Tusenbladstårta, translated means thousand leaves torte or in English spelled as Tusenbladstarta. It is a delicious Swedish dessert that looks very impressive, but it is really easy to make; your guests will think you spent hours and hours cooking. Okay, so it doesn’t have a thousand layers, how about 6! Nevertheless it is very good and fairly light tasting for a cream filled dessert.
Notice I didn’t say low fat, just light tasting! I checked with my dear Swedish friend Harriet, who grew up in Stockholm, as to the origins of this dish, and she was not so sure. What she did say, is that indeed this is a very Swedish dessert and very similar to a dessert her mother makes. I am trying to get the recipe, but her mother is not budging!
One of the things I love the most about Tusenbladstarta is the combination of the crunchy cinnamon pastry and the smooth cream filling. It truly makes for a good contrast of textures. Surprisingly enough though, this is also not a dessert that can be considered overly sweet.
I have adapted this Tusenbladstarta recipe from Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook, a book that was given to me as a gift many years ago by a very dear friend. This book has brought me endless hours of cooking delight and a few extra pounds as well. The original recipe calls for sliced almonds as a topping. Although I love almonds, I wanted a color contrast on the top, so I chose to decorate my Tusenbladstarta with raspberries. Other fruits work well also. but if you must be a traditionalist, by all means, top with toasted sliced almonds!
I recently served this dish at an international dinner party I hosted at my house and it was a hit. The best part is that leftovers keep very well in the fridge for at least one day. I enjoyed two lovely leftover pieces the next day!!
Here are some tips on making a great Tusenbladstarta. I like to have my pastry rounds made up in advance so the day I am going to serve the dessert I can just make the cream filling and assemble. I have salad plates that are exactly 7 inches in diameter so I just lay those on the pastry after is is rolled out and cut the circle with a small knife. I usually bake each round separately but feel free to bake 2 at time in the oven if you prefer. I like to watch the sprinkled sugar on top through the oven window and see that it is starting to melt. After the rounds have all cooled down I have a large round storage container I place them in with either wax paper or plastic wrap between each one for freezing. When I am ready to assemble I take them out and place them on kitchen towels to thaw. While they thaw I make the cream filling, assemble all the layers and place the finished tort in the refrigerator until I am ready to serve.
If you are interested in more traditional ethnic type desserts here are a couple more to check out below. You can bookmark them and try them later or pin them on Pinterest. Enjoy!
Try this classic Spanish style custard: coconut flan has a lovely flavor of coconut and cinnamon.
Pistachio rosewater cookies are a Middle Eastern style shortbread cookie with just a hint of rosewater.
Authentic Lithuanian tinginys are a no-bake sliced cookie with a nice chocolate flavor and dried cherries.
Tarte Normande is a rustic apple tart with custard from the Normandy region of France.
Tusenbladstarta - Thousand Leaves Torte
Here is a traditional Swedish Christmas dessert Tusenbladstårta. This is a light and flakey pastry wafers layered with vanilla custard cream between each. I like to bake my wafers in advance and freeze them and then I assemble on Christmas Day! The flakey layers in the pastry give this it's name: Thousand Leaves Torte. You will love this!
- 3/4 cup butter
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3-4 Tbsp water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk 2% ok
- 1 egg large, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup raspberries optional: slivered almonds
- For the cinnamon pastry:
- Preheat oven to 425 F
- In a large mixing bowl cut the butter in to the flour. Add the salt and the cinnamon until the mixture is the texture of small peas. Add the water, 1 Tb. at a time making sure that the liquid coats the flour. When you are finished, the pastry should almost clean the sided of the bowl. You might need to add more water if the dough seems dry.
- Shape dough into a small log and divide the pastry into 6 parts. Roll each piece into a 7" circle (a salad plate is about the right size. There are also baking mats with various circle sizes)
Place circles on cookie sheet, poke each round with fork, and sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. of sugar to cover. Bake for 12- 15 minutes until light golden brown. The sugar will caramelize while baking.
- For the cream filling:
- In a medium sized bowl, beat one egg and set aside.
- In a 1 qt pan, mix cornstarch, salt and sugar over medium heat. Slowly add the milk and stir to combine thoroughly. Keep stirring until mixture boils. Remove from heat and cool for about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add half of the milk mixture to the egg stirring constantly. Return this mixture to the hot mixture in the pan.
- Boil and stir for 1 minute Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate until mixture is completely cool.
In a large mixing bowl beat the whipping cream, and slowly fold in the cooled custard mixture.
- To assemble:
- Place a circle on a round serving dish. Top with cream filling and spread with a spoon. Repeat the process until all the circles have been used. The last circle should be topped with cream and topped with either fresh fruit or sliced toasted almonds.