It’s a Norwegian Christmas!

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Although most of my ethnic heritage is English, the most recent immigrants in my family tree are Norwegians who made their way to Spanish Fork, Utah early in the 20th century. Never is my Norwegian heritage closer to my heart than at the holidays. It is an essential holiday event to pull out the fattigman cutter and my great grandma’s recipe and make the little deep-fried knots that just scream “it’s Christmas!” and make me feel like I’m eight years old again. Any time I see a Scandinavian cookbook, I have to check for fattigman recipes. I knew Scandinavian Classic Baking by Patricia Sinclair would have to be authentic, because there it was in the last chapter: Fattimagns.

Now, I have my own family recipe for the holiday treat and I think it must be better than any recipe you could find in a book. On the other hand, I don’t have a grandma-approved recipe for another Scandinavian treat–Toscakake. This light, spongy cake covered in toasted almonds and caramelized sugar looked delicious. So I gave it a go one Sunday evening to take to my sister’s for dinner. It got devoured. I think the kiddos may have a new favorite Norwegian treat. This is one I will certainly make again.

If you’re looking for a Scandinavian treat to make a holiday tradition, check out this book and find one just perfect for your family. You surely won’t regret it.

Norwegian Toscakake

Makes 8 servings

1 ¼ c all purpose flour
½ t baking powder
1/ t salt
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
½ c sugar
½ c butter, melted and cooled
1 t almond extract

Topping
½ c sugar
2 T all purpose flour
½ c butter
2 T milk
¾ c sliced almonds, toasted
½ t almond extract

Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray the bottom and sides of a 9” springform pan.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat the whites in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Place in another bowl.

Whip the egg yolks in the mixer bowl with the whisk attachment until they are light and lemon colored, about 4 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks using a light touch.

Gently fold in the flour mixture in 4 batches. Fold in the butter and almond extract. Pour into the springform pan.

Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven. Heat broiler to high.

While the cake is baking, combine the sugar and flour for the topping in a small saucepan. Add the butter and milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the almonds and almond extract.

Pour the topping over the cake and place under the broiler. Broil until the topping is golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Cool on a wire cooling rack 5 minutes. Run a metal spatula around the side of the pan to loosen. Remove the side of the pan. Cool completely.

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