Icelandic doughnut balls – Ástarpungar

The name ástarpungar means “love balls.”
These are a delicious workaday kind of fried pastries that are still made weekly in some households. My paternal grandmother always has some ready for guests.

I really like these little doughnuts, especially warm with a glass of cold milk. Make them and everyone will love you for it ;-)

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
to taste: raisins

Mix the dry ingredients well in a bowl, add the rest and mix into a smooth batter. Batter should not be very thick. Unlike regular twisted doughnuts which are made with kneaded dough and need very high temperatures to fry properly, these doughnuts can be fried in a regular deep fryer. Use whatever frying fat you like best, heated to the highest temperature the deep fryer offers. Drop dollops of dough into the frying fat with two teaspoons and fish out when they have turned a dark brown colour. Drain on paper towels. Some people like to sprinkle icing sugar on them, but I prefer them plain. Can be eaten hot or cold and freeze well.

Icelandic egg soup – Eggjamjólk

I’m back after taking a break from blogging to finish my master’s thesis.

Today’s recipe is for a soup that I like very much.

The nights have turned cold and this soup might have been invented for cold nights, as it’s wonderfully warming. Think of egg-nog, but without the alcohol.
The original recipe includes raisins or prunes, which I prefer to leave out.
Serves 5.

1 ¼ litre milk
2 tbs flour
1-2 eggs
1-2 tbs sugar or brown sugar
vanilla essence to taste

Break the egg(s) into a bowl or soup tureen and whip with the sugar until light and frothy. Mix together flour and 200 ml cold milk into a smooth paste. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil. When the milk boils, add the flour/milk mixture and bring it back to the boil. Cook on low for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour slowly into the egg/sugar mixture, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Add vanilla flavouring to taste. Sprinkle sugar on top to prevent a skin from forming. Serve immediately.

The original recipe:
Soak 2 tbs. raisins or 10 prunes in a little hot water for 5 minutes. When the milk is hot, but not boiling, add the raisins (pour off the water first). When the milk boils, add the flour/milk mixture and cook on low for 10 minutes. Finish the recipe as above. This is the original recipe, but since I don’t like cooked raisins, I leave them out.

Floating islands:
To be used with either variation of the recipe. Use two eggs. Separate the yolks and whites. Mix the yolks with sugar as instructed in the recipe, and whip the whites until stiff. When the soup is ready, float spoonfuls of egg whites on top. If you have ovenproof soup dishes, put the soup into a hot oven with the broiler on and remove when the egg whites begin to brown.

To make a pudding:
Use twice as much flour. Serve warm with milk or cream and sugar.

Recipe translated from Helga Sigurðardóttir’s recipe book, Matur & drykkur (Food & Drink), Mál og menning, Reykjavík, 1986 (1947).

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