Äggost, literally translated, “Egg-cheese”, has a long history and is the Bohuslän province’s most distinct and traditional dish. Recipes and methods have differed all over the province for a long time, and have during the years caused lively discussions among housewives. Äggost usually consists of eggs, milk, buttermilk and sugar and tastes like a lighter, fluffier version of America’s classical cheesecake. But only sort of – you’d simply have to try it yourself to know what it tastes like!
So where does Äggost come from?
Äggost has a long history spanning up to thousands years back. Let’s start with the milk. You can’t store fresh milk for very long. Present-day milk rots, but in former days, when milk wasn’t pasteurized or homogenized, it turned sour and curdled. The milk came straight from the cows at the farm, and after a couple of days in a milk bowl, the cream rose to the surface, was creamed off and eventually the milk soured from the bacteria in the air. It was valuable soured milk that could be used in the household in many different ways. The texture was firm – like lobber. The farmers could do two things to conserve the milk during the winter when the cows produced less – they could do butter or milk. If you let soured, curdled milk flow off through a scrim, the remaining substance turns out to a curd, which is said to be the origin of Äggost.
So how do you eat it?
It is commonly eaten as a dessert whipped together with cinnamon or jam, but you can also eat it as a sandwich topping. You know that the Äggost has the right texture if it wobbles a bit when you serve it. In the old days one would use beautifully carpented wooden pans, usually a gift from your fiancé, to make the Äggost in. Now a days tin and plastic pans are more common, one can also use a strainer with small holes in it to make Äggost.
… and how do you make it?
4-5 dl of buttermilk
5 liters regular milk
2 dl of sugar
Whisk the eggs in a large casserole and add the sour milk or sour cream or cream. The next step is to poor in the milk and slowly heat up the casserole while stirring, until it simmers and curdles. Do not let it boil! Pull the pan away from the stove and let it sit for 10-30 minutes. Use a large ladle and scoop up the cheese mass into your Äggost pan of choice and mix with sugar. Let the pan sit a in a cool area for a while until it’s dried off a bit. Move the Äggost onto a plate and garnish with sugar mixed with cinnamon. Serve it with some blackberry jam and enjoy!
To learn more about West Swedish food, go here!