Norway is weird when it comes to naming desserts, but this one sure feels like a success! Usually made for parties, and especially around Easter, Suksessterte or quite literally Success Tart, is a classic Norwegian dessert. While the crust is made from a meringue-like mix of nuts, powdered sugar and egg whites, the topping is a vibrant yellow custard. Eggs are the main ingredient, which tells us one thing: tons of science happening right here!
For the crust, separate your eggs into yolks and whites. To prevent disaster, I recommend doing this 1 egg at a time, so that a tiny fleck of yolk escaping when cracking the 8th egg won’t ruin your whole batch. This is a doubled recipe and calls for 8 eggs in total.
Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Or little boobs. I can almost see a face in this meringue…
Wonder why we need eggs to whip up, or how they do it? Egg whites are made of water and protein, and whipping them affects the protein strands, making them uncurl and allowing air into them. These air bubbles then expand when heated, making light and crunchy meringue or almond crust.
Grind 300 grams of almonds and/or other nuts, like hazelnuts. A mix of both is particularly nice. For this recipe, the exact science was a 2:1 ratio of almonds to hazelnuts.
Sift 300 grams of powdered sugar, and add to the egg whites along with ground nuts. Fold into the meringue using a spatula. Do not overmix, we need those egg whites all frothy!
Bake at 170 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely after baking.
While your crust is in the oven, mix egg yolks, 200 ml of heavy cream, 250 grams of sugar and some vanilla extract/sugar and heat on a stove. Prepare about 300 grams of butter to soften to room temperature if you forgot to take it out of the fridge earlier – which I did.
Stir continuously and do NOT let the mixture boil. It will thicken once it reaches around 65 degrees. If you have trouble getting the cream to thicken, you may use 1 tbsp corn starch mixed with water. Let cream cool down slightly.
Temperature is crucial when making custard so as to not end up with scrambled eggs. When heated, the proteins in egg yolks also uncurl, and when left alone, just bond with themselves again – except in a grainier fashion. The sugar and cream in custard slow down this process, and when the proteins bond into a creamy, smooth delicious custard instead of just a scramble – ideally. Yummy, yummy science!
When the pot and mixture are around 35-40 degrees, add soft butter in cubes. Mix until incorporated. Your mixture will now be runnier, but will firm up while cooling in the fridge.
Do not pour cream over the crust until both are completely cooled down! When both are ready, pour cream over the crust and smooth out and down the sides. When transporting this cake, I leave it in the tin while preparing and therefore don’t do the sides.
Decorate your cake with chopped/slivered almonds or chocolate shavings.
As you can see, I did both a full-size cake and some mini ones. They all turned out pretty great! Science at work, friends. SCIENCE!