Fika: Fyriskaka with Pear

kindvall-fyriskaka-pear-4

Last Saturday I hosted a classic kafferep (Swedish coffee gathering with cakes and cookies) to celebrate the release of my book Fika – The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. I had such a great time talking cookies and cakes while sipping bubbles (not the usual drink for this kind of party but essential when you need to celebrate). For the party I had baked up a selection of the cakes from the book. For e.g. there were Cardamom buns, Finska pinnar, Syltgrottor, Muskotsnittar, Anis & Hazelnut Biscotti, Hazelnut & Coffee Cake, Almond tart and Sticky Chocolate Cake (my neighbor’s son wanted to move in with me after having his first bite).

During the first week, the book made it into New York Times’ T Magazine (review by Lindsey Tramuta), Huffington Post (review by Alison Spiegel), Eater (review by Kat Odell) and many more. The book was also mentioned in the Swedish evening post Expressen.

I’m super flattered and happy how well our book has been received so far.

Yesterday I decided to make another version of the Swedish classic Fyriskaka. Fyriskaka is traditionally made with apples (recipe in the book) that are coated with cinnamon. In my version below I’m using pears instead of apples. I’m also suggesting a new topping, cardamom and pearl sugar (pärlsocker). If you can’t get hold of pearl sugar I suggest you use brown sugar. Its not the same, but equally tasty).

Fyriskaka with Pear
(adapted from the recipe in Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall, page 94)

9 tablespoons (4½ ounces, 128 grams) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds, crushed
3 to 4 medium-size pears (about 14 oz, (400 grams)
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces, 132 grams) natural cane sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (5 ounces, 142 grams) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder

topping
1-2 tablespoons pearl sugar (or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch (23-centimeter) springform pan.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the cardamom, then set aside to cool.

Peel the pears and slice them thinly. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar with the cinnamon; then add the pears and carefully turn them so that they are evenly coated. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the slightly cooled butter and cane sugar. Add the eggs one by one, whisking until evenly blended. Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir together carefully until you get a smooth batter.

Spread the batter in the baking pan. Place the pear slices in the batter in a circular formation; the pieces should be close together. Sprinkle the pearl sugar and crushed cardamom on top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

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Want more fika ideas? Click the coffee cup icon here to the left, and you will get several of my other fika related recipes.

Links
Behind the Scenes of the making of Fika
R
ead also Anna Brones’ version here

Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break (Behind the Scene)

Fika – The Art of the Swedish coffee break is finally here. It has been a long and wonderful journey together with my dear collaborator Anna Brones. We both thought it would be nice to share our stories behind the scenes on how we created this book. Please read Anna’s version here.

The book Fika is a celebration of the Swedish coffee break, fika. Something that most Swedes do daily, sometimes even twice. At work, at home or together with a friend, it doesn’t matter where and when and how, for a Swede this break is essential. And the best fika comes with a treat, sweet or savory.

To have a fika was something I really missed when I came to work in an architecture office in NYC several years ago. Colleagues always drank their coffee alone at their desks. Eventually some agreed to share a coffee break with me, but it almost always meant we were hanging out by our desks, sharing a muffin. I even started a kaffekassa (it’s a box where you collect money for coffee and cakes) which I shared with my closest friend at the office. And we used it for daily treats.

So when Anna, who is a Swedish/American food writer and a dedicated coffee drinker, invited me to collaborate on this project I instantly said yes. It was really about time the world learned about the art of fika.

For the proposal, I helped Anna choose a few recipes that we thought symbolized homemade fika. I illustrated them and included a few other illustrations that worked with Anna’s proposal.

After some edits back and forth we were ready to ship the proposal out to an extensive list of publishers and agents (yes some publishers still want actual printed copies). We both continued our different lives, Anna in Portland and myself in the East Village. Anna reported some rejections but otherwise nothing. We were quite cool about the whole thing and we talked about other potential projects. Just when we both were about to start working on the book, The Culinary Cyclist (Elly Blue Publishing 2013), I got an email from Kaitlin Ketchum, editor at Ten Speed Press. She had just been treated to a fika and remembered our proposal. A couple of months later we had a book contract.

 

When it was time to start, I was just moving into our new place in Brooklyn, which was still under construction. With no functional kitchen, no gas and no water.

Yes I panicked!

But just a few days later I had a working stove, a sink with running water and my old drawing desk as a baking table. Not particularly perfect but I learned that to develop fika recipes during construction wasn’t that bad. In fact it was kind of perfect as there was always something sweet to share with the workers (mostly my husband, our friend Frank and me) when it was time for fika, which we held at 10am and 3pm every day, in the sun on the stoop or on rainy days sitting inside on paint buckets.

The recipes we picked for the book are cakes and cookies that we grew up with, cakes that we regularly bake ourselves or treats we always enjoy eating. Classics like vetebullar (Cinnamon & Cardamom Buns, page 26) but also some new (for e.g. Hazelnut & Coffee Cake page 60). We probably developed over 70 recipes and almost 50 made it into the book. Some of the rejections weren’t bad, they just didn’t fit in. They were not Scandinavian enough or too much like a dessert. Some classics where ditched as they weren’t things we actually bake ourselves, for e.g. the Swedish konditori classic, wienerbröd (which is what a Swede and Danish calls a danish). However one day I will master the art of baking puff pastries!

Anna worked on half the recipes in her tiny Paris kitchen, while I worked on the other half. At some point we swapped our recipes and continued developing the other person’s recipe.

Over the summer, Anna and I spent one week together in Sweden and we worked on a few recipes together for e.g. Fyriskaka (a classic apple cake with cinnamon, page 94). It was summer and we enjoyed having chilled rhubarb cordial (page 82), coffee and cakes every day in our garden, overlooking the pond and enjoying Swedish summer fika at its best.

The rest of the time we developed the work by having regular Skype meetings, sharing notes and baking progress with pictures on our communal work site, that I had set up as a way to keep track of the work.

During the whole process I was constantly drawing cakes and cookies. But at one point I decided to take a break from baking to spend time drawing. So in the beginning of Autumn 2013, I isolated myself in our country cottage with a pantry well stocked with cookies and drew nonstop for over a month. I barely saw anyone, and left my desk only to have something to eat or put a new log into the fireplace. I kind of liked it.

At about the same time, Anna was working on the content and when I was back in Brooklyn I could concentrate more on helping her with proofreading and editing. I don’t know how many times we went through everything page by page, chapter by chapter and recipe by recipe. I also corrected, changed and added several new illustrations when we at the end of this journey, when we were working more closely with our editor Kaitlin and Elizabeth Stromberg, our book designer.

Now with the book in my hand, it’s nice to see how well our work was treated. Kaitlin, Elizabeth and all the rest at Ten Speed Press, you did a beautiful job turning our vision into this book.

I’m especially thankful for Anna who invited me into the project and who wrote about it so beautifully. And for Kaitlin who remembered our proposal when she had her first fika moment!

I hope you will enjoy this book and that it will inspire you to take that daily break, we Swedes call fika.

Want your own copy of Fika?

In celebration of Fika’s release, we are giving away a couple of books! Post a photo of your fika on Instagram, and be sure to hashtag #artoffika as well as tag @johannakindvall and @annabrones so we are sure to see your photos. Not on Instagram? Tell us about your favorite thing for fika in the comments below.
Note that we can only ship books to North America. Entries must be received by April 14, 2015.

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upcoming Fika events

Paris
Fika launch party at La Tresorerie/Cafe Smörgås
April 11 at 10am-5pm,11 Rue du Château d’Eau, 75010 Paris.
Anna will be there and treat you special treats!

Manhattan
Fika at  Fika loft  – 824 10th Avenue btw 54 and 55 th Street
May 3, at 3 to 5pm
Anna and me will both be there, with books while having coffee and cookies.

Brooklyn
Fika @ Budin
May 6, at 5 to 7pm , 114 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn
Anna and me will both be there, with books while having coffee and cookies.

Fika at the bar of 61 Local
May 7, btw 6 – 8 pm, 61 Bergen Street, Brooklyn
Anna and me will be there, with books while having beer and cookies.

Seattle
Fika at Book Larder
May 12, at 6:30 to 8pm, 4252 Fremont Ave N, Seattle.
Anna will be there and talk Fika

The book is available in many bookstores in the US and around the world. You can also find it in most online bookstores: Random House, Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

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talks about fika

NY Times Style Magazine
Huffington Post
EcoSalon
Eater

Cool Hunting
edible Michiana
Interview with both Anna & me @ Slow Travel Stockholm
Saveur Magazine

Sourdough Starter Diagram

Currently I’m working on a new design of kokblog. I’m planning to launch the new design next week. In this process I have decided to turn some of my pages into posts. And one of them is my diagram on how to make a Sourdough Starter.

