Swedish Midsummer Celebrations

Have you ever seen a group of people jumping like frogs around a leaf covered pole? You have?! Then you must have been visiting a Swedish midsummer party (or you have some weird channels on your tv). We know that it sounds like a strange tradition. It is. And we won’t be able to tell you the story behind these traditions, since we have absolutely no idea why we do it. It’s just … tradition. Normally we don’t take these things very serious, but this year we visited some close friends that had arranged everything. Even the pole and the frog dance. We had a blast. Dancing around the midsummer pole, making frog sounds, acting like our parents did when we were kids (and we swore that we would never do the same).

Swedish midsummer celebrations are a lot like our crayfish parties, except for the pole dancing. We cook, we eat, we drink, we sing. Instead of crayfish, most people eat pickled herring and small homegrown potatoes. We had prepared vegetable muffins, this time loaded with goat cheese, broccoli and olives. We also made a no-bake summer cake topped with freshly picked wild strawberries and blueberries. Here are a few photos from our midsummer, and if you scroll down you will also find the recipe for the cake.

Summer Berry Cake
Makes 1 big cake or 8 small

The crust in this cake has a very rich and sweet taste, so we kept the filling pretty natural with fruit and a fat yogurt. We love it like this, but if you have a sweet tooth you might want to add more honey to it. Also, if you won’t eat it immediately we recommend that you make edges on the crust that will keep the filling in place, since it might melt a bit after a while in the sun.

300 g (2 cups) walnuts
10-12 fresh dates, pitted
2 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of salt

1 cup fresh (or frozen) summer berries, we used blueberries and wild strawberries
juice from 1/2 lemon
4-6 tbsp honey, agave syrup or maple syrup
2 cups
greek yogurt or quark
1 tsp cardamom

1 cup fresh summer berries

Grind walnuts in a blender or a food processor for about a minute. Add dates, coconut oil and salt and run the processor until it all comes together. Flatten it out on the bottom of an 8-inch non-stick spring form or in small muffin cups. Store in the fridge while you make the filling.

Mash the berries for the filling slightly, add lemon juice and honey. If you use a thick yogurt or quark you can use it as it is, but if the yogurt feels too loose and runny you can strain it through a cloth or a coffee filter. Stir together the strained yogurt and the blended berries in a large bowl. Pour it on top of the crust in the spring form and put it in the freezer for around 30-45 minutes (you want it cold but not deep frozen) .

Top the cake with fresh seasonal berries. Serve immediately.

Ps. We recently got the “Sites We Love” award by Saveur Magazine! Read the interview here.