Ostkaka Observations

When my Swedish ancestors gathered in their homeland of Småland, ostkaka was served.  Ostkaka, or Swedish cheesecake, is a Småland specialty and a regional tradition.  The hostess would scoop out the center of each cake for tasting, then serve the cake the following day with fruit filling the hole.  I've often fantasized about what sort of recipe my great great grandmothers crafted.

Original recipes for ostkaka call for rennet to coagulate warm milk.  Once thickened, the whey was removed and remaining ingredients added.  These days, we have precurdled means to make ostkaka, and I gladly use them.  I've tried ricotta, which makes a rather flat and chewy cake.  And most recently I've used cottage cheese, which results in a good high cake, but is too wet.  Next time, I'll drain the cheese and possibly mix in a bit of the ricotta.

Serves 4 - 6

3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups half and half, scalded and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup slivered almonds, ground
Seasonal fruit or preserves

Mix all ingredients except fruit.  Pour into buttered 1 quart casserole.  Place in pan of hot water so that water reaches at least half way up side of casserole; bake at 300 - 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Serve with seasonal fruit.  Pictured above is ostkaka with fresh blueberries that were stewed in sugar, balsamic vinegar, and cognac.


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