Småländsk ostkaka, known as “Swedish cheesecake”, is a traditional dessert made in Småland, in the region including the three counties Kalmar, Jönköping and Kronoberg.
It is very different compared to American cheesecake in terms of its ingredients and taste. In addition to milk, flour and rennet, Småland cheesecake contains bitter almond, eggs, cream, and sugar. It is baked in the oven and served with whipped cream and cherry jam. Traditionally, rennet is used to convert the milk but nowadays cottage cheese can easily be used to simplify the process.
Earliest records of this dessert date back to 1538 and making of it was a status symbol in Småland. The recipe for this cheesecake was a secret passed on to daughters by their mothers. In big celebrations, such as marriages or in Christmas, the guests would very often send Swedish cheesecake as a contribution to the gatherings. Historically, it would be served both as a cold welcoming snack or heated as a warm dessert known as smorgasbord.
In recent years, Swedish cheesecake has been reinvented through innovative approaches at restaurants. Today, you can easily buy pre-made Småländsk ostkaka in supermarkets. Some small family businesses still produce the cheesecake using the traditional methods, preserving the custom and history of Småländsk ostkaka.