Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kristine’s Amma's Vinarterta (Icelandic torte)

I received a request for a Vinarterta recipe.
It’s not a Maltese recipe, but an Icelandic one.
No problem.

Manitoba is home to a large Icelandic community, centred in Gimli.
Gimli is just a few miles north of Winnipeg.
The annual Icelandic festival, Islendingadagurinn, is great fun for the whole family.

As it was for Ma in New York in the 50s, I’ve learned a few recipes from my neighbours here in Winnipeg over the years.
A few very good recipes I’m happy to share with you.
Thanks to Kristine, I have a very good Vinarterta recipe.

Vinarterta is a torte that is served during special occasions, particularly at Christmas, weddings and Icelandic festivals.

Icelandic cooks have a few things in common with Maltese cooks.
It seems there are variations for most recipes.
Prune is the standard filling for Vinarterta.
But some folks use a mixture of prunes and dates.
Cardamom is traditional, but some prefer cinnamon or ginger.
Some like to add a butter cream icing or marzipan.
Most agree it should be served with good strong Icelandic coffee.

Oh, Amma is Icelandic for Grandma.


Roll the dough out directly on the cookie sheet, then cut the circle or square using an inverted plate or pan.
That way you don’t have to lift the layers and they’ll keep their shape.

You must age the cake after it has been assembled.
You can age it in a covered container for three days to a week in the fridge.
Or you can wrap it in a dry cloth so the cake will mellow.
Still, that’s less time to age than a regular fruitcake.



Place in a large pot
1 pound pitted prunes
Add enough water to cover.
Cook the prunes until tender. 
Process the prunes in a blender and add
1/2 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Cookie Layers

This recipe will make 6 or 7 layers, depending on how thinly they are rolled out.

In a medium bowl combine
4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

In a large mixer bowl, beat at medium speed
1 Cup butter
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 large eggs
Beat well.
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons cream
Add the flour mixture, stirring just enough to blend.

Divide the dough into six or seven portions. 
Roll out the portions of the dough on a cookie sheet. 
Cut an 8 inch round or square using a plate or pan as a guide. 

Bake at 350º F for 8 to 10 minutes to a delicate light brown. 
Layers should be cooled completely before filling with cooled prune mixture.
Spread the filling on the cookie layers.
Allow the cake to age.

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