Sunday 9 December 2012


small 6 layer Vinarterta after filling added
This year I am going to Australia for Christmas, and am slightly bummed that I will not be able to eat Vinerterta on Christmas day, I actually was thinking of ringing up the Biosecurity people in Australia asking if I could bring it in. (you cannot bring most food into oz) But possibly that's a bit insane, I will just have to enjoy before I go and when I get back!

Vinarterta is an Icelandic Christmas cake, my family is not Icelandic but my great grandmother's housekeeper was Icelandic, so this is where our family tradition of making Vinarterta came from.  My mother learnt to make it when she was a teenager and has been making it every Christmas since.  I have been helping make it since I was little, and recently put to the task of making the round cookies for in it. (My mom still gets the prune ready)  Vinatarta needs to be made about 3-4 weeks before you eat it so that the prune is absorbed a little into the cookie layers. The Vinarterta is only iced one day before you serve it, so I will have to post the pictures of the finished Vinarterta later this month. 

Vinarterta (Recipe is for 2-8 layer Vinartertas or 1-8 layer and 2 small-6 layers Vinartertas) (Make 3 weeks before eating)
375°F 190°C

Prune filling (filling can be made a day or 2 before constructing cake)
1 lb. pitted prunes
water (enough to cover prunes)
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. cardamom (finely ground)

Place prunes in a pot, add water until they are covered.  Bring water and prunes to boil and simmer until all water is absorbed.  Process with a hand blender until the prunes are smooth.  Stir in sugar and cardamom and heat through let cool.

1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter
3 eggs (beaten)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon baking powder
5 cup flour (approximately up to 1 cup more may be needed)

rolling out circles of dough
Cream butter and sugar.  Beat eggs and add to butter and sugar.  Add milk, almond extract, vanilla, stir.  Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl.  Stir together and form a ball (add extra flour if the dough is too sticky).  Let chill in the fridge for approximately 2 hours or more. (we usually leave it in the fridge overnight to chill) 

Divide the large ball of dough into 12 even pieces, use a kitchen scale if available to check the weight of the balls is the same.
Cut a 20 cm (8 inch) circle out of baking paper.  Flour a clean surface, place a ball of dough under the centre of the round piece of baking paper and roll it out until it is perfectly round.  Bake at 180
°c (375°F) for 8-10 minutes (watch carefully try not brown edges).  Repeat with remaining dough balls.  Let rounds cool.

When the cookies are cool, spread prunes between layers, this recipe makes two 6 layer Vinartertas. Wrap the Vinartertas well with cling film and let sit in the fridge for 3 weeks.  Ice with butter rum icing.

2 Tablespoons butter
500g sifted icing sugar 
2 Tablespoons milk 
1 Jigger dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter, add rum, vanilla and milk. Blend in icing sugar. (put a towel over the bowl when mixing so icing sugar does not fly everywhere) Cover the cake with a base coat of icing, making sure to level the outsides of the cake with icing. Chill for the Vinarterta for 15 minutes then apply the top layer of icing. 

iced Vinarterta cut into slices

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