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Summer Traditions: Midsummer Party

Get ready to add another summer celebration to your agenda. Tommy Engström of Smak treats us to delicious recipes from one of his favorite Swedish traditional holidays, the Midsummer Party.

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Summer is here! Rooftops, trips to the beach, refreshing cocktails, the smell of freshly cut grass, BBQs galore – these are a few of my favorite summertime things! After what more often than not seems like the longest winter in recorded history, I am quick to jump on the summer bandwagon and take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather.

Two chairs at outdoor table set for party

Little girl holding meatball

Growing up with a family that was almost obnoxiously proud of our Swedish heritage, each season of the year was steeped with Swedish tradition. From the St. Lucia festivities around the Christmas season to eating loaves of limpa bread slathered with butter, our Swedish ancestry was prevalent in much of our lives. However, perhaps my favorite of all took place during the summer months, June to be exact. During this month, Swedes take to the countryside to celebrate the summer solstice.

View of full table in backyard

Side view of table with food and chairs

Next to Christmas, Midsummer is the most important holiday. Food, drinks, dancing around the maypole and games ensue, and much fun is had by all. There even lie a few superstitions around this particular holiday. A Swedish verse says, “Midsummer night is not long but it sets many cradles to rock.” It is said that if an unmarried girl picks seven types of flowers and places them under her pillows, she will dream of her future husband. Do I sense a little matchmaking by dearest old Mother Nature?

Overview of table spread with all the food

View of placesetting on table outside

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Tommy, I am not Swedish. Nor do I know anything about Swedish culture or tradition. I especially don’t know anything about Swedish food.” None of that matters. A mid-summer party is all about enjoying the weather. The long summer days. Food and drink. And more than anything, the company of friends and family!

Red/pink cocktail sitting on table

Fret no more, today is your lucky day, as I am here to help share a few tips and recipes for the absolute perfect mid-summer party.

Step one: Invite all of your friends and family. There is no such thing as too many people.

View of food spread on table

Little girl holding platter with seafood

Step two: Fill your day with lots of music and fun. Dancing and games are an absolute must. In search for a new game? Look up the Swedish game “kubb” – I do believe if you are lucky, you can buy a set online! If you aren’t quite as adventurous, feel free to play a casual game of catch or bags.

Glass pitcher with glasses next to plates and silverware on table

Silverware on table next to dinnerware

Step three: You cannot have too much food and drink. I’ve included a few recipes below to help start you off on the right track. But when it comes to Swedish dining, stick to the staples: crawfish, salmon, potatoes, herring, and lots of fresh fruit. In the realm of drinks? Have at it! Wine, beer, cocktails, they are all fair game.

Blogger holding dessert eating it from a spoon

Close up of cheese platter

With summer just truly taking off, there is plenty of time for you to start preparing for your own midsummer party.

Flower vase with flowers, dessert in cloche, and plates

Print Recipe
Aquavit Spritzer
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Servings
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup lingonberry preserve
  • 4 cups soda water
  • 4 cups aquavit
  • lemon twists
Servings
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup lingonberry preserve
  • 4 cups soda water
  • 4 cups aquavit
  • lemon twists
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Instructions
  1. Combine lingonberry preserve, soda water, and aquavit in a pitcher and gently loosen preserves with a wooden spoon.
  2. Fill tumblers with ice.
  3. Divide aquavit spritzer equally among glasses and garnish each with a lemon twist.

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Swedish Summer Layer Cake
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Servings
Ingredients
  • crème pâtissière recipe below
CAKE LAYERS
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons melted butter
WHIPPED CREAM
  • 2 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar plus extra to dust
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 6 cups strawberries washed, trimmed and sliced
Servings
Ingredients
  • crème pâtissière recipe below
CAKE LAYERS
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons melted butter
WHIPPED CREAM
  • 2 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar plus extra to dust
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 6 cups strawberries washed, trimmed and sliced
Votes: 1
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Trace 3 identical circles approximately 8 inches in diameter (feel free to use a plate as a guide) onto baking parchment-lined baking sheets.
  3. To make the cake layers, whish the eggs and sugar until shite and fluffy. Sift the flour and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture and fold, very carefully, until completely incorporated. Add the melted butter and stir carefully.
  4. Using a spatula, divide the batter between the 3 circles and ensure that the batter fills the circles all the way around. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and done, approximately 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on cooling racks.
  5. Whisk the whipped cream ingredients until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whipped cream together with the crème pâtissière, until incorporated (the remaining whipped cream can be used to decorate the final cake).
  6. To assemble, place the first layer cake on the serving plate. Spread a layer of raspberry jam, followed by a generous layer of the crème pâtissière mixture, finishing with a handful of strawberries spread out evenly. Repeat this process for the remaining layers.
  7. Using a palette knife, spread a layer of whipped cream on top of the cake. Finish with a generous amount of sliced strawberries and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

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Crème Pâtissière
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Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
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Instructions
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan together with the scrapped out vanilla seeds. Feel free to throw in the pod as well for a little extra flavor.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornflour, and salt.
  3. When the milk reaches boiling point, remove the vanilla pod and discard. Pour a quarter of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you do so. Once whisked thoroughly, pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let it bubble for just under a minute. You will feel the mixture thicken as you whisk it.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter, whisking in well. Pour into a cold bowl and cover. Place in the fridge to cool completely.

Print Recipe
Creamed Rice Pudding with Warm Cherry Sauce
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Servings
Ingredients
RICE PUDDING:
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • salt
TO ASSEMBLE:
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream
CHERRY SAUCE:
  • 2 10.5 oz cans black cherries in syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heaped cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons rum
Servings
Ingredients
RICE PUDDING:
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • salt
TO ASSEMBLE:
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream
CHERRY SAUCE:
  • 2 10.5 oz cans black cherries in syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heaped cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons rum
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Instructions
  1. Add the water and rice to a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cut the vanilla bean pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the rice.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and add the milk. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to watch the rice as you don’t want it to burn.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, add the confectioners’ sugar and stir.
  4. In a separate bowl, lightly whip the cream to peaks, then fold into the rice pudding. Chill until serving.
  5. For the cherry sauce, combine a small amount of the syrup with the cornflour to make a roux, and set aside. In a saucepan, bring the cherries and the rest of the juice to a boil, then add the roux, stirring constantly.
  6. Allow to boil for a minute for the cornflour taste to disappear. Turn the heat to low until you’re ready to serve with the rice pudding.
  7. Season to taste with orange juice and rum to balance the flavors.
  8. When reading to serving, top the rice pudding with the cherry sauce and enjoy!

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