Cheese pie made with Västerbottensost
Västerbottensostpaj is a popular classic served at many festivals in Sweden and is especially popular at crayfish parties. Västerbottensostpaj is really three words joined together: Västerbotten’s cheese pie. (One of the difficulties of learning Swedish is knowing when words are joined together!)
Västerbotten is a place in northern Sweden and would be virtually unknown if it wasn’t for the fact that it produces Västerbottensost, widely regarded as the king of Swedish cheeses. It is available from specialist suppliers and Waitrose in the UK, but if you can’t find any you can use mature (sharp) Cheddar cheese instead. Click here to read more about Västerbottensost. John Duxbury
• The pie is also nice served slightly warm with new potatoes and salad.
• It goes well with onion marmalade or Kalix löjrom ("Caviar of Kalix"), crème fraîche and chopped chives.
• These make delicious individual pies for a picnic.
• Add some fried onion and chanterelle mushrooms to make Västerbottenspaj med kantereller, but reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes.
• There are many variations in Sweden on this recipe. Some use less cheese, only 150 g, and others add some caraway seeds (1-2 tsp), a tablespoon or two of vodka, and some even add a few drops of Tabasco.
|125 g||(1 cup)||plain (all-purpose) flour|
|pinch of salt|
|100 g||(7 tbsp)||butter (1 stick less one tbsp), cut into small cubes|
|2 tbsp||cold water|
|225 g||(8 oz)||Västerbottensost or mature (sharp) Cheddar, grated|
|200 ml||(¾ cup)||whipping cream or double (heavy) cream|
|salt and freshly ground black pepper|
1. Add the flour and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Whizz briefly.
2. Add the butter and process for 10-15 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on the water and process for 20-30 seconds until the pastry clings together and forms a ball. Remove the pastry from the machine and knead it lightly to form a small ball. Wrap in cling film (food wrap) and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C). Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a deep 20 cm (8”) flan tin (pan). Line the pastry with a sheet of greaseproof (waxed) paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 10 minutes until the pastry has set.
4. Carefully remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until the base is dry.
5. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and cream together, add the cheese and season to taste, bearing in mind that the cheese is very salty. Remove the flan from the oven and pour in the cheese mix.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes until it is set and golden brown.
7. Allow the pie to cool in the tin (pan) and serve warm or cold.
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