The Sandwich Tart (or smörgåstårta or brauðterta)

There is this one bread dish every Icelander knows, especially from confirmation parties or grandma’s birthday. And that’s brauðterta – bread tart/sandwich tart. It does not have a lot in common with a tart or cake; in fact, the only thing making it “tart-like” is that it is in layers.

Originally from Sweden (where it is called Smörgåstårta), it was extremely popular from the 1960s to the turn of the current century. For some reason, its popularity diminished in the new century. It is slowly but surely coming back.

smörgåstårta, brauðterta, sandwich tart
Anneli Salo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The tart is like a giant sandwich, filled with mayonnaise, eggs, ham, cucumber, cheese, smoked salmon and whatever else you fancy.

One of the reasons for its diminishing popularity might be the copious amounts of mayonnaise it involves. However, it has become more common in later years to use crème Fraiche or sour cream together with mayonnaise (with some people skipping the mayonnaise altogether).

But how do you make this delicious sandwich “cake”? The essential thing is the bread. You need white bread, either a whole loaf cut lengthwise or a roll of bread. Then it is whatever strikes your fancy, really, but we’re going to give you a recipe of a great one, so you’ll get a taste.

Please note the recipe is a bit large, as this is usually eaten at some sort of gatherings.

Johan Andersson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ingredients of brauðterta

  • 1 ½ sandwich bread (cut lengthwise, if you do it yourself, be sure to cut the crust off as well)
  • ½ kg (1.1lb) chopped sandwich ham
  • 15-20 slices of sandwich ham
  • 10-15 hard-boiled eggs (chopped into small pieces)
  • 750-1000g (1.6 – 2.2 lb) mayonnaise
  • 1 container sour cream (you can add more and use less mayo if you want)
  • ½ can chopped pineapple (drained and dried)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Aromat


Before you mix everything together, leave some of the mayonnaise and sour cream mix, as you will need it to spread over the outside of the sandwich tart.

Mix the chopped ham, pineapple, eggs, 750 g mayonnaise, and sour cream. Season to taste. Arrange two slices of bread side by side and spread the mix onto them. Then place the next layer of bread on top and spread the ham mixture. Do this four times, as the sandwich tart will have five layers of bread and four of the spread.

Spread a thin layer with the remaining mayonnaise on the outside of the bread and make sure to cover it completely. Otherwise, the bread will dry out. Next, cover it with the ham slices, and then the bread cake is decorated according to each person’s taste. It could be egg slices, coriander or dill or pineapple.

And voila! The brauðterta is ready!

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