Wednesday, October 22, 2014


There is probably no dish more representative for the northernest parts of Sweden than palt. It is sometimes called Pitepalt, as the townspeople of Piteå has laid claim to the origin of the palt; I think it´s their business culture, they are very industrious. Piteå folk have also been great travellers, and have spread the palt as their gospel. The only palt restaurant I know of is located there, the Palzeria in Öjebyn. They have such novel dishes as salmon palt with white wine sauce and fried curry shrimp. Their palt recipe is a bit more elaborate than mine (they use part boiled potatoes and even egg), but as they say on their website, every household has their own recipe - and everyone swears their palt is the "correct" one.

I have a cousin-in-law who can´t make palt without the lightly salted, rimmat, pork, but is shameless about using a "palt-mix" from the store, with dried potatoe flakes rather than proper raw potatoes. Personally, being grown up within the cultural influence of the Central European knödel/dumpling belt, I feel free to use whatever I have by way of filling (the mum-in-law and I have even made vegetarian ones with an onion-mushroom mix, which was very good), but I am more particular about the dough. If I´m going to call it palt, it´s got to have raw potatoes.

This is my mother-in-law´s recipe, with no deviations. Just like she taught me. According to family tradition, one member (of the lumberjack profession, long gone now) once ate 13 of these. When he had set down his knife and fork, they asked him if he was indeed full now? "No," he said, "but I´m bored."

Start with the pork, about half a kilo, or a pound. Dice it...

...and fry it.

Peel the potatoes, 1½-2 kg. They should be old potatoes, not new.
The starchier the better.

Grate them medium fine. I use the second smallest grater on my machine.

Salt a little and start adding wheat flour. I like to use my hands for this.

For 2 kg potatoes, I use somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1 liter flour. But it all depends on how watery the potatoes are and how firm you want your palt. The husband likes it firm, and as he was in the kitchen (taking the photographs) I let him have his way. 

Done. It should be a bit sticky.

Take a handful of dough (imagine making a snow ball), flatten it slightly. I like to rinse my hands in cold-ish water between every two palts, to keep them from sticking. You can use flour as well, whatever you prefer.

Put a pinch of pork in there. 

Fold the pork into the dough. 

It takes a little practice, but you´ll soon get the hang of it.

Lower the palt into the boiling water. 

Ease it gently off the ladle. 

Stir gently around the bottom of the pan, so they don´t get stuck.

When the last palt has been put in the pan, get out the accompaniments: butter, lingonberry jam (or any slightly acidic jam you have, cranberries or rowanberries perhaps?), golden syrup, and milk to drink. It´s okay to drink beer with it, I think, if you are not into milk.

When the palt has boiled for half an hour, they are ready. 

The husband like to eat his traditionally, with a dollop of butter sliced into the palt, and lingonberry jam. 

Me, I prefer syrup. Tastewise, it´s a bit related to American pancakes
with bacon and maple syrup, actually.

The palt water is good for baking, so I saved one liter in the fridge.
Boiling half of it and mixing with the fridge cool other half
gives the exact right temperature for a bread loaf.

What we didn´t eat (this batch made 20 palts and 2 or 3 is enough to make you quite full!) we cooled and froze. If you want to re-boil them, wrap each palt in tin foil: a 15-20 minute cooking will make them like new. Or, slice them up and fry them in butter - that´s my thing! 

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