Icelandic Food

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a cake with a flag sticking out of it on a blue plate sitting on a counter
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 12: Life with Vínarterta: Arden Jackson who has been baking vínartertas professionally for over a decade said the cakes are "an expression of love" and "made with love." Read more about its meaning in the Dec 24 IR "Roots News."
there are many plates stacked on the counter in front of the window, and one has a potted plant next to it
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 11: Can you remember a time without vínarterta? Nancy: I've never had it but I want to try it! Beverly: I am the one who did not like vinarterta growing up. I remember my mom making it and people loving it. I believe it had six or seven layers and the filling was prune. There was also an almond type icing which I think was the part I did not like. I have ordered some so I can give it a try as an adult and see if my opinion has changed. Kids are weird.
two trays of cookies sitting on top of a kitchen counter next to each other
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 10: Cardamom: in the filling, dough, both, leave out, or on the side? Karen: Must always taste test the warm ground prune filling to ensure cardamom flavouring is good, just like I did when I was a kid! Patty: Light cinnamon spiced prune vinarterta. Ruth: Prunes with almond extract sugar and cardamom
a person standing in front of some pies
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 9: Do you have any “secret” steps or ingredients not listed in the recipe? Susan: My Amma, mom & now I make it in November. It's a Christmas thing. I still use my Amma's recipe, I modify it a bit, but not often. Ruth: I used Hulda’s recipe in the Riverton Hnausa Lutheran cookbook, of course with alterations, my Amma used milk not water, & I never use cinnamon, always substitute cardamom and put both almond extract & cardamom in both cookie & filling.
there are several different types of food on the cutting board next to eachother
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 8: Do you dream of change? Terri: . I’m a traditional prune-filling person. When I suggested anything else, my family was horrified. I’m contemplating a rhubarb experiment. Kathy: 6 or 7 layers--I don't have a requirement --just so it looks about right--round, unfrosted. Any filling is good as a sweet, but it is not really ‘terta unless it is prune-filled. And fresh ground cardamom--the more the better—I’ve modified a recipe I have used for years.
two people standing in a kitchen preparing food on top of a counter next to each other
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 7: Can you break with family tradition? Patty: I love 7-layer, light cinnamon spiced prune vinarterta. I grew up without icing but my in-laws always had pink icing at Christmas and white icing for Easter. Terri: I use my Mom’s recipe. Karen: Haven't made any adjustments to the terta recipe my Mum had, even though details were sparse with information missing in the recipe card!
two cakes sitting on top of a wooden table next to each other with icing
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 6: Is it addictive? Connie: When I was in Iceland and spoke to a woman at the National History Museum, she was surprised it was still popular at weddings in Canada as Icelanders in Iceland found it old-fashioned. Karen: 😁 My one daughter wants me to make it more often!
a cake with white frosting and sprinkles sitting on a cutting board
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 5: There’s only one way to make a vínarterta. Everything else is an imposter. Ruth: 7 layers. I broke the rule once when I finished baking I was one cookie short so I made a rebellious 6 layer and we ate it that night! Karen: My Mum and numerous aunts made it .. seven round layers ....prune filling ... cardamom flavouring .. no icing. Recipe handed down from my Lang Amma.
a person cutting into a cake on top of tin foil covered in chocolate frosting
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 4: Is that chocolate filling? It’s chocolate…right? Kathy: My memories include removing the pits out of several pounds of prunes each year and grinding the filling. PA: . One memory: being allowed to gush around in the cooked prune mixture to remove all the pits.
a white cake sitting on top of a table with a slice missing from it and santa in the background
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 3: Christmas time or Anytime? Kathy: It is most often tied with Christmas and our Icelandic celebrations. Lois: . We make it for Christmas and are teaching our children to make it because my kids and grandkids all like it!
a stack of flat bread sitting on top of a white table next to a cup
The Twelve Vínartertas Before Christmas Day 2: Square or Round? Ruth said "Round all the way! Trimming the edges is a bonus treat!" Karen agreed "Round 'terta, then sliced and as you said, placed on a plate to see all the yummy white/black layers!" Nancy says, "We had square, but edges trimmed, oh the tasty part!"
the cookbook giveaway is next to an open notebook
Take part in our free Icelandic cookbook giveaway!
Enjoy a taste of Iceland: Jolakaka is also known as (Christmas Cake). Don't be fooled by its seasonal name, this delicious treat is enjoyed all year long. I added a teaspoon of lemon zest to this recipe to add a subtle zip. Recommended to wait until the next day to enjoy with a fresh cup of coffee.
an image of a man with his mouth open and water coming out of his mouth
Read about Þorri and Góa.
the coffee and kleenur logo is shown above a photo of someone holding a piece of bread
Its a good day when you combine a freshly brewed Cup of Coffee and a Kleinur. A popular Icelandic Doughnut with a crispy outside and a tender inside. #coffeeandkleinur #icelandicdoughnut