At the moment, my home is filled with the sweet, cheesy aroma of Västerbotten paj. It is my first attempt at this Swedish delicacy. If the pie tastes as delicious as it smells, I will have done justice to my Swedish heritage.
If this pie is unsavory, I will have failed at this recipe. It would not be the first time I have failed. I hope that is what you find refreshing about this blog. Its purpose is not only my own personal catharsis (in writing about my cooking endeavors). It is also to encourage amateur chefs to experiment without fear of failure. Cooking is a wonderfully creative and tasty learning process.
I have not always loved to cook, but I have always loved to eat. Most babies' first words are "mamma" or "pappa." My first words were "mera mat" which translates to "more food." My father, the most experimental and brave eater I know, predisposed me to a love of food consumption. Thanks to my mother, I had my first cooking lessons as a teenager. I was often resistant to this schooling, but looking back, I can't thank her enough for taking the time to teach me about food. My initial disinclination toward cooking transformed into the opposite -- a passionate love affair with food preparation -- after I moved out of the house. As I was forced to cook for myself, Ramen noodles and cookie dough eventually lost their palatal appeal and added inches to my waistline.
Now I am fortunate to be married to a man who loves to eat. He is my inspiration for cooking. He is not a picky eater and he loves my food creations -- the successes and the failures. He is the reason that I love to cook. He delights in my dishes, whether they turn out the way they are supposed to or not. And, more importantly, he loves this amateur chef unconditionally.
Note: I will do my best to post some of the recipes I try. As I tend to feverishly cut out recipes that seem interesting whenever I find them (magazines, newspapers, etc.), I do not always remember the sources. However, many are taken from Bon Appetit, Clean Eating, and the Food Network.
From: Very Swedish by Annica Triberg, Per Ranung, & Tore Hagman
Note: this recipe utilizes the metric system
3 dl white flour
125 g butter
2-3 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
3 cl vodka
1 1/2 dl double cream
1 1/2 dl milk
300 g Västerbotten cheese or cheddar, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground white pepper
a few drops of Tobasco
Chop the butter into the flour, easiest done in a blender. Add water. Work into a smooth dough. Let rest in the fridge about 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 200C/400F. Roll out the dough into a round shape and place in a greased pie dish or a springform pan with removable sides and about 25cm/10in in diameter.
Chop the onion and sizzle in a pan with caraway seeds and a little butter until golden brown. Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, vodka, and the coarsely grated cheese. Season with salt, white pepper, and Tobasco. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake on the lowest rung about 45 minutes or until the filling has set. Serve the pie slightly warm (optional: with a dollop of vendace roe).
The finished product: