After many years in Sweden, I finally got invited to a crayfish party! Sweden is full of traditions, and among them two are summer celebrations. You might have heard before of the biggest one called midsummer and held in june, but probably not of the crayfish party (kräftskiva in Swedish).
This feast celebrates the harvest of crayfish in Sweden, at least for most of the 20th century, is generally held in August, which is already “late summer” in the Nordics. Nowdays, Sweden faces a lack of crayfish, and as a result of this, most of them are imported whereas the Swedish ones that we still find on the market are quite expensive.
But you probaly wonder what’s the link between the crayfish party and this pie? Well apparently tradition wants that we serve crayfish with a pie made of västerbotten cheese (Västerbottenost in Swedish), a typical cheese from the Västerbotten region of Sweden. It is a hard cow’s milk cheese, strong in flavor and made of a firm and granulated texture with tiny holes. Because it might be hard for you to find it, depending on where you are, I would recommend you use some cheddar cheese instead for ⅔ of the cheese needed and replace the ⅓ part with some parmesan cheese, in order to give the strong and salty taste of the västerbotten cheese.
As I like to add a twist in my recipes, I actually baked this Västerbotten cheese pie with some chanterelles mushrooms, another produce that Swedish nature provides in abundance. Both ingredients the cheese and the chanterelles went very well together and the pie was a real success!
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
For the crust:
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1-2 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
- 300g fresh chanterelles
- 150g västerbotten cheese (or 2/3 cheddar cheese, 1/3 parmesan cheese)
- 1 small leek
- 4 large eggs
- 3 dl cream (of your choice)
- 1 buket of fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
1. Mix all the ingredients for the crust until they stick together and form a thick dough. Line a 10-inch pie dish with the crust. Allow to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C. Then pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes.
2. Rince the chanterelles mushrooms and cut them into pieces. Reserve the small ones to decorate the pie. Slice the leek.
3. Stir-fry the leek with some butter until they become tender and put aside. Fry the mushrooms until all the water is absorbed. Add the leek and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
4. Whisk the eggs with the cream, then add salt and pepper. Fill in the pie crust with half of the västerbotten cheese. Add in the mushrooms and leeks. Cover with the remaining Västerbotten cheese. Finally pour in the egg mixture over the pie. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
5. Fry the small chanterelles with some butter and place on the pie along with fresh parsley for decoration.
Kräftfiske i Sundborn (1897), Carl Larsson