Celebrate Crayfish Season - Like a Swede
IN AUGUST WE GO A LITTLE CRAY-CRAY.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash and Norrmejerier
If Midsommar marks the beginning of Swedish summer, a proper Kräftskiva (crayfish party) is definitely a telltale of the end. Kräftskiva has been celebrated in various forms since the 16th century, but the modern version only dates back to the 1960’s. A Kräftskiva is preferably thrown outside, on a weekend, and traditionally between the first Wednesday in August, until well into September (a remnant from a historic ban on crayfish fishing between November and August 7th – history lesson courtesy of Visit Sweden).
In time for the annual crayfish season, almost every Swedish media house publish their annual crayfish test – a list of which brands have particularly good - or bad - crayfish this year. Fueled by a powerful emotion commonly known as the "fear of missing out" things tend to get a little crazy as Swedes hurry off to the supermarkets to secure their share of delicacies.
To throw a Kräftskiva, you basically only need five essentials: friends, crayfish, a crayfish hat, jolly songs, and schnapps. Impress by flavoring your own (design your own label for extra credit).
And side dishes. Actually, you’re going to need a whole lot of sides, because there’s not a whole lot of meat on those miniature lobsters. We dish up white bread, hard bread, whole grain, potatoes, mayonnaise, garlic butter, eggs, cheese, cheese pies (preferably made from the famous Västerbotten cheese). Some also like to add herring, shrimps, langoustines, and other seafood.
Now, great schnapps recipes are well-guarded secrets, but we managed to convince one of our house chefs, Olli, to share a particularly delicious version with you. Dazed by the fuzzy warm emotions of giving, he then decided to throw in a heavenly cheese pie recipe as well, and we in turn got so excited that we designed a hat. (You’re welcome).
Find recipes, the hat, and a shortcut to the perfect Swedish crayfish party below.
Olli’s Blushing Rhubarb Schnapps
700 g rhubarb (unpeeled stalks)
70 cl vodka
3 tsp sugar
Steps: Thinly slice rhubarb stalks and place them in a glass jar. Cover with vodka and add the sugar. Don't peel the rhubarb, as the beautiful blush comes from the color in the skin.
Gently shake the jar to mix and place in the fridge 4-6 days. Then sift the schnapps through a coffee brewing filter (or the like) into a bottle and keep icy cold for the party.
Heavenly Västerbotten Cheese Pie
125 g butter
3 dl wheat flour
1 tbsp water
300 g grated Västerbottensost®
2 dl heavy cream
A pinch of black pepper
Steps: Put your oven to 225 °C and start mixing butter and flour in a blender until crumbly. Add water and quickly knead pastry until smooth. Press the into an oven-safe dish (ca Ø24 cm). "dock" the pastry by pricking it with a fork and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Whisk eggs and cream together and add the grated cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take the pie crust from the oven and pour the mixture in. Put back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the filling has set.
Let the pie cool down before serving. For added flavor, add a dollop of whitefish roe.
Festive Crayfish Party Hat - Download
Ready to print and assemble! Download and print on thicker A3 paper.
".. I just want to eat, really."
That's ok, Ikea has your back! Get your crayfish party kit here: Ikea Swedish Crayfish Party collection