Swedish Cheese Pie (Västerbottenpaj) is a delicious quiche-like dish featuring a tender, all butter crust and a filling of eggs, milk, cream and cheese.
Authentic Västerbotten cheese is difficult to come by in the United States, but fear not! I have several easy-to-find substitution options that work perfectly in this recipe.
You are going to love this Swedish Cheese Pie. It's easy, elegant and perfect for entertaining! Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for how to make it at home.
Why This Recipe Works
- This Swedish Cheese Pie has a tender, flavorful crust that is easy to roll out and can be made up to two days ahead of time.
- The filling is pleasantly rich and cheesy.
- It's perfect to serve for holiday gatherings such as Easter, Midsummer, an annual crayfish party in August (a Swedish tradition) and Christmas!
A very simple list of wholesome ingredients make up this recipe:
- All purpose flour, salt, sugar, butter, sour cream and ice water come together to create a buttery, tender crust for this cheese pie. No time to make your own crust? No problem! Simply substitute a store bought pie crust instead.
- The filling is comprised of a combination of milk and cream (or use half-and-half instead), eggs and cheese. In Sweden, the traditional cheese used in this recipe is an aged cow's milk cheese called Västterbotten, which is nearly impossible to find in the United States (see the FAQ below for more information). Priest XO Cheese from Sweden is an excellent substitute for Västerbotten and can be found in cheese shops and Scandinavian specialty grocery stores. Gruyere or an aged white cheddar also work well in this recipe.
Special Equipment Needed
- Food processor
- 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or use a pie plate instead)
- Rolling pin
- Pastry scraper (not necessary but nice to have)
How to Make This Recipe
- Begin by making the crust: Combine the flour, salt and sugar together in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the cold butter cubes over the top and pulse until the pieces of butter are no larger than pea size, about 8-10 pulses.
- Stir the ice water and sour cream together in a liquid measuring cup. Drizzle over the butter and flour mixture and pulse until the dough begins to clump together. You should be able to squeeze the dough in your palm and have it hold together. If it seems too dry and won't hold together, add a tablespoon of water and pulse again. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk shape. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll into a 12 inch round on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a 9 or 10 inch tart pan (it helps to have a pastry scraper to help gently coax the dough from the work surface) and press to fit into the bottom and sides of the pan. Cut any remaining dough from the top edge with a sharp knife or pastry scraper. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Place a piece of parchment or foil inside the tart and fill with pie weights, dry rice or beans. Bake until the crust is just beginning to brown on the edges and is drying out on the bottom, about 25 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Make the filling: Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle the cheese over the warm crust and pour the egg mixture over the top. Carefully transfer the pan back into the oven.
- Bake until the cheese pie is just set in the center and browned on top, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
- Keep the dough COLD. It will be easier to roll out, and chilling the dough after you put it in the tart pan will help the tart shell keep its shape while baking.
- After sprinkling the cheese over the bottom of the crust and pouring the egg mixture in, use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the cheese and egg mixture evenly throughout the tart shell.
This recipe is traditionally made with Västerbotten cheese which considered the king of cheese in Sweden. It is a hard cow's milk cheese with a firm, granular texture. The taste of Västerbotten is described as somewhat like Parmesan cheese or an aged cheddar.
It is not available in the US. Västerbotten cheese is produced with sodium nitrite, and the United States longer allows the import of dairy products made with sodium nitrite.
Priest XO Cheese from Sweden is an excellent substitute for Västerbotten and can be found in cheese shops and Scandinavian specialty grocery stores. Gruyere or an aged white cheddar also work well in this recipe.
The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator until ready to use. Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to a month. Simply thaw it on the counter and proceed with the recipe. It's best to bake the pie itself on the day you plan to serve it.
Wrap up any leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or oven before enjoying.
What to Serve with Swedish Cheese Pie
Västerbottenpaj is traditionally served in Sweden at Easter, Midsummer, August crayfish parties and Christmas. It is delicious on its own with a simple salad, or for a more traditional way to serve Swedish Cheese Pie, add a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and whitefish roe to each serving. A sprig of dill or a sprinkle of chives is a nice touch, too!
Looking for more classic Swedish recipes? Give these a try:
Swedish Cheese Pie (Västerbottenpaj)
- 9 or 10 inch tart pan
For the Crust:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter cut into half inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
For the Filling:
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) Priest XO Swedish Cheese, Gruyere or an aged white cheddar
- Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until the butter pieces are no larger than pea size, about 8-10 pulses.
- Stir the ice water and sour cream together in a glass measuring cup. Drizzle over the flour mixture and pulse until moist clumps start to form. Squeeze the dough together in your palm. If it feels dry and won’t hold together, add an additional tablespoon of ice water and pulse again. Repeat as necessary until the dough holds together when squeezed.
- Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk. Refrigerate at least an hour and up to 2 days (the dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw completely on the counter before continuing with the recipe).
- Dust a clean work surface with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch round. Transfer to a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or alternatively a 9 inch pie plate). Press the dough into the tart pan and remove any overhang from the sides of the pan with a sharp knife or pastry scraper (or decoratively crimp the top if using a pie plate). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork. Cover the tart pan with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake until the crust is dry but still light in color, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the foil or parchment along with the weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, salt and a few grinds of pepper together in a large bowl. Scatter the cheese over the bottom of the warm crust and pour the egg mixture over the top. Transfer to the oven and bake until just set and browned on top, about 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm, cut into wedges or squares.
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