Cabbage rolls and almond cake

I’ve been wanting to make this almond cake for a while, it’s another delicious recipe from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, called Norwegian Prince’s Cake, or Fyrstekake.  A butter pastry is pressed into the bottom of a cake pan. Almond paste is layered on top and covered with a lattice of the remaining pastry.  From the description, I was expecting more of a tart, but because the crust had baking powder, it rose a little bit and ended up a little more like a layer of pound cake with an almost equal layer of almond paste on top. I cut the cake into bars for a party, though it could also be cut into wedges for a fancier meal, perhaps served with a drizzle of ganache or raspberry coulis – yum!

Over the weekend I also made Cabbage Rolls, adapting a Finnish recipe from The Best of Scan Fest, which is a paperback collection of Scandinavian sayings and recipes.  I used some chinese cabbage that my dad sent home with me from his fall garden at Thanksgiving.  I’ve had other cabbage rolls of Russian and German origin, but I especially liked the sweetness from sprinkling a little brown sugar on the tops of these Kaalikaaryleet.

Cabbage rolls (Kaalikaaryleet)
about 8-10 large cabbage leaves
1/2 c. white or brown rice
1/2 lb. ground pork (or beef)
2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. cream
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt

Boil the cabbage leaves in salted water just until pliable, don’t overcook or they will tear apart too easily when folding later. Drain and set aside to cool.

Cook the rice in 1 c. salted water for about 15 minutes. Cool rice. Mix together uncooked pork, bread crumbs, water and cream, and season with salt and pepper. Add cooled rice and mix well. Use this pork and rice mixture to stuff the cabbage leaves, rolling them up and placing the bundles seam-side down in a greased 8-inch square casserole pan (double the recipe for a 9×13 pan).

Sprinkle the cabbage rolls with brown sugar and salt.  Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for about 1 hour. If needed, add a bit of water to keep from sticking. Serve with a white sauce or tomato sauce, in this case I used a thickened chicken broth with a little cream.

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