Friday, September 14, 2007
Estonian Desserts: Curd Cheese and Apple Souffle (kohupiima-õunavorm)
Plums and apples seem to the cornerstone of our diet at the moment, as whenever we leave my parents place, our car is ladden with various containers full of autumn's bounty. We're not complaining, of course, as it makes for a happier and more versatile cooking. It's slowly getting darker and cooler here, so on Monday night we bot felt that an apple cake would hit the spot. It was only then that I remembered we had run out of all-purpose flour on the previous day (we bake a lot in the house - plum cakes and cheesy spinach tarts most recently - so it was not surprising), and neither one of us volunteered to pop to the nearest grocery store to replenish the stocks. Luckily, we had some curd cheese in the fridge, and some 'manna' (cream of wheat/semolina farina) in the cupboard that we use for making breakfast porridge occasionally, so I ended up making a real Estonian comfort dish for us. The dish is called kohupiimavorm alias curd cheese souffle, to which I added some apples (raisins would be often used, too), and garnished it with sliced almonds. I served it with a sweet soup made of leftover plum and damson jam - you see, I'm relying heavily on my mum's garden at the moment indeed...
That's a real nostalgia dish, and would bring back sweet memories of home cooked and canteen meals for most Estonians, I'd like to think..
Curd Cheese and Apple Souffle
Adapted from Salme Masso's book Õunaraamat (1985)
500 grams curd cheese or ricotta
4 large eggs
75 ml cream of wheat / semolina flour*
150 grams sour cream or plain yogurt
100 ml sugar
a pinch of salt
500 grams apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Wash the apples, peel (optional - I never peel non-sprayed apples from my mum's garden or other trustworthy source), core and slice thinly. Sprinkle with lemon juice to avoid them turning dark.
In a large bowl, mix your curd cheese until smooth. Add eggs, one by one, mixing thoroughly between each addition (use your KitchenAid mixer or a large bowl and a hand-held electric mixer).
NB! If you prefer a fluffier souffle, whisk the egg whites separately and fold them in gently at the end.
Add semolina farina, sour cream, sugar and salt, stir until combined. Fold in sliced apples.
Pour the mixture into a large buttered oven dish, sprinkle with sliced almonds and dot with butter.
Bake at 180Celsius for about 45 minutes, until the souffle has risen and turned into light golden.
Serve either hot or cold. A warm curd cheese souffle is best served with cold milk; a cold one goes well with Creme Anglaise or with fruit soup (as on the photo above).
* I'm talking about the non-durum semolina farina here, i.e. coarsely ground semolina farina, known in the US as Cream of Wheat