The Brits have Cheddar, the French have Comté and the Swedes have Västerbotten: a good, hardy, flavoursome cheese that can be cooked with or eaten as is. Västerbotten is an area in the north of Sweden; the cheese is renowned throughout the country and almost everyone has a piece of it in their fridge. This pie, which I’ve eaten my fair share of, nearly always crops up at midsummer and at crayfish parties and at Christmas. Pie like this shouldn’t be eaten just on celebratory occasions though: a slice in your packed lunch with a green salad on the side will make a perfectly satisfying meal.
Västerbotten Pie Västerbotten Pie / Västerbottenpaj
Preparation time: 1 hour
Baking time/cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Equipment: 21cm quiche tin, 4cm deep
For the pastry:
130g plain flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
80g cold butter, cubed
1 tbsp vodka
For the filling:
3 medium eggs
300ml single cream
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
300g Västerbotten or mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
For the mushroom topping:
250g chanterelle mushrooms, brushed clean
a small handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
To make the pastry, mix together the flour and salt. Add the mustard and cold butter, then use your fingertips to rub it all together until you have a sandy texture. Add the vodka to bring it into a dough. Place between two sheets of baking paper and roll into a circle that is larger than your quiche tin. Leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and use it to line the pie tin. If the pastry is too hard, leave to soften for 5–10 minutes before lining the tin. Prick the pastry in the tin with a fork. Line with baking paper and pour in baking weights. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the baking weights and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the base is dry and firm.
To make the filling, beat the eggs with the cream, salt and pepper until you have a smooth mixture. Stir in the cheese. Pour into the pie case, put the onions on top and bake for another 25–30 minutes, or until the mixture is set but still a little wobbly
When the pie has cooled, heat the butter for the mushrooms in a large frying pan. Once the butter is foaming, add the chanterelles and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through. Leave to cool slightly. Scatter the pie with parsley and top with the mushrooms to serve.
Get ahead / This pie is also great cold. If making in advance, cook the pie and keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, but don’t cook the mushrooms until just before serving.
Recipe from my latest cookbook, The Little Swedish Kitchen. Order it on amazon now!