Description: The above diagram is just one way to start a sourdough starter. At the end you will have one rye and one wheat starter. I use either starter for most of my breads. The wheat starter can also be used in a sweeter dough like for e.g. Cinnamon Buns etc. I bake with my starters 1-2 times a week (sometimes even more). I keep them in my fridge and take either of them out one or two days before I want to bake. Depending on how long it has been without ”food”, I feed it once or twice with a few tablespoons of flour and a little water. I keep my starters small, in that way I always have just enough and there is no need to discard anything. I have kept a starter in the fridge (without feeding it) for up to 3 weeks (not recommended). You can also freeze the starter if you are not planning to bake for a longer time. Just give the starter some time to recover by feeding it once or twice every day for a couple of days before baking. When the starter is lively and full of bubbles it’s ready to bake with. My diagram is based on Iban Yarza‘s How to Make a sourdough starter video.

NOTE: Since I published this last year, I have discarded my rye starter (I simple baked it up). It was just easier to keep one. If I ever want to use a rye starter I feed one part of my all-purpose starter with just rye flour for a couple of days.

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Links to my sourdough breads

Sourdough Bread with Rye

Plain Sourdough Bread

Wild Fennel Knäckebröd at Case Vecchie


Classic Chocolate Mousse

© Johanna Kindvall

My grandmother always served chocolate coffee mousse for dessert and I loved it. But as a kid, I didn’t really like coffee on its own. The first time I ever drank coffee I kept adding sugar to make it taste better… it just made it worse and it took me years to recover. Today, now that I have learnt to love coffee (especially strong and black), I still can’t imagine drinking coffee with sugar.

Oh well, coffee in cakes, ice cream or chocolate mousse is a always a treat (and in my upcoming book which I co-authored together with Anna Brones, Fika – The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break we share a delicious Hazelnut Coffee Cake recipe). When I started to make chocolate mousse this winter I ended up not flavoring it at all. I just liked it as it was. Thick, chocolaty and totally comforty! The recipe I’m using, is an old classic formula which you can find in Elizabeth David’s book French Provincial Cooking. The recipe is simply described with a few words:

“4 yolks beaten into 4 oz. of melted bitter chocolate, and the 4 whipped whites folded in.”

Her recipe serves 4, which makes this a super clever recipe. You just need to count one egg and one ounce chocolate (about 30 grams) per person.

The illustrated recipe diagram above suggests adding one teaspoon of sugar per serving, which I learnt from Felicity Cloake’s How to make perfect chocolate mousse article in the Guardian.

And I’m sure a little bit of cold coffee, some drops of rum or juice of an orange will work fine to spice it up. As I said, I like it just plain or topped with star anise infused black berries.

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check also out these chocolate mousse links

Chocolate Mousse (coffee & dark rum) by David Lebovitz (adapted from Julia Childs recipe)
Spizy Boozy Mousse (coffee, cinnamon & ancho chili) by Sara Kate Gillingham @ theKitchn
Swedish Chef making Chocolate Moose – Muppet Show (video)

If you are afraid to get Salmonella by using raw eggs, you can pasteurize them. (I get fresh organic eggs that are free from hormones and antibiotics).

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Winter Blues: A Pairing Party for 8 to 12 (part 4)

© Johanna Kindvall

 

I hope you all are having a wonderful start of 2015. Winter is here and it’s time for Tenaya Darlington, aka Madame Fromage and my final post in our seasonal cheese calendar, Winter (below you can find links to the other posts). As it is the end of the series, we thought it was suitable to celebrate with a blue cheese pairing party.

I hope you have enjoyed our Seasonal Cheese Calendar as much as we have. Eventually we will create cards and prints. They will be for sale in both our shops.
Cheers.

Winter Blues: A Pairing Party for 8 to 12
by Madame Fromage

Late winter is an ideal time to host an Around the World with Blue Cheese party. In the cold months, who doesn’t dream of traveling abroad? Since so many countries make iconic blues, it’s delightful to take one’s taste buds on a cruise from Stilton to Roquefort, then home again for a taste of artisan American funk.

