Kransekake, a tall layer of lightly baked almond flour rings mortared together with sweet icing. Since then we were on the lookout for Norwegian cookbooks with more baking ideas. As such, we recently came across Norwegian Cakes and Cookies by Sverre Saetre, Norway's most acclaimed pastry chef. Currently running a patisserie in Oslo, Chef Saetre has also worked at Erichsen Bakery in Trondheim and also at star restaurant Bagatelle.
This book features fresh interpretations of traditional Norwegian recipes that include cakes, tarts, candied fruit, and puddings. Norwegian Cakes and Cookies also includes a chapter on basic dessert recipes that includes pie and tart crusts, chocolate glaze, and vanilla custard. In all of his recipes, Chef Saetre relies on basic "Norwegian Raw Materials" - indigenous ingredients that, although rare, are some of the world's best.
Many of these ingredients such as opal plums, cloudberries, and sea buckthorn were not so easy to find in North American markets, however. So we decided to try three of the more basic recipes that were included in the book. First, we tried the Puff Pastry Sticks with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon. This is an easy "go to" recipe that our two daughters loved. Next, we tried the recipe for Egg Nog. Although we usually have Bourbon Whiskey Slushes during the Christmas Holiday, we may have to include this recipe going forward. The last recipe that we tried was the one for Sweet Cookies. This recipe is a Norwegian classic that requires a special device called a krumkake iron.
We give this book three out of five stars. Although Norwegian Cakes and Cookies by Sverre Saetre includes many classic Norwegian recipes such as Prince Cake and Veiled Farm Girls, many of the recipes were impractical because of the hard to find ingredients or because of the level of skill and baking experience needed. This book would likely have more appeal to a European audience that has easier access to some of the key ingredients that make Norwegian baking so unique.