Silltårta (Swedish Herring Cake)

This past Friday marked Swedish Midsummer, a holiday that celebrates the longest day of the year. With food, drinking, dancing and festivities, this is a holiday that all Swedes take part in! Growing up my family would go to our close family friends' house for the celebration and I can clearly remember loving this day of the year.

I did a little research online and fell across an amazing video that talks about this Swedish holiday. Take a look:

[vimeo 39345149 w=500 h=281]


Last week as I was looking forward to what I was going to post this week, I knew that I wanted to pay homage to my heritage and pay special tribute to the Midsummer holiday. I emailed my friend Marie (who is originally from Sweden) begging her to send me recipes. I was hoping she'd send a dessert or something savory, but instead, she sent Silltårta (Swedish Herring Cake). I was not sure at first, but quickly realized how "Swedish" it was - perfect for SMAK!


During my move to the new apartment, I noticed that I did not have my own chefs knife, so, I went the store to buy one. I brought it home smiling, proud of my new toy. As I stood in front of my counter, chopping the rye bread to create crumbs, I began thinking about all that I needed to get done. Next thing I knew, I realized I had done something horrible. I didn't feel anything at first, but knew that something had happened. I looked down to see that I had badly cut my finger with my new knife. While it hurt like a mother, I am proud to say that I have received my first cooking injury - isn't that something I need to go through to be considered a real chef?


I am well aware that this may not be the most popular dish that I share with you on SMAK. Herring tends to be an acquired taste - there are even members of my family who don't like the fish (but we don't talk to them anymore because of it). If you want a Swedish recipe that may be a little more "friendly," try this Swedish Strawberry Cake or Swedish Meatballs recipe.

What about you? Are you adventurous enough to try Silltårta?

Silltårta (Swedish Herring Cake) Recipe from UPR

Ingredients: Crust 7 oz rye bread crumbs 2.5 oz butter

Filling 1 medium-size jar of pickled herring (not the baby food size jar and not the mayonnaise size jar...something in between) 1 packet of unflavored gelatin 1 red onion 1 package cream cheese 3 cups sour cream 1 cup finely chopped chives black pepper, to taste

To Prepare the Crust:

  1. Finely chop the bread into crumbs (skip the knife and break it into crumbs with your hands).
  2. Melt butter and  then mix with crumbs.
  3. Cover bottom of a spring form pan with mixture. Press and let stand in refrigerator about 15 minutes.

To Prepare the Filling:

  1. Soak the gelatin in cold water about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the herring and save the liquid.
  3. Finely chop the onion and herring (sorry, you have to use a knife this time around).
  4. Mix onion, herring, cream cheese, sour cream, herring juice and pepper.

Take the gelatin and melt it in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the herring mixture. Pour into mold. Let stand in refrigerator at least 3 hours until set.

Place herring cake on a platter and garnish with chives.