in food •  8 months ago  (edited)

Hello foodies!

Today I thought I'd bring you a fantastic summer dish from my home country, Sweden. The sumptuous smörgåstårta!

I know, I know, summer has gone for all of us Euros, but there's still the Aussies to think about, eh? Also, you can bookmark or favourite or whatever else you want to do with this, and impress your friends in a couple of months. Or, you can make it when it's really miserable and rainy outside, just to get that summer feeling back, if only for a fleeting moment. Or, just make it because it tastes so damn good!

The smörgåstårta is a great dish for summer parties, as it can be prepped 3-4 hours before guests arrive, put in the fridge to set and let the bread soak in the delicious fillings, and then whipped out to be decorated in 10-15 minutes, just before serving. The closest English translation for smörgåstårta would probably be "sandwich cake". Which, first of all, sounds utterly insane. Second of all, it also sounds somewhat disgusting. Third of all (and most important) the name is smörgåstårta, not "sandwich cake". GTFO with that "sandwich cake". Smörgåstårta. K?

First, a disclaimer - just so I don't bring the wrath of every single Swedish person here down upon me. This dish probably has as many different recipes as there are Swedish people. Just google the word "smörgåstårta" and you'll see what I mean. So, this is my recipe. If you make it differently, totally fine, more power to you! But don't tell me "You're doing it wrong!" in the comments below. I'm not! It's mine!

Now that we have that out of the way, let's get cracking!

Prep time: 30-45 minutes
Cool-down time: preferably a couple of hours, but can be decorated and served immediately after assembling.
Feeds: about 10 people
Difficulty: canyouboilanegg / 5

For the filling:
10-12 medium/large eggs (free range/organic if you can get them)
150-200 g smoked salmon in thin slices
150-200 g shrimp (when peeled)
2-3 small cans of tuna (in olive oil)
A couple of tablespoons of yogurt or crème fraîche
A couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise
100-150 g cottage cheese
A teaspoon of mustard
Fresh dill
Salt (sea salt if you have it)
Ground pepper (freshly ground)
12 long, fairly thin slices of plain white toast bread

For the topping and decoration:
150-200 g cream cheese
A couple of tablespoons of yogurt or crème fraîche
A couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise
100-150 g cottage cheese
150-200 g shrimp (when peeled)
5-8 radishes
1-2 fresh cucumbers or 2-3 pepinos (they're shorter, see)
Fresh dill
Fresh (purple) bean sprouts
Caviar (black, see below)
1-2 lemons

1 - Hard-boil the eggs, peel them and put them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge to cool them down.

2 - If you went for fresh, uncooked shrimp for the topping, bring some water to the boil, salt the water, dump your shrimp in and boil for a minute or so until done, but not until they become rubber bullets. Drain the water and put them in a bowl in the fridge to cool them down.

3 - Make the top covering first. In a mixing bowl, put the cream cheese, a table spoon of yogurt, a table spoon of mayonnaise, about two thirds of the cottage cheese and mix together (with a spoon or something, not a mixer/blender!). Take a few dill sprigs and rip off a few of the "leaves", rip in smaller pieces and mix in. You're supposed to be able to spread this on top of the smörgåstårta later, so if it's too thick, add a bit more yogurt and/or a bit of (olive) oil. Put the bowl in the fridge to stay cool.

This is my covering after I put it on.

4 - Make the filling for the top inside layer. Put the tuna in a bowl together with a tablespoon of mayo and yogurt. If you went for the tuna in water, add a bit of (olive) oil. Put a few finely chopped dill sprigs into the bowl and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 - Make the filling for the middle layer. Cut your smoked salmon into small pieces, about as big as your thumb. If you want, you can save a couple of slices to use for decoration on top. Put the cut salmon in a bowl. Get some shrimp from the fridge and peel if you went with all fresh ones. We're not going to use anything but the shrimp tails, so put about as much shrimp tails as salmon in the bowl. The shrimp for this layer should be chopped approximately to the size of your thumbnail if they're too big. (If you want, save the shrimp heads and shells, they make for a great base for a home made fish stock.) Put a couple of tablespoons of mayo and yogurt and a few finely chopped dill sprigs in the bowl and mix gently. Put the bowl in the fridge to stay cool.

6 - Make the filling for the bottom layer. Get the eggs out from the fridge, and if you want to save an egg or two for decoration, set them aside now. (The yellow yolk looks pretty good on top as well.) Now the (rest of the) eggs should be chopped into very small pieces. If you have an egg-cutter that is by far the easiest way to do it, first one way, then the other for each egg.

Put the chopped eggs into - you guessed it - yet another bowl. Gently mix in the rest of the cottage cheese and a generous amount of of mayo. If you have one egg which is not quite hard-boiled, crush it into the mix, the yolk will add a bit more colour to it.

