Smörgåstårta is the Swedish food equivalent of Liberace.
Look, we know what you’re thinking: A Sandwich cake, really? Yes, really. It’s a big thing in Sweden. And the more mayo, the better.
It’s completely against all this ‘Scandinavia is super healthy’ movement, but it is also about admitting that once in a while, we – like most people – overdo things. It’s not all about super healthy stuff all the time. But actually.. we think it is the balance that makes it both sustainable, fun and healthy!
Smörgåstårta is eaten at celebrations, such as Midsummer, birthdays, Christenings and more. The basic idea is to make a huge sandwich, cover it with more filling and decorate it, then cut it like a cake and eat it by the slice. In truth, someone forgot to tell the Swedes not to mix and match stuff that really does not go together, so at times, you will find Mrs. Jonsson has made a sandwich cake with a layer of pork liver pate, salmon, prawns, roast beef and topped with ham and cheese. It’s all a bit too much.
No, we don’t care if it has become tradition; it doesn’t make it right!
So, at the café, while we don’t often make Smörgåstårta, when we do, we stick to combinations such as delicious seafood and fish. We always make Smörgåstårta for Midsummer and people queue up, waiting for their slice to have with their open sandwiches and salads. It’s one of our favourite times of the year, helping the people of London have their first taste of Smörgåstårta!
If you Google Smörgåstårta, you will find that – as if straight out of a 1960s cookbook, Smörgåstårta are decorated as if it is the food equivalent of Liberace. More is more, and the more shaped rose radishes you can fit on there and swirls of cucumber, the better. It is all allowed when making Smörgåstårta, so feel free to get your creative spark on.
If you want to make a less Liberace version at home for your Midsummer Smorgasbord, here’s a quick serves-four recipe to follow. If you feel it does need some extra OOOMMPH on there, feel free to go mad.
Enjoy! And Happy Midsummer.
What you need:
- 6 slices of white English bread, crust cut off
- about 200ml prawn salad (use your favourite or mix together peeled prawns, dill, chopped chives, lemon, mayo, creme fraiche, salt, pepper – to taste)
- A tub of good quality prawns
- 200g smoked salmon
- 1 cucumber
- Fresh Dill
- Fresh Chives
- A tub of mayonnaise
- 3 hard boiled eggs.
Mix the Skagenrora with an extra handful of prawns and freshly chopped chives. You can also add some chopped salmon to this – it depends how you prefer your fish/mayo ratio.
Butter the bread on one side. Please two sides side by side and top with as much Skagenröra mixture as you feel is needed (you may not need it all). Add two slices of bread on top.
Mash the eggs and mix with a little bit of mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Add to the top of the bread. Add the last two slices of bread.
Using a pallet knife, add a thin layer of mayonnaise all around the sandwich cake. This will help the other toppings stick.
We like using nice slices of salmon on the top of the sandwich cake. Try to arrange in a nice pattern and let it overhang slightly on the sides to avoid blunt corners.
Using a cheese slicer or mandolin, cut long pieces of cucumber and use to decorate the sides. If you need a bit more mayonnaise to make it stick, well, so be it.
Once the sides are looking neat, you can decorate the top. This is the bit where you’re likely to overdo it. We tend to simply add some Skagenrora on top and then add loads of prawns and simply decorate with sprigs of dill.
When done, refrigerate before eating.