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						Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 8. apríi 2005 »15
a delicious part ofour heritage
Kristin's Kitchen
Kristin Olafson-Jenkyns
Dundás, ON
1n North America, vínarter-
ta has become emblematic
of Icelandic heritage. This
cake is an unwritten requisite
for all special occasions when
Icelandic descendants come to-
gether. During the early years
of emigration it was popular in
Iceland, and is still baked as it
was originally on this side of
the ocean.
Today in Iceland there are
many variations unrecogniz-
able to us as our revered vín-
arterta, including versions
that have cake textured layers
filled with raspberry or straw-
berry jam.
Vínarierta or "Vienna
torte" came to Iceland via
Denmark in the 1800s and, as
the name implies, likely had its
origins in Vienna. Vínarterta
as we know it consists of six to
eight cardamom-spiced cook-
ie-type layers with a prune fill-
ing spread between each layer
and usually coated with an al-
mond flavoured butter icing.
Depending on the region, fill-
ings in Iceland were also made
with apricots and rhubarb.
As everyone will pro-
claim that their mother bakes
the best vínarterta, I included
four recipes in the Culinary
Saga of New Iceland (as well
as two from Iceland, circa
1915). Of course, I am no ex-
ception and have indeed cho-
sen to showcase my mother's
recipe. Hopefully, as this par-
ticular recipe is so well known
to me, I can help guide a first-
time vínarterta baker through
to sticcessful results with my
own tried-and-true methods.
Lois Olafson's Vínarterta
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
3 1/2 cupsflour (more ifre-
3 tsp. baking powder
pinch ofsalt
1. Cream butter. Add sugar
gradually beating until mix-
ture is light and fluffy. Add
eggs one at a time, beating
well after each one.
2. Mix in milk, vanilla and
3. Add dry ingredients and
combine well. Knead in
enough flour to make a soft
cookie dough.
4. Chill the dough for about
1 hour (the dough will be
easier to roll).
5. Roll out the dough thin
on the counter with a little
flour, one layer at a time.
Arrange on greased and
floured pan and trim edges.
There are variations for
pans used. Some recipes
suggest using cake layer
pans, the inside or outside
bottoms. (For inside the
pan you would have to pat
the dough in place). Loose
bottoms of cake pans are
another alternative. Lois
uses the loose bottom of
a Christmas cake tin. The
loose bottom of a spring-
form pan would also be
good, providing it does not
have a ridged edge.
6. Bake each layer at 350° F
for about 8-10 minutes or
until golden brown. Contin-
ue until you have baked all
your layers. Lois's vínar-
terta is usually 6-8 layers.
7. Meanwhile prepare the
prune filling. When the fill-
ing and layers have cooled,
assemble cake by spreading
the filling between each
8. Ice top and sides with a
butter icing flavoured with
almond extract.
2 'lb. pitted prunes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1. Cover prunes with water
and boil until soft. Drain
and cool. Chop fine.
2. Return to pot and add sugar
and cardamom. Heat until
thé sugar dissolves, being
careful not to burn.
3. Cool.
Tips: this recipe was writ-
ten to accommodate varying
pan sizes and method prefer-
ences. For first-time vínarterta
bakers, I would like to offer
more specific instructions ac-
cording to my own experience
with this recipe.
1.    About the cardamom
— I buy cardamom seeds at
a health food store. I wrap the
amount required in several lay-
ers of waxed paper and then
crush them with a hammer
(much to my family's amuse-
ment!). Much more aromatic
than commercially ground
2.    After making the
dough for the layers and plac-
ing in the fridge to chill, I pre-
pare the prune filling. With the
availability of pitted prunes to-
day, I barely cover them with
water and boil gently (stirring
often) until soft (draining will
not be required). After cooling
the prunes until lukewarm, I
place them, one third at a time,
into my cuisinart (with steel
blades) and grind until smooth.
Then I follow with steps two
The Icelandic National League
ofNorth America
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103-94 First Avenue
Gimli, MB R0C 1B0 Canada
Tel: 204-642-5897 Fax: 204-642-9382
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Vínarterta is the perfect addition to any special occasion.
and three for the filling and set
3.    When the dough is
chilled I divide it into eight
portions. One portion at a
time, I shape it into a round
and roll out as you would for
a pie crust on a lightly flöured
surface. As in step five, I place
the rolled dough on the lightly
buttered (greased) and floured
pan bottom and trim the edg-
es. I use the loose bottom of a
round spring form pan, which
does not have a raised ridged
edge. (9172 inches in diame-"
ter) I bake the layers as in step
4.    After the layers have
cooled I assemble the cake us-
ing six to seven of the layers
— extra layers spread with
filling are always a welcome
treat for bystanders. I cover
the assembled cake with plas-
tic wrap and refrigerate until
the next day when I ice it. For
convenience I often divide the
cake into halves or quarters
and freeze.
Verði ykkur að góðu.
For more information on
Kristin and The Culinary Saga
of New Iceland see her web-
site www. coastline-publishing.
Stéfaníd Sve'mbjarnardóttir
Ray Dignum
Parham.ON SC0H 2K.0
Td: 613.375.6308
E-mall: yeomanfa@frontenac.net
Breeders of lcelandic Sheep
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Box 640, Arborg, MB ROC 0A0  Ph: 376-5153        J
THEICELANDIC FESTIVAL 0F MANIT0BA invites yoú to submit previously
unpublished poetry (three entries per person limit) and/or a short story
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published in the festival booklet. Categories are as follows:
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or lcelandic culture will be given preference. Entries will not be returned.
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