Our favourite Swedish cheese, Västerbotten is known as the King of Cheese – because it’s utterly delicious.
It was created in 1872 by mistake when dairymaid Ulrika Eleonora Lindström was wooed by the milkman and accidentally left the cheese at the Burträsk Dairy to spoil while she went out for cuddles. They shelved the spoiled cheese anyway and tasted it over a year later, realising the mistake had resulted in an amazing discovery. The dairy has tried to make Västerbotten in other locations, but no matter what they try to do, it never tastes the same as when it’s made in the town of Burträsk.
We’ve been stocking Västerbotten cheese at ScandiKitchen since the day we opened, so we like to think of ourselves as small time Västerbotten pioneers in the UK! Perhaps this is why the makers asked me to give some classes on how to use Västerbotten in everyday cooking.
Here are some of the recipes I created. I highly recommend you make Västerbotten crème – it may seem the most simple of the lot, but it’s worth it.
Västerbotten is on sale online, and also in smaller packs at Ocado and in selected Waitrose stores. And if you haven’t got time to make any of these recipes, then a bit of grated Västerbotten in some mash tastes amazing.
Paj (pronounced ‘pie’) is actually more like a quiche than a pie. This one is normally served at room temperature rather than hot, and is marvellous as part of a summer smörgåsbord or with a leafy salad. Västerbottenpaj is an essential part of an August crayfish party.
For the pastry:
For the filling:
You’ll need a tart tin (22-23cm diameter) with a loose base.
How to make the paj:
Västerbottenpaj goes well with romsås, a caviar sauce. Alternatively, if you can get real bleak roe, serve the paj with a spoonful and some crème fraîche and chopped red onion.
How to make romsås:
They say the best things are the simplest things. This recipe isn’t really a recipe, more a cream cheese with some extra flavour. I save all the crumbs of my Västerbotten to make this delicious spread, which works well on crispbread. Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. I end up grating fresh cheese because there’s never enough crumbs for my consumption levels of this spread.
Västerbotten pairs really well with a tart jam such as cloudberry or lingonberry. The quantities below are just guidelines – for a spread at home, I prefer a strong, thicker mixture, but sometimes add more crème fraîche if I want to use it as a dip. If I want to pipe out the mixture to use on canapés, I add more of the cream cheese.
What you need:
Mix the cheese, crème fraîche and Philadelphia together, then season with pepper to taste. You almost definitely won’t feel the need to add any salt. When the spread is smooth, try it on crispbread with jam and chives.
Raw courgette salad with Västerbotten
This salad serves 2-3 people.
For the salad:
For the dressing:
To assemble the salad: