Scandinavia. A historical and geographical region consisting of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. Or as I like to think of it, SSOC – Shakespeare’s Setting Of Choice. Seriously, for someone who had probably never been to the place, a ridiculous number of his plays revolve around Norwegian and/or Danish politics. Those Scandinavians must have had a flair for the dramatic. Either that or these are the kinds of things that living in sub-zero temperatures for most of the year drive people to do. Basically what I mean to say here is that if you transport me to a place with an “alpine tundra climate”, I refuse to be held responsible for my actions. Consider yourself warned.
Okay, so from this we have learned that Scandinavians, at least in the 16th century, were cold, politically unstable, and potentially slightly insane. But what did they eat?

A lot of fish and meat, apparently, as well as beets, potatoes, cucumbers, and apples. The foods that our winter is made out of, essentially. Smoked salmon is possibly the most infamous (and, coincidentally, my favorite) of their contributions to the culinary world, with Swedish meatballs being a close second.

Never one to stay the beaten path, I did not choose to recreate either of this things. Oh no. “Joanne,” I said to myself. “Scandinavia is a land of epic proportions. The place of origin of the Vikings, the name Thor, and – possibly the most daunting of all – Ikea. No. For this Regional Recipes, you need to find a dish that will make the Scandinavians proud. Something absolutely and positively larger-than-life.”
The Swedish tea ring, which took the entirety of Saturday morning to make and ended up weighing as much as I do, was just that. It is essentially a cardamom-infused sweet dough that is jelly-rolled around a cinnamon/sugar/butter center and then washed with a heavenly glaze. Think of a cinnamon roll. The size of a 12-inch pizza pan. Sophie and I may be eating it indefinitely, which is not really such a bad thing since it is actually amazing and possibly one of the things I am proudest of making. Even more scary is the possibility that we will eat it all over the next 24 hours. A possibility that is becoming more and more likely every second.
Swedish Tea Ring
Serves about a gazillion, adapted from Baking and Books who got it from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book

For the ring:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, about 105 degrees to 115 degrees F
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 slightly beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot coffee or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, the eggs, salt, cardamom, and 4 cups flour until dough is smooth (it took about 5 1/2 cups of flour for my dough to achieve a smooth, soft texture). Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. (I refrigerated mine for about 12 hours. When you take it out of the fridge the dough will be very firm and may break apart as you remove it from the bowl. This is normal, just remove all the pieces then gently press them back together. Allow the dough to rest on your counter top for about 20-30 minutes before proceeding.)

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and roll out to make a 20×20 to 24×24 inch square. Spread with a thin layer of softened butter right to the edge. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter. Sprinkle the almonds over the cinnamon sugar. Roll up as for a jelly roll. (Beginning with the bottom edge closest to you, gently roll the dough away from you, pinching the ends together to prevent cinnamon sugar from spilling out.)

Grease a baking sheet and place the roll on the sheet, shaping it into a ring. Pinch ends together to close the circle. With scissors, cut almost through the ring at 1/2 inch intervals. Turn each piece so that the cut side is exposed. Let rise until almost doubled (about 1 hour in a warm location).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden. (I baked mine for 15 minutes, then rotated it in the oven and baked it for another 5 minutes). While the ring bakes, mix the glaze ingredients. Brush the ring while hot with the glaze.

This is my submission to Regional Recipes this month, which is being hosted HERE! The deadline is October 15th (by which I mean the 20th) so send your entries to [email protected] before then!

And remember, I am also hosting Presto Pasta Nights this week so get those submissions into me before Friday morning!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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27 Responses to Regional Recipes: Scandinavia – Swedish Tea Ring (Vetekrans)

  1. Johanna says:

    wow what a fantastic baking adventure – hope you have on your viking helmet as you chomp your way through this and give the occasional viking roar! (and send a piece my way please – looks delicious)

  2. Palidor says:

    You’re so ambitious and it turned out great! I don’t think you’d do very well in that climate, Joanne. If you’re always cold now, you’d probably freeze to death over there!

  3. Mari says:

    WOW I am so impressed…if this MD thing does not workout for you, I think you could be a chef =)

  4. Marcia says:

    That looks pretty good. My mother in law is from Denmark. I like Danish food. 🙂

  5. Oh my, that tea ring looks out of this world. I could use a big slice with my tea right now!

  6. Xiaolu says:

    I just saw that recipe yesterday and thought it looked fabulous. Love the Ikea comment and you should definitely be proud – it looks great!

  7. That looks wonderful! You did a fantastic job on the tea ring.

  8. Kim says:

    You are doing a great job working with yeast doughs. This looks really tasty. If it tastes just like a cinnamon roll I would be in trouble. I’d be eating the whole thing. I think I’m going to have a Tyler dish for regional recipes. If I get my act together in time.

  9. Amy says:

    “…The place of origin of the Vikings, the name Thor, and – possibly the most daunting of all – Ikea.” LOL. You crack me up.

    So, um… you totally outdid yourself with the tea ring. Holy cow. It’s amazing!

    The post-it on my desk for the October 15th deadline is still staring at me.

  10. Elra says:

    this look amazingly good!!!!!!!

  11. Juliana says:

    Oh! What a pretty tea ring…would love to try a piece 🙂

  12. Megan says:

    A gazillion servings? Wow – that’s some tea ring. Sounds more like breakfast/lunch/dinner and 3 snacks ring!

  13. Pam says:

    Oh my gosh! That is hugely impressive. I would carry that around and show it to everyone I met. Really.

  14. Donna-FFW says:

    That is just GORGEOUS!! What a beautiful tea ring!! I bet it tastes fantastic.

    How in the world do you find time to do all this!! Study, run, play, work, cook, host, date, etc.. holy cow, do you sleep?

  15. I love the cuts around the edges that make it look so fancy. And unique. I’d happily take some of that off your hands so you weren’t forced to eat it all! I just might have to make Swedish meatballs – they have been on my to-cook list forever.

  16. Kerstin says:

    I’m SO completely impressed Joanne, it looks amazing! I am a huge cardamom fan and would love to try this, along with some Swedish meatballs 🙂

  17. Justin says:

    wow, cool. i don’t have the patience to make stuff like this.

  18. Tiffany says:

    I’m enslaving you in my kitchen when you visit next week, and when I come back from work I expect this on my counter.

  19. Shannon says:

    wow, that’s impressive 🙂

  20. This looks really delicious! I have to admit I know almost nothing about Scandanavian cuisine, and I think what I do know was designed to frighten outsiders away.

  21. averagebetty says:

    It appears you battled your fear of yeast and won! What a big, beautiful Swedish Tea Ring… looks great for the upcoming holidays 🙂

  22. This looks delicious. You did a great job!

  23. my lord, jo … this really IS a culinary adventure, isn’t it? from my italian/norwegian self … thanks for these … they’re awesome! been stalking you lately here but haven’t seen you running … see you soon hopefully!

  24. Sophia says:

    Once again, you’ve outdone yourself…Joanne, my dear, how do you DO it? Study for grad school, AND have time for leisurely baking? I ADORE you!

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Yum… my grandma is practically off-the-boat Swedish and she makes this all the time… except instead of making it into a ring, she cuts them up into individual rolls to save time. Basically into cinnamon rolls. Just as tasty, and only about 1/2 the time to make. She’s too impatient to deal with making it into one cohesive ring.

  26. Wow! Holy breakfast (lunch or dinner). Would you mind sharing?

  27. The Woman says:

    Great job – this looks like a lot of work! But I’m sure it’s well worth it in the end.

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