My maternal grandfather was full Norwegian. His father was in immigrant from Karmøy, a small island southwest of Haugesand. We were lucky to be able to visit Norway, including Karmoy, eight years ago before my grandfather passed away. We were there during August 2004. I dream of going to Norway for Christmas someday.
I lived with my grandfather for a few months when I was starting college. He enjoyed the company, as did I. My grandmother had passed away a few years before that. Our evenings were often spent sharing a hot beverage and a piece of buttered toast, or a bowl of cereal.
He would tell me stories about his childhood in North Dakota. I wish I had recorded the stories, because the details are hazy now years later. I remember him telling me about Christmastime and how they would decorate their tree with candles, a pail of water nearby, just in case. They would have lutefisk, cakes, cookies and sweet breads.
Sadly, not many recipes, if any, from my Norwegian great-grandparents were handed down. Only a love of seafood and spiced Holiday treats. I imagine if my grandfather were still around, I'd cut a big slice of this tart to serve to him after a "salmon dinner" with a cup of coffee, no cream, and a spoonful of sugar.
I saw this recipe for Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, and immediately knew I had to make it. I love anything with nuts and/or cardamom. Specifically, I like nuts and cardamom in tarts. I texted my husband after my first bite and said, "The tart is AMAZING." Then I taunted him with more tweets.
You can serve this with whipped cream, but I loved it with a dollop of slightly sweetened sour cream. Perfection, I should think.
Be sure to check out Becky's Swedish Christmas Rice Pudding. I can't wait to try it.
Fyrstekake (Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart)adapted from Bon Appetit December 2012 and Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoga
For crust:3/4 cup fine brown rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
3 Tbsp. sugar
zest of 1/2 large orange
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
2-4 Tbsp. ice water
For filling and assembly:Unsalted butter (for pan)
2 cups slivered almonds (I used chopped raw almonds)
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
zest of 1/2 large orange
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
For serving:powdered sugar, for dusting
sweetened sour or whipped cream
For crust:Place the flours, sugar, orange zest, cardamom and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Scatter the cold butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse on and off until the dough is crumbly, with some smaller and larger pieces of butter.
Mix the egg yolk with 2 Tbsp. of water and with the motor running, drizzle through the feed hold. Add more water, if needed, and continue pulsing until the dough starts to come together into a ball. (The sound will change to a kind of grinding sound and then you'll know it's time to stop.)
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a ball and break off one-quarter of the dough. From each into a disk and wrap well in plastic wrap. Chill for about 2 hours or overnight.
For filling and assembly:Butter a 9" tart pan. (I used a 9" round cake pan.) Break the larger dough disk into small pieces and scatter over bottom of tart pan. Using your fingertips, press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to smooth the surface and trim the edges. Roll out smaller dough disk to about 1/8" thick. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and chill crust and cutouts for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pulse almonds, powdered sugar, orange zest, cardamom, and nutmeg in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Transfer dry ingredients to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla in a medium bowl until medium peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into dry ingredients.
Whisk egg yolk and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl to blend. Fill chilled crust with almond mixture; smooth top. Arrange cutouts on top. Brush cutouts with egg wash, if desired.
Bake tart until crust and cutouts are golden brown and filling is set, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
Before serving, dust the top with a little powdered sugar. Serve with a dollop of sweetened sour or whipped cream.
DO AHEAD: Tart can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
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