Sunday, July 08, 2018

Estonian layered curd cheese cake (kihiline kohupiimakook)

The photo is from January 2008 

We love our curd cheese cakes in Estonia - and you'll find at least five curd cheese cake recipes here on my blog. This particular one is one of the most common curd cheese cakes out there. It uses a shop-bough yellow cake mix ("Juubeli tordipulber" or "Jubileum cake mix"), making it super-quick to assemble, and many Estonian cooks would have a packed somewhere in the kitchen drawer, just in cake. I'm an avid baker, love baking from scratch, and I do, just in cake :)

I'm posting it here, as someone was looking for the English recipe and I realised I hadn't shared it yet.

It's lovely when enjoyed lukewarm, with a glass of cold milk, but it's also really nice when completely cooled and accompanied with a cup of coffee or tea or cacao.

Layered curd cheese cake

(Kihiline kohupiimakook)
Feeds 6 to 8

400 g creamy curd cheese
200 g sour cream (20% fat content is perfect)
4 eggs (L)
4 Tbsp caster sugar
1 yellow cake mix (450 g)
50 g butter
a handful of seedless raisins (optional)

Break the eggs into the mixing bowl, add sugar and whisk until thick, pale and frothy. Gently fold in the curd cheese and sour cream (and raisins, if using).

Butter a Ø 26 cm (10 inch) cake tin or springform tin.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the cake mix (still dry, in its powder form!) onto the base, then scatter small dots of butter on top.

Gently pour or spoon half of the wet mixture into the tin. Now scatter half of the remaining dry cake mix into the tin, cover with the rest of the wet mixture and then the rest of the dry cake mixture. Scatter the remaining butter on top.

Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 200 C oven for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and cooked through.

Let it cool before serving.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Oven-roasted duck with plums and red onions

Ahjupart ploomidega. Duck with plums.

We love duck in our house. It's just as easy to cook as your regular Sunday chicken roast, but because it's less common, somewhat pricier and much bitter, it has a more festive feel to it. We don't cook duck for weeknight dinners, but for weekend roasts and entertaining at home, it's such a worthy bird.

Here's a version I cooked a few times this autumn, trying to perfect it for a magazine photo shoot :)

Serves around 6

Oven-roasted duck with plums and red onions

(Ahjupart ploomide ja sibulaga)

1 whole duck (ca 3-3,5 kilograms; I prefer chilled to frozen)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
300-400 ml of hot water
5-6 smallish red onions
few decent garlic cloves
4 cloves  (the spice)
1 kilograms large red plums
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F.

Season the duck with salt and pepper, both inside and out. Place into a good-sized oven dish (I used a lasagne dish on the photo, but a wide dutch oven would do as well). Pour  hot water into the dish, place the dish into the preheated oven and roast for an hour.

While the duck is roasting, peel the onions, halve lengthwise. Peel the garlic cloves.

Remove the duck from the oven and place the onions, garlic cloves, cloves (the spice) and thyme sprigs around the duck. Return to the oven for another hour.

Halve the plums, remove the stones. Take the duck out of the oven, and place the plum halves around the duck.

Increase the heat to 220 °C/425 °F.  Return the duck into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes or until the duck skin in deliciously golden brown and crispy. The meat thermometer should read 73-74 °C/163-165 °F when pierced into the middle of the thickest part of the duck leg.

Remove the duck from the oven and let rest of 10 minutes. Pour the pan jus through the sieve, place into a small saucepan and cook until slightly thickened. 

Then carve the rested duck into portions and serve with roasted plums, onion and garlic and the reduction.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Traditional Christmas roast (oven-baked pork shoulder with honey, mustard and rosemary)

From the recipe archives (originally posted in December 2012. Still my favourite Christmas roast). My traditional Christmas roast / Traditsiooniline jõulupraad
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the December issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine, 2012 

What's your traditional Christmas roast (assuming you're eating meat)? Turkey? Goose? Duck?

In Estonia it's definitely pork, though roast poultry has become more popular during recent years. I've been flirting with roast goose and actually served duck leg confit on Christmas Eve this year. It was delicious.

However, for years I've been serving pork roast - a pork shoulder (kaelakarbonaad in Estonian) in a mustard-honey-garlic-rosemary marinade, to be more precise. I love that it's a pretty fool-proof recipe, simple to make, with lots of flavour. And - as an added bonus - any leftovers are excellent on top of rye bread on the days after the party, or as part of a salad. So if you're not making it for a big family feast, you can still make the same amount and simply make several meals out of it.

So here you go. Nami-Nami's traditional Christmas roast. On the photo above, it's accompanied by black pudding ('blood sausages') - another traditional Christmas dish.

Wish you all a lovely festive season!!!

Traditional Christmas roast
(Ahjupraad karbonaadist)
Serves about 10

2 kg boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
3-4 Tbsp honey
3-4 Tbsp Dijon mustard or Estonian Põltsamaa mustard
2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs (leaves only)
3 large garlic cloves
2 tsp sea salt

Finely chop garlic cloves and rosemary leaves, then mix with honey and mustard until combined.
Season the meat generously with salt, then spread the mustard-honey mixture all over the pork shoulder and massage into the meat.
Place the pork shoulder into a large ovenproof dish, cover with foil and place into a fridge or cold larder for 1-2 days.
Bring back to the room temperature about an hour before you plan to cook the meat.
If you have a meat thermometer, then stick it into the thickest part of the meat (you can do this through the kitchen foil).
Roast the meat in a pre-heated 160 C / 320 F oven for about 2,5 hours or until the meat thermometer has reached 82-85 C/ 180-185 F.
If you plan to serve gravy with your meat, then pour a cup of hot water into the baking tray half-way through the cooking. 
When the meat is cooked, remove the foil, season the meat once more lightly with salt and then bake for another 10-15 minutes at about 200-220 C/ 390-425 F, just to brown the meat  a little.

Remove the roast pork from the oven, cover again with a kitchen foil and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving into thin slices.

This recipe was also included in my latest cookbook, Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011. 
I also included the recipe in the December 2012 issue of Kodu & Aed magazine.