When you have been living in a foreign country for quite a while, you start noticing traits which recur in the people who host you, in my case, Swedes. I cannot tell that I have completely figured them out and I admit that they still puzzle me in many respects. For instance I am not sure I can make sense of their apparent humbleness often coupled with a sense of self as strong as cast iron (material that they know how to master royally, if one only has a look at pots and pans made in this country). It is indeed an odd mixture of pride and shyness. So if you visit Sweden, don’t be fooled by the humble attitude of the most… under the understating surface lies a fierce independence and a proud self-assurance.
This said… although they won’t brag about it easily -while deep inside they know and are very proud of it- Swedes are incredibly talented bakers. Besides their forever crunchy flat breads, they excel at small pastries and sweet buns. In fact, there is an endless variety of this portion-sized sweet treats which go wonderfully with coffee and are so conveniently “transportable”. I guess this is due to the importance of the fika, the coffee time, which is more like a Scandinavian siesta than a coffee break, and it is best enjoyed outdoor.
Hallongrottor (raspberry “caves”) are so easy to make and so incredibly delicious. I filled mine with home made raspberry jam, since Swedish raspberries are in season and the jam made out of them is astounding. The pastry is a classical shortcrust one with almost equal amounts of flour (in my case, whole spelt and stone ground sifted wheat) and butter. By the way… butter is not as bad as we generally think. Besides being a good source of vitamin E and D it can even reduce the glycemix index of high carb food items. So… c’mon indulge yourself a little and be happy (recipe below).
DISCLOSURE: these hallongrottor have been prepared by a 4-y old with the only assistance of an (overtly proud and forever bragging) Italian mother weighting the ingredients-see how incredibly easy these are?