Muriel Arnason

MADE WITH LOVE: Christmastime indulgence gets passed down

Township councillor shares an Icelandic dessert recipe.

One of the many things that Langley Township Councillor Petrina Arnason looks forward to at Christmastime is the tradition of creating the Icelandic prune torte called Vinarterta.

“It was invented in Iceland and was made as a treat for Christmas, weddings, and other major celebrations,” she explained.

“My family only seemed to indulge at Christmastime, when it was a pleasure to consume it along with other treats.”

Her father’s mother made a “delicious” Vinarterta and was “happy to eventually pass the recipe on to my mother, who was of British descent, and otherwise only made the mandatory fruitcake for Christmastime,” Arnason said of her mother Muriel – who was also a Langley Township councillor for many years.

Googling this delicious treat will now result in a number variations based on such additions as cinnamon, almond icing, and almond extract.

“However, I have decided to share the tried-and-true original version that our family has enjoyed for many, many years,” she said.

“The only new addition to the process is that my husband now volunteers to freshly grind cardamom pods so as to enhance the flavour of the filling.”

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Family Vinarterta

Ingredients for cake:

1 cup soft butter

2 eggs

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. light cream

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. baking powder

4 cups sifted flour

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Directions for cake:

Preheat the oven to 350º

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

In a small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter in the bowl and mix well.

Then, add a third of the milk mixture to the butter in the bowl and mix well. Continue alternating until everything is mixed together.

Chill the dough well.

Divide the dough into 5 to 7 equal portions.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface approximately 1/4 inch thick and transfer to a baking sheet, springform pan, or 8-inch rectangular brownie pan.

Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until the dough is slightly golden and the edges are lightly browned.

Transfer baked sheets to wire rack to cool completely.

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Ingredients for filling:

2 cups water (or enough to cover prunes)

1 pound pitted dried prunes

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. cardamom

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Juice of 3 oranges

Directions for filling:

Heat water and prunes in a large sauce pan over medium heat.

Cook until the prunes are very soft and water is evaporated, stirring occasionally for approximately 30 minutes.

Once the prunes are soft, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher.

Add orange juice, cardamom, vanilla, and sugar. Stir well and set aside.

Assembly:

Place one cake layer down on a stable, flat surface covered with tinfoil.

Using a spatula, gently spread a layer of the prune mixture over the cookie, getting as close to the edges as possible.

Place a second cookie layer on top and repeat until you have one cookie sheet left over which should be placed on top and left bare.

Wrap the entire cake in tinfoil and store in a cool, dry place for at least three days or up to 3-4 weeks until ready to serve.

Ensure to use a sharp clean knife to slice for serving.

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OTHER LANGLEY ADVANCE HOLIDAY RECIPES:

• Aunt’s egg casserole makes for light work Christmas morn

• Quirky Langley singers share potato salad and dessert recipes

• Christmastime indulgence gets passed down

• Mom’s German cookies always a hit

• Potato recipe that had to be shared

• Holding dear Mom’s handwritten recipes

• How caring for a wounded paratrooper evolved into making cakes

• A treat that no one has to avoid, despite sensitivities

• Cloverdale-Langley City MP Aldag gets heating, beating, and eating

• Christmas toffee a reminder of a mother taken too soon by cancer

• Perfect for holidays or sick days

• The secret ingredient is love – without question

• One councillor’s household obsession

• Adding just the right amount of rum

• Great grandchildren now loving pop’s customized meatballs

• Just like she made with her neighbour and momma at age seven

• Long-time favourite melds sweet and salty

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