May 28, 2015 | Leave a comment
Västerbotten cheese – three different ways
It’s our favourite Swedish cheese. In Sweden, it’s known as the King of Cheese – and there is a reason for this: It’s utterly delicious.
Initially created in 1872 by a loving mistake, when dairy maid Ulrika Eleonora Lindström was wooed by the milk man and left the cheese at the Burträsk Dairy go spoilt while she went out for cuddles. They shelved the spilt cheese anyway – and tasted it over a year later, realising the mistake had resulted in an amazing cheese discovery. The dairy have since tried to make Västerbotten in other locations, but have failed: no matter what they try to do, it never tasted the same as when it’s made in the town of Burträsk.
We’ve been stocking Västerbotten cheese since the day we opened, before it was more widely available in the UK. We like to think of ourselves as small time Västerbotten pioneers, really!
Perhaps this is why the makers asked us to give some classes on how to use Västerbotten in your every day cooking. We went along last Monday and met some great bloggers and food writers at a cooking school in London – and went through some super simple ways how to use this amazing cheese.
Here are some of the recipes. We highly recommend you make the spread (‘Västerbotten crème’) – it may seem the most simple of the lot, but it’s worth it. Go on, you’ll know why, once you’ve tasted it.
Västerbotten is available at our place (in store and online) – this week save £2 a pack now only £7.95 for 450g – and also nationally in smaller packs at selected Waitrose and Ocado, too.
Västerbotten Paj – cheese quiche.
This Paj (pie) is served at room temp, not usually hot. Serve as part of a summery smörgåsbord, or with a simple leafy salad. This ‘Paj’ is an essential item at a Crayfish party (always in August).
- 125g cold butter
- 200g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- (water, if needed – add few drops if dough not coming together)
- 250g Vasterbotten cheese
- 3 eggs
- 100ml whole milk
- 250ml double cream
- ½ tsp Paprika
- Salt, Pepper
Tart tin with loose base (22-23cm diameter)
Turn the oven on 180C
Make the pastry:
- In a food processor, blitz all ingredients until a dough forms, Leave to chill for 30 minutes before using. This step can also be done by hand, of course.
- Roll out the dough and line the pastry tin. Prick the base with a fork and bake weighed down with baking beans (Bake blind for 12-13 minutes).
- Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the filling, adding the grated Vasterbotten cheese last – and stirring.
- Carefully, pour the mixture into the pastry case. Pop it back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until done – it will puff up quite a bit towards the end. The final baking time will depend on your oven.
- Leave to cool down before slicing.
Serve with Romsås – a kaviar sauce – or if you can get real bleak roe, serve with a spoonful of this and some crème fraiche and chopped fresh red onion.
- 1 jar of red lumpfish roe
- Crème fraiche (3 tbsp)
- Mix together, leave to set for a while – stir again and serve as a sauce for the Paj.
They say some of the best things are the really simple things. This recipe is not really a recipe, more a cream cheese with flavour. I save all the crumbs of my Västerbotten make a delicious spread for crispbread.
Actually, that’s a bit of a lie… I grate it because there’s never enough crumbs for my consumption levels of this spread: It’s lovely.
Västerbotten pairs really well with a tart jam – such as cloudberry or lingonberry. The quantities below are just guidelines: For a spread at home, I prefer a strong, thicker mixture, but I sometimes add more crème fraice if I want to use it as a dip. If I want to pipe out the mixture to use on canapés, add more of the cream cheese.
What you need:
- 75g grated Västerbotten
- 50g Philadelphia cheese
- 50g Crème fraiche
- Freshly ground pepper
- Cloudberry jam / Lingonberry / other tart berries
- Finncrisp or similar (dark rye bread, toasted, is also a wonderful match)
- Optional: Chopped chives
Mix the cheese and crème fraiche and cream cheese together. Season. You won’t need salt as the Vasterbotten is salty enough.
When smooth, use as desired – try to spread it onto crispbread. Top with jam and chives, if using.
Raw courgette salad with Västerbotten
What you need:
- 2 medium sized courgettes
- 1 small bunch of rocket (or leaves of choice – although stronger flavours work well)
- 50g shaved Västerbotten cheese
- 50g flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, pepper
Toast the almonds lightly. Shave the courgettes into thin strips length ways – this is best done using a mandolin (the slicer, not the musical instrument) or even a flat metal cheese slicer. The strips need to be quite thin.
Add the courgette to a big bowl, add the salad leaves and mix gently. Add the cheese and fold again.
Make the dressing by combining the vinegars and oil in a bowl, whisk well, season with salt and pepper. Dress the salad (you may have too much dressing for your taste – this salad doesn’t really need much, so you can reserve the rest for next time).
Arrange on a serving plate, scatter with toasted almonds and serve immediately.
Final helpful recipe tip:
Mashed potato gets a new lease of life when you add a bit of grated Västerbotten cheese. You don’t need a lot – it really adds a lot of flavour so a little goes a long way.