There’s a holiday in Sweden that’s all about waffles.
Well, sort of. Swedes and their descendants can thank a long-ago miscommunication for Våffeldagen, the annual excuse to indulge in carb-loaded waffles topped with fruit and cream. Those particularly well-versed in the more orthodox Christian traditions may recognize tomorrow, March 25, as the Feast of the Annunciation — the date nine months prior to Christmas which symbolizes the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary to tell her she would give birth to Jesus [Corrected for accuracy, 3/24/11]. In Sweden, the day was instead known as Our Lady Day (Vårfrudagen), and it was widely observed in days gone by. However, since different dialects pronounced the name differently, the altered “Våfferdagen” was soon mistaken for “Våffeldagen” — and Waffle Day was born.
Waffle Day, to be fair, is a celebration nonetheless — a celebration of spring, and the increased supply of eggs and milk that comes with it. What better way to enjoy the change of the seasons? Today, the quintessential Swedish waffle is a heart-shaped treat*, topped with fresh strawberries or jam and whipped cream. We chose a cardamom-spiked recipe (below) to add to the Swedish flair, but your go-to buttermilk recipe will do just as well. Add macerated berries or jam and top with a dollop of vispgrädde (whipped cream), and you’re good to go!
From LearnSweden blog
¼ c sugar
⅔ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cardamom**
⅔ c sour cream
3 tbsp melted butter
Beat the eggs and sugar on high in an electric mixer until thick and pale. Add the flour and cardamom and mix well. Add the sour cream, then fold in the melted butter.
Brush a heated waffle iron with melted butter and pour in some batter. Cook the waffles until golden brown per your waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the waffles with a fork, top with your choice of accompaniments, and enjoy!
*Heart-shaped waffle irons are available online or through Ingebretsen’s.
**If you’re motivated, your best bet here is to use whole white cardamom pods (available at Penzey’s) and grind them fresh with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder — you’ll obtain much more aromatic, flavorful waffles.
If you want to experience Waffle Day but would rather have someone make waffles for you, stop by the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis) on Saturday from noon to 4 — for $3, you’re entitled to a waffle and all the toppings!