Christmas Jansson’s temptation
- December 2023
- Serves 6-8 as a side
- Hands-on time 20 min. Oven time 45-55 min
Brontë Aurell shares her recipe for Jansson’s temptation (Jansson’s frestelse), a classic Swedish potato dish traditionally made with cream and ansjovis (cured sprats). The perfect festive side dish.
Brontë says: “On Christmas Eve across Sweden, everyone sits down to a traditional Julbord (Christmas table) of herrings, meatballs, ham, sausages, cured salmon, beetroot – and this delicious potato dish. It’s a proper Swedish classic, loved by all.”
A Danish entrepreneur, restaurateur and cook, Brontë runs the acclaimed ScandiKitchen café and shop in central London with her Swedish husband, Jonas.
- 28g (18g saturated)
- 34g (7.4g sugars)
- 1kg potatoes (ideally desiree, but maris piper work well too)
- 75g unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, halved and sliced
- 125g tin ansjovis (or 2 tins if you like a stronger flavour) – see Tips and Know-how
- 300ml whole milk
- 300ml double cream
- 50g dried breadcrumbs
- 30cm x 20cm ovenproof dish
- Heat the oven to 160°C fan/gas 4. Peel the potatoes, cut into batons roughly the size of chips and put them in the ovenproof dish (don’t soak them in water as this will remove the starch, which helps to bind the dish together). Put the dish of raw potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes to pre-cook a little.
- Meanwhile, melt 50g of the butter in a saucepan and add the sliced onions. Cook over a low-medium heat until very soft and translucent, but without colour (about 15 minutes).
- Gently mix the onions into the par-cooked potatoes, trying not to break up any of the batons. Set aside half the veg mixture in a bowl, then scatter half the ansjovis into the ovenproof dish. Add a good splash of the pickle juice from the tin, too. Mix the milk and cream, then pour half of it into the dish. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Repeat the layers with the remaining potatoes/onions and ansjovis, then pour over enough of the cream mixture to just cover the potato mixture (reserve any leftover cream). Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, then dot the remaining butter over the top. Season again with salt and pepper.
- Put the dish in the oven, reduce the heat to 140°C fan/ gas 3, then bake for 30 40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Depending on the type of potatoes you use, you may want to pour in any remaining cream halfway through cooking; the end result should be super creamy, so you’re not aiming for something dry. You can also give it a final blast under the grill to brown the top if needed.
Find ansjovis at Ocado or online at scandikitchen.co.uk
This dish can be completely cooked up to a day in advance, cooled and chilled in the fridge, then gently reheated in the oven before serving. It will also freeze well once cooked.
Brontë says: “There are many recipes outside Sweden that suggest using actual anchovies. The thing is, Swedish ‘ansjovis’ are not actually anchovies (despite being named after them) but little cured, spiced sprats, which are a type of mini herring. Ansjovis are worth finding as they’re perfect for this dish. They melt while baking, giving a beautiful, rounded flavour. Using them, rather than oily anchovies, is the key to getting your Jansson’s temptation to taste like it does in Sweden.”
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