So here we are, with another dessert recipe… I wouldn’t say I’ve been craving sweets, but I definitely have been craving sweeter things over salty (remember the post where I admitted how much fruit I ate?).
Apparently it’s an old wives tale that if you are craving things that are sweet, you are going to have a girl. Luckily, this week we had our anatomy ultrasound and got to find out the sex of the baby – so no more guessing! To share the news here and to friends, I baked some chokladbiskvier, a delicious Swedish dessert, filled with either blue or pink filling…
And it’s a girl! (The “cherry” part of the title may have given that away…). So I guess those old wives must have know what they were talking about :).
We truly would have been happy with either a boy or girl, as long as the baby was healthy (which we found out she is), but it was still an exciting moment to find out. And it’s also exciting because this ultrasound was the milestone for being HALF WAY through the pregnancy!
Now, I promise not to make the blog only about pregnancy and babies… but I figured I did a post to share the news, and I’ll do this one half way through to share about the experience of being pregnant in Sweden (this one), and I’ll probably do one after baby is born to talk about all the amazing benefits of having a baby in Sweden (480 days of paid parental leave anyone?).
When I first found out I was pregnant, I actually felt completely lost about who to call. First, I tried calling the hospital (södersjukhuset) where I had been before for a medical issue, as I remembered they supposedly had a great birthing center. Turns out, you only give birth in the hospital, so I felt a bit silly after that phone call.
So, then I tried calling 1177, which is where you can get information about health care in Sweden or talk to a nurse… which normally would be helpful except they directed me to someone in southern Sweden who supposedly couldn’t help me find where I should go.
Alas, I ended up just walking to my primary care doctor office (vårcentral) down the street and simply asked them where I should go. Luckily, they were more helpful and directed me to a midwife clinic (barnmorskemottagning) just a few subway stops away. FINALLY, I had the right place!
But my journey to understanding how pregnancy in Sweden works was just beginning. After I called, the midwife clinic signed me up for an informational class. This class was both useful (lots of information about what symptoms are normal, etc), and confusing (the rules of what to eat and drink are different here than in the US), and a funny cultural experience (there were lots of references to Swedish things, like eating knäckebröd to help with morning sickness). The most interesting was learning the differences between what is ok and not ok to eat in the US vs Sweden. In the US, many doctors now-a-days say that a little bit of wine here and there is ok… in Sweden, “even a sip” (quoting my midwife) is absolutely not allowed. However, in the US they really recommend you don’t drink caffeinated drinks… but in Sweden, they say you can have half a liter of coffee PER DAY or up to 6 cups of tea PER DAY (remember when I talked about how important fika is here? There is no way a pregnant Swede is giving up her fika!).
After this informational class, I was booked to meet my midwife for the first time around 11 weeks, where we got to ask questions and give a bit of medical history. During this meeting, I learned that in Sweden you get to have the same midwife through the whole pregnancy… that is all the way up to…. the birth. So, no, she will not be with us when the baby comes… it will be whoever is on shift that night at the hospital. As scary as this sounds, I am trying to remind myself that Sweden has amazing statistics in maternal and baby health… so I trust they know what they’re doing!
After this initial meeting, we opted for an elective ultrasound to check for chromosomal abnormalities. Now, everything related to pregnancy and childbirth in Sweden is FREE… but I wasn’t sure about elective, unnecessary procedures. So, after our ultrasound I went to the front desk to ask if we should pay… of course the lady chuckled a bit and reassured me that no, this was free too.
Now, the hard part for me… after meeting the midwife and getting an ultrasound at 11 weeks, we aren’t scheduled for another meeting with the midwife until week 25. That is a LONG time when you’re worried about how everything is going inside there. Luckily, after that, we will meet her more often (a month later, then every 2 weeks or so) until the birth.
The midwife clinic does have a drop-in time every morning where you can listen to the baby’s heartbeat after 16 weeks… which we did of course! And then this week’s ultrasound was another reassurance. But it’s still not your own midwife. The amount of time between the first and second appointment is something that other foreign friends who’ve had babies in Sweden have also had a hard time with. But again… I guess I should just trust this system that seems to work!
So, that’s all about being pregnant in Sweden. I have nothing to compare it to, since I have not been pregnant in the US, but it was definitely a learning experience. And man, I wish I had found a blog like this to help me navigate the system! Since the healthcare system is universal here, the experience should be the same no matter which midwife clinic you go to :).
But here we are, week 20, with a baby girl that’s growing healthy (despite me making a few desserts for the blog!). I had been thinking of making this dessert as a “gender reveal” for a while now because it is one of my absolute favorite Swedish desserts!
It starts with a macaroon-style cookie base, made simply from egg whites and almond paste.
Then, typically, you add a sort of chocolate frosting/cream on top and cover it all with hard chocolate. However, I decided to switch things up a bit and make a cherry filling instead… it was both pink and delicious :).
I used fresh cherries for the frosting, which I think also added a scrumptious flavor. And funny enough, the cherries came from the US…. so it felt a bit like I was putting my two favorite countries into one special dessert :).
So there you have it all… the sex of our baby, the system of being pregnant in Sweden, AND a recipe for a cherry chokladbiskvi. Hopefully someone who is pregnant and confused in Sweden will find this post and will find it helpful… and for everyone else, enjoy the chokladbiskvi :).
- Cookie Base:
- ½ egg white / äggvita
- 5 oz almond paste / 150g mandelmassa Filling:
- ¾ cup powdered sugar / 1.5dl florsocker
- 7 tablespoons butter / 100g smör
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar / vaniljsocker
- ¼ cup chopped cherries / 0.6dl körsbär Chocolate coating:
- 150g dark chocolate /mörkchoklad
- Pre-heat oven to 300°F / 150°C.
- Place half an egg white in a bowl and whisk until it becomes frothy.
- Add grated almond paste into the egg whites and continue to whisk until it is fully combined.
- Line a baking sheet and place 8 equal size mounds of the mixture on top.
- Using a spoon, press down and spread the mounds into round cookie shapes.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
- When finished, immediately place the cookies on a cooling rack, upside down, to harden.
- While the cookies are cooling, heat the chopped cherries just slightly to soften (about 20 seconds in the microwave) – let cool.
- Beat together the softened butter, sugar, and vanilla sugar until it becomes a light frosting texture.
- Add the softened cherries to the frosting mixture by stirring gently.
- Add a mound of the frosting mixture to the bottom of each cookie, using your fingers to spread the mixture into a smooth mound.
- Place the cookies with frosting in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Just before taking the cookies out, heat the dark chocolate in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, stirring between, until the chocolate has just melted.
- Dip the tops of each of the frosted cookies into the chocolate mixture.
- Let the dipped cookies cool in the fridge again until the chocolate hardens (at least 15 minutes).
- Keep in the fridge until you are ready to enjoy!