Cookery Elisabeth Luard
Wrap up warm, light plenty of candles and don’t hold back on the butter and cream, says Trine Hahnemann in
Scandinavian Comfort Food (Quadrille £25). The message is in the subtitle,
Embracing the Art of Hygge. Hygge is the concept peculiar to the Danes that implies something or somewhere is cosy, cuddly and bursting with brotherly love.
Cauliflower soup with capers and almonds
Soup is naturally hygge – particularly so, as here, with a touch of Mediterranean sun. Perfect with a side dish of grilled prawns and a watercress salad. Serves 4 1 large or 2 small cauliflowers, trimmed and chopped 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced 1 medium onion, diced 2–3 garlic cloves, chopped Walnut-sized piece of butter 2 tbsp olive oil 2–3 bay leaves 200ml double cream Salt and pepper To finish: Nugget of butter 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained 100g toasted almonds, chopped 2–3 tbsp breadcrumbs (rye, for perfect hygge)
Put the cauliflower, potato and onion in a roomy pan with the garlic, butter and oil. Gently heat till the vegetables start to sizzle, then add the bay leaves and a litre of water, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer for 10–15 minutes, till the vegetables are perfectly soft. Remove the bay leaves, add the cream and blitz till smooth. Reheat gently, adding more water if it’s a little too thick, and ladle into warm bowls. Meanwhile, melt a little butter in a small pan and heat the capers, almonds and breadcrumbs. Top each bowlful with a spoonful of the buttery mix.
Apple layer cake with hazelnut cream
Layer cakes such as this cardamomspiced, seven-layer pile-up are a popular dinner party dessert in Denmark. Easy if you bake ahead and assemble when you’re ready. Serves 6–8
For the apple sauce: 2 Bramleys (or 600g sharp green apples), peeled, cored and diced 2 tbsp caster sugar 1 tbsp lemon juice For the layers: 175g softened butter 175g caster sugar 1 medium egg 175g plain flour 3 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cardamom For the cream: 100g hazelnuts, toasted 500g whipping cream, whipped 2 tsp icing sugar minutes till soft enough to make a smooth sauce. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/GAS 6. Using a pencil, draw seven circles, diameter 20cm, on baking parchment. Turn the paper over and place on baking sheets (you may need to bake in batches).beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in the egg. Toss the flour with the cinnamon and cardamom and fold into the butter mixture. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the circles on the baking parchment. Bake for 6–8 minutes, till the edges brown, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool before unpeeling the paper. Fold two-thirds of the hazelnuts into the whipped cream, reserving the rest as a topping. Assemble the cake when you’re ready to serve, so the baked layers remain crisp. Stack the layers: cake, apple, cake, cream and so on. Finish with apple and the reserved hazelnuts. Hyggelig heaven.