Ross Fogelquist’s Jul Glögg
(Serves 5–10 people)
If there’s an ambassador of Scan culture in Portland, it’s Ross Fogelquist, the genial 77-year-old curator of what must be the city’s largest collection of Nordic ephemera, all of it lovingly crammed into every cranny of his historic knotty pine home, dubbed “Fogelbo,” in Southwest Portland. The former German teacher, who was knighted by the King of Sweden in 1985 for his decades of work with Portland’s Scandinavian community, throws open his doors every holiday season for festive “jul glögg parties,” featuring mug after steaming mug of his deeply warming, orange- and clove-perfumed wine. “I always have a big cauldron of glögg on the stove,” he says. “It pushes back winter’s dark and gloom.”
Combine 4 cups red wine* and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan and mix until sugar dissolves. Add 3 whole cinnamon sticks, the peel from 1 orange (sliced into thick strips), ½ cup raisins, ½ cup slivered almonds, and 10 whole cloves and simmer over medium heat for 20–30 minutes—but do not let mixture boil! Remove from heat and add 1 cup brandy if you like a stronger glögg. Let mixture sit, covered, on the stovetop for 2–3 days. When finished infusing, strain liquid into a bottle and store in the fridge (it will keep for at least a month). Warm before serving. Spoon a few raisins and slivered almonds into the bottom of each glass before ladling hot glögg on top.
*Fogelquist prefers to use a wine that’s not too dry, like Syrah or zinfandel, or a “big jug of Gallo Burgundy.”
Maurice Persimmon Cookies with Cardamom Brown Butter Icing
(Makes 50–80 cookies)
Born to a clan of Californian Norwegians, Kristen Murray’s Great Aunt Crys always made these toasty, fruitcake-like cookies around the holidays, nabbing winter-ripe persimmons from a neighbor’s tree to give her treats a unique, pumpkin-apricoty sweetness. Make them the centerpiece of a fika blowout to nibble with mulled wine. (Scroll down to check out our full dessert spread, complete with Broder treats, below.)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 5 ripe Fuyu persimmons (skinned, cored, and puréed in a food processor)
- 2½ cups rye flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground clove
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ vanilla bean (split, seeds scraped out, bean discarded)
- 1 cup golden raisins, chopped
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup dates, chopped
- Brown butter cardamom icing
COMBINE Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix. Add 1 cup of persimmon purée and mix. In a separate bowl whisk together rye flour, baking soda, and spices. Add to wet ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in vanilla, raisins, walnuts, and dates.
BAKE Drop teaspoon-size mounds of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 15–30 minutes, or until golden and crisp-bottomed.
FROST Remove cookies to a wire rack and let cool for 3–4 minutes before spooning icing (recipe below) on top in a circular motion. Eat immediately or store in a waxed paper–lined, lidded container. Cookies will keep in the fridge or freezer for 2 weeks.
Cardamom Brown Butter Icing
Melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter with 6 crushed cardamom pods (use rolling pin) in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Let butter bubble and foam, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until it develops light brown flecks and smells nutty, about 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and add ⅛ tsp lemon juice to stop butter from cooking. Strain into a container and mix ½ cup hot cardamom brown butter with 4 tsp evaporated milk and 1 cup sifted powdered sugar to make cookie icing. The rest of the cardamom butter will keep in fridge for up to a month.
With its charmingly rustic décor (and seating for 50+ people) wood-fired spot Ned Ludd’s new private gathering space, Elder Hall, proved the perfect locale for our festive party. (Rental info at nedluddpdx.com/catering.)