Meringue Drops - Marengstoppar

These delicious meringue drops are the perfect accompaniment for home-made ice-cream. It’s good for using up the egg whites left over from the ice-cream making.

5 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar (may be left out)
1 2/3 cup sugar, white or confectioners'
1 tsp vanilla essence
a dash of salt

Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form stiff peaks. Add the sugar bit by bit, whipping well in-between. Whip until the dough is stiff and mix in vanilla or other flavouring (sherry or rum is also good). Oil and flour a baking sheet, or simply line one with baking paper. Put some of the dough into a pastry bag with a big tip, and squeeze out some even sized blobs onto the baking sheet/paper. The dough will not rise noticeably, so make them the size you want the cookies to be. Bake in a warm oven (150° C) until they are dry and have started to take on a slight golden colour (if you test one for doneness, it does not matter if they are sligthy chewy right at the center). Remove immediately from the baking sheet and allow to cool before storing in a cookie tin.

Variation: Make small drops, dip them in chocolate, and serve as sweets.


Ris a la mande – Danish Christmas pudding

The original name is probably riz à l’amande (French for almond rice), but the Danish call it ris a la mande. Whether it is originally French or the name simply got Frenchified, I don’t know, but I do know this is a delicious pudding if correctly made. In some Icelandic households it is served instead of rice pudding (see previous recipe) at Christmas. The first time I tasted ris a la mande, I didn't like it at all. This is perhaps because it was lumpy and the cook had left out the vanilla. I have since made peace with it, and like it just as much as the traditional Icelandic rice pudding.

50 g rice (not quick-cook or instant)
600 ml milk
1/2 vanilla bean
30 g sugar
15 almonds, blanched and slivered or chopped
370 ml heavy cream, whipped
6-7 (12-14 grams) sheets gelatine

Bring the milk to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and vanilla bean and cook up a rice pudding (see previous recipe for method). When the pudding is done, remove the vanilla bean. Add the sugar, almonds and gelatine (prepared as indicated on the packaging). Cool and fold in the whipped cream. Decorate with slivered almonds before serving.

Traditionally served with hot caramel sauce or cherry sauce. (I’m looking for the recipes and will add them to the recipe when I do).


Syrup cookies – Sírópskökur

These are popular spiced cookies you often see around Christmas in Icelandic homes.

200 g golden syrup (may be replaced with runny honey or corn syrup, but will be less flavourful if corn syrup is used)
250 g brown sugar
200 g unsalted butter
500 g flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg

Mix together flour, spices and baking soda. Add soft butter and mix until crumbly. Add syrup, egg and brown sugar and knead until smooth. Store in a refrigerator for 2-3 days. (BTW, this is not my recipe – I can not imagine that it needs to be stored for this long before baking. Overnight should be plenty of time).
Flatten dough until about 2-3 millimetres thick and use cookie cutters to cut into shapes.
Put on a lightly floured baking sheet and bake at 175°C on the centre rung of the oven until the edges of the cookies turn dark. Cool and decorate with icing.