Photo by David Loftus
The Swedes might not be known for their extravagant design, opting more for snow-white interiors and simple lines.
When it comes to the humble sandwich however, they certainly know how to push the boat out. Smörgåstårta is a sandwich layer cake, filled with pâté, smoked fish, prawns, ham, cream cheese... basically, anything.
I went with the less-is-more approach for my filling, sticking with some key Swedish flavours: pickled beetroot, dill, quick-brined salmon and horseradish.
Ingredients - serves 2
4 slices of Swedish flatbread (polarbröd) from good delis if you can find it, or good-quality sliced white bread, with the crusts removed
For the quick-cured juniper salmon
250ml (9fl oz) water 35g (1¼oz) coarse salt 35g (1¼oz) granulated sugar 1tsp juniper berries 1 small raw beetroot 150g (5½oz) very fresh salmon fillet, skinned
For the horseradish cream
100ml (3½fl oz) whipping cream 1tbsp creamed horseradish (from supermarkets)
1 small cucumber 1 small pickled beetroot 1 unwaxed lemon A few sprigs of dill 2tbsp salmon roe
For the salmon brine, put the water, salt, sugar and juniper berries into a saucepan. Peel and roughly chop the raw beetroot and add it to the pan.
Bring to the boil, simmer to dissolve the sugar and salt, leave to cool until it reaches room temperature, then refrigerate to chill. Finely slice the salmon into thin slivers then drop into the cold brine for about 7 minutes. Remove, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Discard the brine.
Whisk the whipping cream to firm-ish peaks, then fold in the creamed horseradish. Thinly spread each slice of bread with some of the cream and add a layer of salmon, then place the slices of bread on top of each other.
Take a speed peeler and peel thin ribbons from one side of the cucumber. Discard the first ribbon and don’t use the seeded part: you need 4 perfect ribbons to wrap around the cake. From the other side of the cucumber, and using a melon baller, make enough balls to go round the edge of the bread, discarding the middle seeded part.
Spread the rest of the cream around the outside edges and top of the bread (like icing a cake), making sure the cream is nice and smooth with a palette knife. Delicately place the cucumber ribbons around the edges of the sandwich cake. Use a mandolin to make thin rounds of the pickled beetroot and very fine slices of the lemon.
You can now decorate the top of your sandwich cake. I like to put cucumber balls around the top edge, then twist the remaining pieces of salmon around one finger to make a rose shape. Place these all over the top of the cake along with slices of pickled beetroot, lemon slivers and sprigs of dill. Dot the salmon roe around. Chill until ready to serve.
This recipe is extracted from my new book, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook, you can order a copy here.
100% of proceeds donated to women’s aid