I adore cheesecakes. All varieties are delicious, but my true love lies with a continental cheesecake.
It was my birthday this week and cake was definitely in order. Given it’s still hotter than hades at The Scandinavian Baker HQ, I decided to abandon the oven again and adapt a Finnish favourite, the Rahkapiirakka – a baked cheesecake made from quark cheese – and give a tasty twist to a great summer standard.
Quark is big in Scandinavia – it’s a fresh, soft-set cheese that sits somewhere between ricotta, Turkish yoghurt and fromage frais and well and truly in the realm of delicious. It comes in all variety of flavours and is eaten as a snack as much as it is used in cooking.
The addition of the quark makes this cheesecake wonderfully light and cuts through the richness a little. You should begin the recipe the day or at least morning before you need it to allow enough time for it to set.
375 grams of cream cheese – softened
250 grams of quark
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
200 grams of digestive biscuits
75 grams of unsalted butter
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cardamom
Combine the roughly broken biscuits, ground cardamom, half of the lemon zest and softened butter in a food processer. Blitz until the mixture resembles damp sand.
Press the biscuit mixture into a lined 23cm spring form cake tin. Place the tin into the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.
This couldn’t be easier. Place the softened cream cheese and quark in to a stand mixer. If you have a beater with a spatula edge, use it to cut down on the times you need to scrape the mixture down from the sides.
Mix on a low speed until well combined. Add the lemon zest and condensed milk. Pour in the lemon juice and beat until creamy and smooth.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, cover with cling film and return to the fridge overnight for at least 6 hours to set.
Prior to serving cut the pomegranate in half and over a bowl using the end of a wooden spoon beat the skin to remove the seeds. With any luck the ruby jewels will fall into the bowl and not all over the floor.
Sprinkle the seeds on top of the cake and present to your wide-eyed guests, basking in the accolades you’re sure to receive! Enjoy
(If worst come to worst and it’s too hot even for cheesecake this recipe would also make a great base for ice cream with the biscuit base crumbled though – tasty!)