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Swedish Easter Traditions
Easter in Sweden is traditionally a family holiday. Many families will celebrate at their family cottage since this is the first long weekend of spring. That will often mean grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles all getting together for a weekend of fun and laughter.
Children in Sweden participate in a fun tradition. On the Thursday before Easter, they dress up in old clothes, paint their cheeks red, and become Easter Witches, or Påsk Kärringar! Once they are ready, they go around to the other houses in the area and hope they will be presented with sweets. Children also receive Easter eggs (sometimes made out of cardboard) filled with candy. They will also go on an Easter egg hunt looking for more candy filled eggs and other treasures. Dying eggs is another fun tradition.
In America, people will often eat turkey or ham at Easter. In Sweden, you will often find a smörgåsbord, which is a table full of a variety of food like pickled herring, salmon, Jansson’s Tempation (a potato dish). They also enjoy food like roast lamb. Påskmust is a special soda that people like to drink at Easter.
In Sweden, you will often see special decorations around Easter. Påskris are little Easter trees and they are used to decorate houses and businesses in Sweden. People collect branches and twigs and tie colorful feathers, ornaments and sometimes eggs to the branches. Often these are arranged in a vase or other container.
We hope that you will incorporate one or more of these traditions (except the one about the large family gathering!) this year. Please enjoy the following pages that explore the above tradition a bit more.
Here are some fun Easter crafts for young and old alike. Just click on the links below for printable crafts.
Or click here for the full booklet.
If you don’t have feathers for your påskris. Here is a link to a paper version.
You can buy beautiful, candy filled paper eggs from the Museum Store, or you can make your own version here.
Food and recipes
As with all other holidays, Easter comes with it’s own foods. Some of the ingredients you might need can be ordered for curbside pickup at the Museum. Pickup is this Thursday so orders need to be made no later than Wednesday (we will make a few exceptions). This includes candy for your Easter eggs and baskets. To make you order please click here. This week Museum members get 20% off food and candy orders and non-members get 10% off.
If you are looking for ready made Easter baskets, you can order them by emailing email@example.com. These are the two baskets we have ready made.
We also have paper eggs with a choice of Swedish candies available for purchase here.
Some recipes that the Museum family is enjoying this Easter will be coming soon. In the meantime you can find some great recipes here.
Probably one of the most common dishes to serve at Swedish holiday dinners is Jansons frestelse. It is a potato gratin with anchovies. Here is Store Manager Catherine’s family recipe so you make yours for Easter.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
4-5 medium potatoes
2 medium onions (not too small)
4 tbsp butter
1 cup cream (milk or half & half is also fine)
1 Tin of “Anchovy Style Sprats” (typically around 4.4 oz. Abbas Ansjovis is great for this)
Optional Topping (last 10 minutes of baking):
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) grated Parmesan* cheese mixed with 2 tbsp (1/8 cup) plain breadcrumbs
1) Preheat oven to 440 F. Grease a small (about 2 quart) casserole dish.
2) Peel the onions, cut in half lengthwise, then slice thin. Do the same with the potatoes.
3) Saute the sliced onions in half the butter until they are soft.
4) Spread half of the sliced potatoes evenly over the bottom of the casserole dish.
5) Spread the cooked onions evenly over the potatoes.
6) Spread the anchovy fillets evenly over the onions.
7) Spread the remaining potatoes over the anchovies and onions. Cut the remaining 2 tbsp of butter into pieces and put on top of the potatoes.
8) Bake uncovered on center rack for a total of about 50 minutes.
– At the 10 minutes mark pour on half of the cream.
– At the 20 minutes mark pour on the rest of the cream.
– At the 40 minute mark sprinkle on the optional topping.
The dish is done when the potatoes are soft and the top starts to get brown.
* Traditional Swedes will probably object to the Parmesan being part of the topping; this is more of a Selen thing.
Äggost (egg cheese)
Marketing Manager Angelica’s family is from Bohuslän, where äggost (egg cheese) in an important part of any holiday dinner. This delicious treat is typically made with a combination of milk, sour cream (yogurt or Swedish fil) , eggs, and sugar, which is heated until it curdles. It is molded in a special ornamental mold with drain holes. This creamy dish is traditionally served chilled alongside pickled herring. Its sweetness varies in different parts of the Bohuslän region, ranging from very sweet or semi-sweet in the south to entirely sugarless in the north.
Serves 5-6 people
6 cups whole milk
2 cups sour cream, Swedish fil or yogurt
- Hand whisk together the eggs with the sour cream in a large pot.
- Add the milk and warm while stirring. Make sure that the mixture NEVER reaches boiling point. Keep warming the mixture until it curdles and separates. The separation is not very obvious but rather small lumps that look like a loose scrambled egg.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down for about 30 minutes.
- Using a spoon with draining holes remove the cheese from the pot and put it in a äggost mold. If you don’t have a mold a cheese cloth in a colander works too.
- If you are looking for a sweet version of äggost, then layer in some sugar when adding the cheese to the mold.
- Let it fully drain overnight in the fridge.
Västerbottenspaj (Swedish Cheese Quiche)
Västerbottensost is a strong-tasting, crispy cheese, from Sweden with a delicious golden surface. The cheese is produced near the Arctic Circle in West Bothnia, Sweden, and has been made there exclusively since 1872. This quiche can easily be adapted to use other strong tasting cheese. Maybe try prästost or XO prästost that you can buy for pickup at the Museum. The pastry is really lovely and buttery and makes a delicious crust for the soft cheese filling.
Makes enough for 6-8 portions
For the pastry:
125 g/4 oz butter, cold and cut into pieces
225g/8 oz plain flour
1 tbsp water
For the filling:
150 g/5 oz grated Västerbottensost (or any cheese you can get your hands on)
200 ml/7 fl oz double cream
A small handful of dill, roughly chopped
A pinch sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 225°C/425°F/Gas 7.
Using your finger tips combine the flour and butter in a bowl until you are left with rough bread crumbs. Add in the water and bring the dough together. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
Roll out the pastry until about 1/2 cm thickness and use it to line a pie dish with a removable base. Prick the base with a fork and place in the oven for about 10 minutes until light and golden.
While the pastry blind bakes, mix together the eggs and cream, whisking to combine. Stir in the cheese and the dill and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Pour the cheese mixture into the pie case and bake for about 20 min or until the pie filling is set. Allow to cool and serve in generous slices.