Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sailing, pillaging and baking - it's a viking thing

Ok, so the Vikings weren't bakers; no room for a puffy hat on top of those horn helmets. But they did sail and pillage and generally roam the world, bringing back treasure to the Norse homeland. One of those treasures was cardamom. You know, the spice. You gotta hand it to those hearty seafarers that they managed to make it so far in their big dragon headed boats; depending on who tells the story, they picked up cardamom in India, Constantinople or somewhere in the middle east. And you thought they only discovered America.

So cardamom makes its way from Viking ships to Scandinavian bakeries. Quite an interesting tale, I'm sure, but we'll save that for another day. The point (and yes, I do have one) is that cardamom is a very popular spice in Scandinavia, particularly in baked goods. Myself, I really like cardamom. I'm not sure I could accurately describe the flavor to someone who hasn't tried it but think "sweet", "aromatic" and "pungent" (wikipedia's best description). Weirdly, it works in sweets as well as Swedish meatballs and even Indian curries (the land of its birth).

So, yesterday I baked up a coffee cake for breakfast, featuring cardamom. Inspired by my Scandinavian Christmas projects, I thought a wedge of this cake and some good coffee (thanks, Mom for the great "Royal Vinter") would start me off right. Sure enough, the cake was great from the oven but even better in the evening when hubby had it for dessert. I upped the salt in the recipe and I used ground cardamom, rather than pulverizing fresh cardamom pods, but otherwise I made it as is. If you need a nice coffee cake to take to the neighbors or when you go out pillaging on the seas, you might give this one a try.


rosemary said...

OK...cookless rosemary has never heard of cardamom....I was watching GMA yesterday and i think I heard Emeril say he added mace? Is that a spice???

Miss Healthypants said...

Sounds good! :)

forsythia said...

Whilst visiting my sister and Swedish-American brother-in-law in Wisconsin, we went to Washington Island, where we saw a replica of medieval Norwegian church made entirely of wood-a "stavkirke." In the guest book, one woman wrote, "Trust God. Clean house. Serve others."

Caitlin said...

Those Scandinavian cake recipes
are the best.
Thanks for including this one.