Fyrstekake (Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart)

Becky and I are baking together again.  This month we’re sharing Scandinavian holiday recipes.  Becky is Swedish and I am 1/4 Norwegian.  And proud of it!

My maternal grandfather was full Norwegian.  His father was in immigrant from Karmøy, a small island southwest of Haugesand.  We were lucky to be able to visit Norway, including Karmoy, eight years ago before my grandfather passed away.  We were there during August 2004.  I dream of going to Norway for Christmas someday.

I lived with my grandfather for a few months when I was starting college.  He enjoyed the company, as did I.  My grandmother had passed away a few years before that.  Our evenings were often spent sharing a hot beverage and a piece of buttered toast, or a bowl of cereal.

He would tell me stories about his childhood in North Dakota.  I wish I had recorded the stories, because the details are hazy now years later.  I remember him telling me about Christmastime and how they would decorate their tree with candles, a pail of water nearby, just in case.  They would have lutefisk, cakes, cookies and sweet breads.

Sadly, not many recipes, if any, from my Norwegian great-grandparents were handed down.  Only a love of seafood and spiced Holiday treats.  I imagine if my grandfather were still around, I’d cut a big slice of this tart to serve to him after a “salmon dinner” with a cup of coffee, no cream, and a spoonful of sugar.

I saw this recipefor Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, and immediately knew I had to make it.  I love anything with nuts and/or cardamom.  Specifically, I like nuts and cardamom in tarts.  I texted my husband after my first bite and said, “The tart is AMAZING.”  Then I taunted him with more tweets.

You can serve this with whipped cream, but I loved it with a dollop of slightly sweetened sour cream.  Perfection, I should think.

I made it gluten-free using Aran’s fabulous tart dough recipe from her Small Plates and Sweet Treats cookbook.  Seriously–it’s the best.  It is my new go-to recipe.  The only other change to the original recipe was to add orange zest to the crust and filling, because why not?  ‘Tis the season after all. :)

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Fyrstekake (Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart)

  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 8-10 1x


Units Scale
  • For crust:
  • 3/4 cup fine brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • zest of 1/2 large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 24 Tbsp. ice water
  • For filling and assembly:
  • Unsalted butter (for pan)
  • 2 cups slivered almonds (I used chopped raw almonds)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1/2 large orange
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • For serving:
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
  • sweetened sour or whipped cream


  1. For crust: Place the flours, sugar, orange zest, cardamom and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Scatter the cold butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse on and off until the dough is crumbly, with some smaller and larger pieces of butter.
  2. Mix the egg yolk with 2 Tbsp. of water and with the motor running, drizzle through the feed hold. Add more water, if needed, and continue pulsing until the dough starts to come together into a ball. (The sound will change to a kind of grinding sound and then you’ll know it’s time to stop.)
  3. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form into a ball and break off one-quarter of the dough. From each into a disk and wrap well in plastic wrap. Chill for about 2 hours or overnight.
  4. For filling and assembly: Butter a 9″ tart pan. (I used a 9″ round cake pan.) Break the larger dough disk into small pieces and scatter over bottom of tart pan. Using your fingertips, press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Use the flat bottom of a measuring cup to smooth the surface and trim the edges. Roll out smaller dough disk to about 1/8″ thick. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and chill crust and cutouts for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Pulse almonds, powdered sugar, orange zest, cardamom, and nutmeg in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Transfer dry ingredients to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla in a medium bowl until medium peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into dry ingredients.
  7. Whisk egg yolk and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl to blend. Fill chilled crust with almond mixture; smooth top. Arrange cutouts on top. Brush cutouts with egg wash, if desired.
  8. Bake tart until crust and cutouts are golden brown and filling is set, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.
  9. Before serving, dust the top with a little powdered sugar. Serve with a dollop of sweetened sour or whipped cream.
  10. DO AHEAD: Tart can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


Adapted from Bon Appetit December 2012 and Small Plates and Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga

  • Author: Lindsey Johnson
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Norwegian, Scandinavian

Be sure to check out Becky’s Swedish Christmas Rice Pudding.  I can’t wait to try it.

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  1. looks super yummy – and beautiful swedish design on the crust! question: if i want to make it non g.f. do i replace with the equivalent of all purpose flour?

  2. I’m 1/4 Norwegian too!–my Grandma was full Norwegian her parents were from Haugesand too! Although she passed away just last year, I don’t have many recipes from her either. At least not specifically Norwegian ones. I’m super jealous you’ve been to Norway! I can’t wait to try this tart!

  3. My father’s side of the family is Norwegian, Danish, & Icelandic, although the Norwegian side is given preferential treatment since my grandfather & all my uncles speak Norwegian & have all lived there. We have a traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve feast every Christmas since I can remember, finishing with Riis Krem (Norwegian Rice Cream) and sometimes some Rodgrod med Flode (Danish Red Berry Pudding w/ cream). Christmas morning always features Norwegian waffles. I’ve always felt blessed to have these recipes and traditions passed down. I don’t have one for this tart, though. Thank you! We’ll definitely try it!

  4. Oops…and my father, can’t forget him! He speaks Norwegian & has lived there and visited many times. He is the one who has been the instrument in the traditions being preserved and passed down.

  5. Nuts, cardamom and orange zest! That’s Christmas to me. I am so envious that you’ve visited Norway. It’s my dream to go to Sweden and Norway one day.

    And what precious memories with your grandfather. So glad you made this, so great partnering up with you…as always. :)

  6. I am not Norwegian, but have been to Norway during Christmas and it absolutely stunning! You would love it! This cake has that amazing Scandinavian Christmas flavor. :)

  7. Wouldn’t that be fun to be there at Christmastime? I loved our trip (you were just showing with Lilly)! Good memories! I miss those peeps.

  8. @Jen That’s so cool! I’m down in SF like you are. We should get together and eat Norwegian food. :)

    @Amy Yes! Just use an equal amount of regular AP flour.

    @Unknown Thank you!

    @Mom We’ll have to plan that trip someday, won’t we? :)

    @Marina I’m so jealous! Glad you were able to go. Makes me want to go even more.

    @Becky I love partnering with you too, my friend.

  9. Thanks for the Norwegian recipes. My grandparents came from Norway. Although my dad did have a hand in teaching me how to cook, he didn’t pass on any recipes. The only Norwegian food he ever mentioned was Lutefisk. I remember we could smell it whenever our neighbors cooked it. I also remember the caramel colored cheese sliced very thinly on toasted Pepperidge Farm bread. Thanks for the recipes and the memories. Recently I’ve been experimenting with gluten free bread and I find your site very interesting and enjoyable!

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