When I asked my lovely friend Josephine to share some traditional Swedish recipes with me, one of the two ideas she gave me was for this Swedish cheesecake - along with a warning that I should by no means confuse this recipe with other types of cheesecake.
And it really is quite different. It's far less sweet than British or American recipes, with a very neutral flavour. It goes nicely with jam, and apparently, in southern Sweden it's not uncommon for this to be served as a lunch dish.
This is also the first time I've made cheese. Any recipe which effectively begins with an exhortation to take whole milk and make soft cheese from it clearly has the right philosophy in terms of cooking from scratch, although it did take me by surprise when I started reading the recipe, and it does take a while to do it properly. You could probably take a shortcut by buying a ready-made soft cheese such as ricotta (that's what it looked most like, when I took it out of the muslin)... but that would take half the fun out of it.
Josephine kindly translated this recipe for me from Swedish, for which I'm incredibly grateful, but I've changed it a bit so any mistakes are surely my own. I'm not accustomed to measuring anything (let alone dry ingredients like flour) in decilitres, so I've converted volumetric quantities into weights. I've also added a bit more detail on the first, cheese-making stage, for the benefit of anyone who (like me) hasn't done it before. I found vegetarian rennet at Lakeland.
Swedish Cheesecake Recipe
2½ litres (4 pints 8 fl.oz) whole-fat milk
50g (2oz) plain flour
1tbsp vegetarian rennet
200ml (7 fl.oz) double cream
50g (2oz) caster sugar
20g ground almonds
- Mix a little milk into the flour to make a paste.
- Warm the remaining milk to 37°C (body temperature) in a large pan.
- Remove the milk pan from the heat, add the rennet and flour mixture, and stir well.
- Set aside for half an hour. After this time, the milk should be beginning to separate into cheese curds and whey. Slice into the newly-formed cheese mass to break it up a bit, and leave for another 30 minutes for further separation.
- Line a large bowl with a big square of cheesecloth (muslin).
- Decant the cheese mixture into the middle of the cloth, taking care to keep the edges dry and clear of the mixture.
- Pull the corners of the cloth together to form a bundle of cheese; a lot of liquid will drain off immediately that you pick up the cloth. Tie a string around the ends, as close to the cheese as you are able to get it, and fasten tightly. Then, use the string to suspend the cheese above the bowl.
- Leave the cheese to drip until the flow of liquid reduces from a steady trickle to an occasional drip - this took another half an hour for me.
- Heat the oven to 175°C.
- Whisk together the eggs, cream, almonds, and sugar.
- Combine the cheese together with the egg mixture, and pour into a large, well-oiled baking tin.
- Bake for an hour.
- The cheesecake may be quite puffed-up when you remove it from the oven, but it will quickly sink back to a flat level surface.
- Allow to cool a little before serving, but it is very nice served while it's still warm, with a scoop of strawberry jam.