Hey hey, it’s almost the 17th May – and that’s Norwegian National Day. It’s on this day that the people of Norway like to let you know that they are very, very proud of being Norwegian, rather than Swedish or Danish. So that means lots of flags, parades, drinking and food.
So if you’re in the mood to celebrate, here are two options. If you’re inclined to the savoury, try making lefse (potato flatbreads), but if you prefer sweet, then try marvposteier. These are little almond cakes in a pastry case and topped off with a cross. Something like this:
This was my first time making them, so I am not sure that I can hold myself out as any sort of authority (given…I’m not remotely Norwegian), but they were pretty straightforward. They remind me a little of macaroon tarts, which have a similar almond filling, but with a bit of jam in the bottom. I wonder if they might be related?…
The process is easy, so you actually end up with a pretty impressive result for minimal effort. It’s just a basic butter pastry, filled with an almond paste, and then if you’ve got the nerve and patience, finished with pastry crosses. In my opinion, it’s worth adding the crosses.
I was happy with how these looked and tasted. The filling is just sugar, egg white and almonds (which I enhanced with a couple of drops of almond extract), so after baking they are pleasantly soft and marzipan-like. All in all – kjempegod (as they might say in Oslo).
So to the Norwegians out there – hope you’re having a great day!
To make Marvposteier (around 25):
For the pastry:
• 250g plain flour
• 200g butter
• 50g (3 tablespoons) caster sugar
• 1 egg yolk
• 3 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
• 200g ground almonds
• 250g icing sugar
• 4 egg whites, lightly beaten (about 130g)
• 1/4 teaspoon almond essence (optional)
Start with the pastry: put the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl. Rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and a spoonful of water. Use your hands to mix, adding more water if needed until you have a soft, smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a couple of muffin pans with some butter.
Roll the pastry out very thinly. Cut out circles with a cutter, and use to line the muffin pans(*). Keep any scraps of pastry.
Next, make the filling. Put the almonds, icing sugar, egg whites and almond essence (if using) in a bowl and mix will into a smooth paste. Fill each tart with a teaspoon of the filling, then shake the muffin pans lightly so the filling evens out.
Roll out the scraps of pastry and cut into thin strips. Use the strips to form an X on top of each tart, and make sure you press the ends into the pastry cases. Brush the X with a little egg white (use your fingers for this) (**)
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.
(*) You want these pastry “shells” to be about 1.5cm (2/3 inch) deep.
(**) Handy hint – rather than use another egg here, just check the bowl you used to beat the egg whites – there should be just enough left in the bottom to glaze the X on each tart.
Wroth making? These tarts were really rather easy to make and still very tasty. The can also easily be made in a gluten-free version by replacing the plain flour with a gluten-free alternative. You can also customise them by using other ground nuts (such as hazelnuts) or adding a little jam to the bottom of each tart before covering with the filling.