Once again I rely on my sister’s memories of our grandmothers kitchen. She recalls it was always a busy place. Grandma Sophie did all her own canning with the produce from her garden. There were always green beans, beets, dill pickles, peaches and pears. My sister recalls the fridge always seem to have fresh milk with a layer of cream on top, just waiting to be poured over fresh fruit or berries. As a child the first thing she would do would do when she arrived at Grandma’s house would be to pull up her kitchen stool, climb to the top of the fridge looking for the tin full of Scorpa (the Swedish version of Biscotti) that always seemed to be waiting, it was a sweet bread with a hint of cardamom and slivered almonds.
The farm was a great place to be if you were a kid, running in the pasture, making forts in the barn out of bails of hay, licking on the cow lick until some adult would yell “STOP THAT!” Playing hide and seek until dark.
Skorpa, a swedish biscotti, I too remember was a mainstay in Grandma Sophie’s kitchen. On top of the fridge, they were out of my reach and I had to depend on the kindness of elder siblings or cousins to get those out of reach treats. When I had direct access was when I had the rare chance to help my grandmother make her skorpa. Those that were directly involved in the labor of creation clearly benefited from their participation. I loved being in that kitchen. The warmth of the oven on cold days or the sun shining and the curtains flapping in Summer breeze, Skorpa was available year round in my grandmother’s kitchen and so versatile. Cook Skorpa once and then freeze. Slice in to biscuit sized portions and then cook a last time. I have seen it served with cream & berries, dipped in chocolate or with a piece of hard cheese and beverage of choice, strong coffee.
Store in glass jar or air tight container.
Skorpa (Swedish Toast)
4 cups Milk
2 Tb yeast
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs – beaten lightly
1 1/2 cup melted butter
31/2 cups of white (unbleached) flour
1 Tb vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Make a dry mix of flour, salt and cardamom. Add vanilla to the milk.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Alternate milk mixture and flour, cardamom, and salt. Mix well. Stir in almonds.
Follow instructions on yeast package (also see below) and add to combined mixture last.
Line 9×13 in. pan with Pam and/or parchment paper . Pour mixture in (it will be thick.) Spread to cover bottom of pan. Bake 40 min. at 350ºF. or until light golden brown
Let cool. Lift Skorpa out of pan by turning on to cooling rack or hold parchment paper on either side. Once cool wrap in foil, and freeze for clean slicing.
Once frozen, slice in 1/3 in. slices. Place slices on baking sheet. Toast in 300ºF oven–watch carefully to prevent burning. Turn after approx. 10 min (when the first side is light golden brown) and toast for approx. 10 minutes more (until light golden brown.)
The Skorpa will look like biscotti, but will be softer and chewier in texture.
Note on Yeast:
Pour warm water into the small bowl and take its temperature. The water should be between 95 and 105 degrees F to ensure that the active dry yeast will awaken. Water above 110 degrees F will kill the active yeast, and your baked goods will not rise.
- Stir 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar into the warm water until it is dissolved. Open one package of active dry yeast and pour the contents into the warm-water-and-sugar mixture. The sugar will act as food for the dormant yeast as it awakens in the warm water.
Wet the dish towel with warm water and cover the top of the bowl containing the water, sugar and yeast. Move the bowl to a warm area and allow the yeast to “proof” or rise. Wait 10 minutes for the yeast to become active in the warm water.
Remove the towel from the top of the bowl and look for foam, or bubbles atop the water. The foam and bubbles show that the yeast is in fact still alive and is ready to be used for baking. If you do not see bubbles and foam expanding inside of the bowl, this yeast is no longer alive, or active, and must be discarded. Repeat the above steps with another packet of yeast until you find a package that is suitable for baking.
Combine the active yeast with your desired recipe. All recipes will vary, so follow each one closely. Bread recipes will typically entail several steps of kneading and resting to allow the yeast to leave bubbles throughout the dough prior to baking.
You can also substitute 2 tsp. baking powder for the active dry yeast.
- Swedish Cardamom Bread (jayellebee.wordpress.com)