I had heard that Swedes have a ‘somewhat guarded attitude towards celebrating national day’. The reason, they are proud of their country, but they don’t feel any great need to show it.
So then how do Swedes celebrate National day?
I asked my Swedish friends and family. They hemmed and hawed over what they did on this red day. I learned that many Stockholmers head to Skansen to celebrate with the Royal Family. Every year, the King and Queen take part in a ceremony at Stockholm’s open-air museum that features traditional music and dancing. Others celebrate National Day with festivals, family picnics and fika. But most seem to celebrate their national day with a special cake called Nationaldagsbakelsen or the Swedish national cake which is a strawberry and almond paste pastry.
image by Lena Granefelt/imagebank.sweden.se
Celebrate National Day at Skansen:
With a popular and festive celebration all day! National Day June 6, 2012 offers entertainment, national day concert, games, folk dance and music and a variety of other activities for both young and old. The evening concluded National Day celebrations traditionally on Solliden stage with a solemn celebration programs and star-studded entertainment in the presence of Their Majesties the King and Queen. Evening program is led by Kattis Ahlström and some of the artists on Solliden stage are: Loa Falkman, Louise Hoffsten, Sonja Aldén, Panetoz, show stopper Sean-Magnus and others. For a detailed schedule of activities, go to Skansen’s website.
Celebrate with National Day Cake or Nationaldagsbakelse
The fantastic Swedish food blogger, SemiSwed, has posted a yummy looking National Day Cake recipe. Here it is:
For the cake:
10 ounces (300g) almond paste
10 tablespoons (150g) butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
For the filling:
3.5 ounces (100g) almond paste
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or fresh squeezed orange juice
For the topping:
one pint (liter) of strawberries
lemon balm to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Grate the almond paste with the small holes of a cheese grater. Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the grated almond paste. Work the almond paste and butter together with a fork or a food processor until incorporated. Add the eggs and blend everything well with a fork or food processor.
3. Place the batter on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the batter out in an even layer 3/8″ (1cm) thick. It doesn’t matter that the batter is free-form. Bake in the lower portion of the oven for 12-15 minutes. While it bakes the batter will start to thin out and it will look like it isn’t working but in the end it fluffs up and becomes spongey. When the edges are just brown and the middle is set, remove from the oven and let cool completely.
4. Grate the remaining almond paste and mix it together with the Grand Marnier. When the cake has cooled completely, cut it into squares with a knife or use a cookie cutter to cut out circles of cake (the original was actually oval). If your cake turned out to be too thin, just cut two circles and stack them on top of each other. Top the cut-out cake with a thin layer of the Grand Marnier and almond paste filling, sliced strawberries, and garnish with lemon balm. A Swedish flag is the perfect touch for celebrating nationaldagen.