Blues vary widely in taste and texture. Some swing savory with notes of creamed spinach, fresh herbs, or even pine — while others deliver a sweet song to the tongue. Gorgonzola Dolce tastes like ice cream (try it with cherry jam and graham crackers), and Valdéon can deliver notes of grape and white chocolate. Other blues make me think of oysters – all minerals and brine. Exquisite.

Here’s what to do if you want to host a blue cheese pairing party:

1) pick a wide range of blues, like the ones listed below – aim for five or six hunks, you’ll need ¼ or ½ pound each.

2) Invite 8 to 12 friends, and tell each person to bring an after-dinner drink: stout, barleywine, Scotch/whiskey, or a fortified wine (like Port, Madeira, or Sherry).

Then, set out all of your cheeses – let them come to room temperature before serving, and use notecards to label them – and garnish them with some grapes, dates or apricots, walnuts, berry jam, honey, and dark chocolate.

At your tasting party, let the blues talk. Try them one at a time with a variety of beverages. You’ll go through every glass in your cupboard. Between bites, you can eat grapes or baguette slices to cleanse your palate. At the end of the night, snap photos of your favorite pairings. If you forget, don’t worry – everyone will remember the night they came to your house for a blue cheese initiation.

Note: if you don’t want to mix too many kinds of alcohol, just pick dessert wines or stout/barleywines.

Five Iconic Blue Cheeses

© Johanna Kindvall

Stilton
Britain’s iconic blue is savory with hints of tobacco and leather. It’s sold in wheels with a cigar-colored rind, making its whole disposition rather grandfatherly. Think of it as a craggy, cozy old character – ideally suited for slushy days and a back-drop of scratchy folk records. “Potted Stilton” is sold in crocks – a sort of holiday treat. It’s soft and pungent, delicious with chutney and a plate of oaty biscuits. For a much-loved pairing, sip a glass of Port (or even Scotch). Stilton also loves stout.

© Johanna Kindvall

Valdeon
Spain’s most famous blue is a “granny” cheese, sweet and a little salty with a shawl made of Sycamore leaves. Lean in and you’ll smell a damp cottage with a front walkway made of slate and violets sticking up between the cracks. Lovely for dessert, try serving it with a spot of dark chocolate – it has a hint of white chocolate on the finish, which is lovely to play off. Walnuts and honey are a fine pairing, too. Sherry and barleywine make especially good matches.

© Johanna Kindvall

Gorgonzola
Italy produces a pair of twin blue cheeses, dolce (sweet) and piccante (sharp). Piccante loves pasta and is terrific shmeared on steak or stirred into white bean soup. Dolce loves a light clear honey and a crack of black pepper, alongside some pears – it’s so gooey, you can spoon it up like mousse. Try pairing it with a fruity lambic (Kriek) or barleywine.© Johanna Kindvall

Roquefort
Really good French Roquefort tastes like a cheese from the sea – salty and mineral bright. Its indigo veins shimmer, and its paste is the consistency of melting butter, thanks to sheep’s milk. Roquefort gains its extraordinary combination of flavors from aging in seaside caves that are famous for their “fleurines” – fissures that allow the damp air to circulate. Quality Roquefort (I like Carles), served with a chilled glass of Sauternes, will leave you speechless.© Johanna Kindvall

Rogue River Smokey
One of the great American artisan blues, RRS tastes like bacon in the form of cheese. It loves camping, pancakes, and long walks on the beach. Rogue Creamery, in Oregon, makes a dozen different blues, each one subtly different. This selection is gently smoked over hazelnut shells, making for a nutty, buttery rogue. Pair it with an achingly dark stout or a Manhattan.

Wondering how blue cheeses get their dark veins? They’re pierced with long needles. The piercings allow air to flow through the wheels, and that promotes “blue-ing.” Many people think that blue mold is injected into the cheese, but that’s not so. The “blue” develops naturally, thanks to a special culture (Penicillium Roqueforti) that cheesemakers stir into the curds. That said, “blue” likes to wander, so you’ll want to store your blue cheeses away from other cheeses in your fridge.

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Please also read the other parts in this Seasonal Cheese Calendar:

Your Spring Goat Cheese Primer (part 1)
Late Summer Cheese Picnic (part 2)
Smoke and Funk: A Fall Cheese Board (part 3)

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