Now we need to add some mustard, to enhance the yellow colour and to give the egg mix a HINT of mustard. Start with a teaspoon, mix in and taste. Repeat adding small amounts of mustard until you can juuust hint the mustard in the background.

7 - Time for assembly! Get a tray or a cutting board, where your bread will fit. Some like to put the smörgåstårta on cling film or aluminium foil (it's aluminium, not "aluminum", 'Murica) but I never understood why. Easiest by far is to assemble the smörgåstårta on the thing you're going to serve it on, so why add plastic, which you then have to remove (from the bottom no less!) before serving?
Anyway, lay out your slices of bread on your tray and spread the egg-and-mustard mix out on top. Make sure to spread the mix as evenly and as closely to the edges as possible.

Put slices of bread on top of the egg layer.

Get the salmon mix out from the fridge, and spread it out on top of the next bread layer.

Put slices of bread on top of the salmon layer.

Get the tuna mix from the fridge and repeat the covering procedure, finishing with the last layer of bread.

Get the cream cheese mix from the fridge and spread it out on top of the smörgåstårta, and all the way around. Use a spatula and/or a couple of spoons. Don't worry if it gets a bit messy, you can wipe it off before decorating. At this point, you should cover it with some cling film and put it in the fridge to set for a few hours.

If you don't have time for that, move on to decorating the smörgåstårta. Slice cucumber (or pepinos) and radishes thinly. Use a mandolin if you have one. I like to put thinly sliced cucumber all the way around the outsides, but here's where your own creativity comes in!

Decorate the smörgåstårta with cucumbers, radishes, shrimp, bean sprouts and caviar. Cut the lemons into smaller pieces and put in a nice serving bowl, so your guests can get a slice and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top of their piece of smörgåstårta if they want to.

Serve with a glass of white wine (not too dry, a summery Chardonnay is good with this) or an ice cold beer.

Obviously, this is the type of dish which absolutely will taste better, the better quality ingredients you get. So a couple of tips, tricks and advice:

  • Don't cheap out on the mayo. If it doesn't taste of anything, it's not mayo. Then it's just processed fat. Just. Don't.
  • Use fresh shrimp for the decoration if you can, they look and taste sooo much better. Frozen shrimp, or shrimp in water, are totally fine though, if you're on a budget. Just thaw them and drain the water thoroughly before you start mixing them into the filling or decorating. Frozen ones also needs a bit more salt when mixing.
  • If you're on a budget, you can get the cheapo eggs instead. But free range eggs just taste so much more of eggs! And think of the ten chickens crammed into the 50x50 cm cages 24/7 man, think of the chickens!
  • "Fake" caviar is totally OK. If you can get real caviar, it's better though, it's not that much more expensive nowadays.
    Super-expensive beluga caviar imported from the farthest reaches of Russia should be avoided. That would be a complete waste of super-expensive beluga caviar imported from the farthest reaches of Russia. Which should be enjoyed quite differently.
    I chose real caviar, but the kind that has been coloured black. (Yes, black "normal"-type caviar is black usually because of food-colouring, not because the roe is black.) I chose this mainly because I think it looks better on the smörgåstårta together with the colours of the shrimp. Red is totally fine too though, and might even look better if you choose different toppings than mine.
  • I prefer line-caught tuna, even if it's a bit more expensive. If you don't like the taste of olive oil, you can use tuna in any other oil, or tuna in water. If you use tuna in water, just remember to drain away the water first, and add some oil of your choice for the middle layer.
  • If you don't like toast bread, you can change it to any kind of fluffy sort of bread you want. (Knäckebröd won't work.) Just make sure that it's fairly uniform and reasonably dense.
  • Due to the amount of fresh ingredients, mainly the fish, shrimp, eggs and dairy products, this does not last for long even when refrigerated. The best thing to do, is to finish it off in one sitting. Or have the last pieces for lunch the day after. Or as a midnight snack with a beer, after the guests have gone home.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the read and the pictures. If you make this yourself, get creative, get in touch and let me know how you did! I hope you have a great rest of your day wherever and whenever you are.

Source notes:
Pictures/designs/photographs/etc. in this post are by me.

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That is a typical dish in Finland, too, we call it voileipäkakku. Smörgås=voileipä, tårta=kakku.
Now I'm hungry, that looks so good!

I didn't know you had that in Finland as well. But it's logical I suppose. :-) I'm glad you found it appetizing!


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It was. :-)

looks so yummy!❤️

I agree! :-D

Great detail on your post, keep it up!

Thanks a lot, I appreciate that!

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Why, thank you!

You're doing it wrong!!!!

I'm not! It's mine!

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That is a really Beautiful smörgåstårta and it is one of my favorite Dish.
Always wanted that on my bday growing up instead of cake 😜 lol
I got cake to but I mean.... Smörgåstårta 😋 MMMM... Det är sååå gott.
Thank you for sharing and I hope it was as good as it looked.
Have a wonderful weekend. Cheers!