spreading evenly, and cover with 3 more bread slices in same manner, pressing gently on top and sides to form an even layer.
Top second layer of bread with the salmon filling, spreading evenly, and cover with 3 bread slices in same manner to form an even layer. Top third layer of bread with all of cream cheese filling, spreading evenly, and cover with 3 bread slices to close the cake.
Cover the sandwich cake with cream on top and sides.
Garnish the cake with smoked salmon rolled slices, shrimps, teaspoons of caviar, fresh parsley, thin lemon slices and cucumber.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Another traditional Midsummer dish in Sweden is Gubbröra, the name translates to “old man’s mix”. It’s an egg-anchovy salad served with crisp bread or on a slice of rusk bread (dark rye) as a starter, midnight snack or side dish.
- 200g matjes sill (matjes herring fillets), chopped (keep the brine)
- 1-2 tbsp of matjes sill brine
- up to 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 medium boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 big or 2 small boiled potatoes, chopped
- 1/2 tart apple (like granny smith), chopped
- 3 tbsp sour cream
- a dollop of creme fraiche
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 50ml chopped chives
- 50ml chopped dill
Mix all the ingredients. Add salt and black pepper to taste.