Updated: Jun 27
29 July is a day on the Nordic primstav that commemorates King Olaf the Holy. Not much is really known about this iconic king except what we have in the famous Sagas and poetry. Most of our knowledge of him comes from Heimskringla, the poem by Snorre Sturlason which was written several hundred years after Olaf's death.
What we do know about King Olaf is that he was the son of a minor king in Norway and grew up in Oppland in Norway. He quickly made a name for himself by squeezing a huge Danish debt out of the English in 1012, but after travelling to France he converted to Christianity in the French town of Rouen. When a power vacuum emerged in Norway Olaf filled it and was hailed as king. But he wasn't always popular with his efforts to unite a often divided Norway and appointments of his own lieutenants to high posts, and he fell at the battle of Stiklestad on 29 July 1030. Since 1930 Olsok has been an official flag day in Norway.
This special day on the Nordic primstav is marked again by watching the weather. The hay is ready to be cut, berries are ripening and new potatoes are ready to be dug up. There are fresh eggs and an abundance of dairy products from the summer farms (seter).
I wanted to celebrate this commemoration of Olaf the Christian Viking, by looking towards his home region of Oppland. In my search I came across a little known dessert that is usually made with strawberries, called "Køstes Jordbærdessert". Our strawberries in south eastern Norway are just past their best, but the raspberries are in full flow. A few days ago the girls and I went raspberry picking and I was inspired by this dish to create something light and refreshing with them.
Summer in Norway is marked with the richest cream, an abundance of eggs and forests and hedgerows filled with berries and this summery dessert uses all of the seasons most special and tasty harvest at their best. I love the simplicity of just a few ingredients and the chance to give each one of them an opportunity to shine.
Bringebærdessert (Raspberry Dessert) Serves 6
500g / 1 lb 2 oz raspberries (or any other berry that takes your fancy!)
3 egg whites
200g / 7 oz sugar
250ml / 8.5 fl oz double or heavy cream
A few raspberries or other berries to decorate
Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk the eggs whites until stiff and dry looking. Gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking very well between each addition. This will take a few minutes, but it's worth it to have the sugar incorporated properly.
Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks. Crush the berries using a fork in a good sized bowl. If they are ripe enough they will simply crush. I like to keep a few not so well crushed so that you get bites of raspberry in the dessert. Fold the cream and raspberries in the egg white mixture alternately taking care not to beat out all the air. Use a gentle figure of eight motion and a large spoon and that will keep it light and fluffy. Spoon into a serving bowl or individual bowls and decorate with the remaining raspberries.
The dessert is best served immediately, but will keep quite happily in the fridge for a few hours.
Vær så god!
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