Recipe by Pille @ Nami-Nami. Above photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the October 2013 issue of Kodu ja Aed ("Home and Garden", an Estonian monthly magazine. I've been their food writer since October 2012).
Pumpkin or winter squash dessert, anyone?
There's a popular old-school dessert here in Estonia, called kohupiimavorm. It consists of curd cheese (also known as quark), sugar, (whisked) eggs, and some add-ons, usually raisins or pieces of fruit. It's not really a cake (too soft), nor a soufflé (no custard base), so after some research I've decided to translate it as pudding cake :) Pudding cake is a cake you need to eat with a spoon, and it's rather difficult to cut it into neat shapes when still warm.
Here's a version using that autumn staple, winter squash or pumpkin. For once, this is a recipe that's very versatile - if you cannot find curd cheese (try looking for 'tvorog' at your nearest Polish/Russian/international shop), you could use drier ricotta or even farmer's cheese. As for pumpkin, any yellow-fleshed winter squash would work. I like using butternut squash here, as this gives the dessert a lovely dark orange hue. Considering the amount of flour in the recipe, you could easily make this wheat-free or gluten-free by using different types of (gluten-free) flours.
You could eat it as it is, or with a dollop of thick yoghurt or sour cream on the side. It's lovely with a kissel or fruit soup (this cranberry kissel would work brilliantly here). I actually prefer this pumpkin version to the traditional version, as it's softer and moister.
Oh, and if you were wondering what those cookies on the top right corner of the photo were, you'll be pleased to know these contain pumpkin/squash as well. You'll find the recipe for those wonderful pumpkin cookies here.
800 g butternut squash or pumpkin (cleaned weight)
100 g caster sugar
500 g curd cheese
4 large eggs, separated
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
100 g dried cranberries (craisins) or seedless raisins
a pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F.
Peel the pumpkin, cut into large wedges. Remove the soft core and seeds, and cut the flesh into large cubes. Weigh the pumpkin cubes - you need about 800 g (just under 2 pounds). Place the cubes into a large saucepan, add a cup of water and simmer over a low heat until pumpkin is tender. Drain thoroughly, then place into a bowl and mash with a fork.
Add lemon juice and grated zest, curd cheese, flour, (c)raisins.
Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg yorks with sugar until creamy, add to the rest of the ingredients. Finally, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks forms. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the rest of the ingredients, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Butter a large (round) oven dish - about ∅ 26-30 cm is excellent - and sprinkle with fine breadcrumbs. Spoon the pumpkin and curd cheese mixture into the dish, smooth the top.
Bake in the pre-heated 200 C/400 F oven for about 40 minutes, until it's lovely golden brown, and just a wee bit wobbly in the middle.
Let cool either completely or serve at room temperature.
(From the recipe archives: this post was originally posted in October 2013)