Latvian cheesecake (biezpienmaize)
Biezpienmaize, literally cottage cheese bread, is my favourite cake in the world. My fondest cake memories are from the high school, when my friends and I would enjoy breaks between classes in the school cafeteria, sitting down for a sizable piece of biezpienmaize and a cup of peppermint tea. It was also great as a mid-morning snack, just enough to tide me over until lunch and spare me the embarrassment of rumbling stomach.
Essentially biezpienmaize is a baked cheesecake, however, yeast dough for the base and cottage cheese for the topping gives it more homely and down to earth feel. Usually it would contain sultanas and would be served cut in rectangles; available at every bakery and supermarket.
This recipe has been tested several times, using various types of bases and toppings. Personally, I prefer crusty base, rather than the yeast dough base, but I have provided recipes for both. For the best results, use the driest and smallest grain cottage cheese you can find (ricotta just does not taste right, trust me, I tried).
- 1 quantity of yeast dough
- 250g butter
- 150g sugar
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1kg cottage cheese
- 150g sugar
- 4 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- rind from 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons potato/corn starch
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup sultanas
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Line 30 x 40cm baking tray with baking paper
- In a food processor, chop butter, sugar, flour and baking powder until well combined and fine crumbs are formed.
- Place 3/4 of the crumbs evenly in the pan and firm them down to create a solid base.
- Place in the fridge until required.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Roll the dough to the size of the baking tray.
- Lightly grease the tray and place the dough in the tray, making sure the dough does not overhang the edges.
- Place the sultanas in a hot water to soak for 5 minutes. Drain well and place on a paper towel to dry until required.
- Place the cottage cheese, sugar, sour cream and lemon rind in a food processor and process for 15 seconds.
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
- Add the yolks to the food processor and process for 10 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir through the starch and sultanas.
- Whisk the egg whites with electric mixer until firm. Fold the egg whites through the cottage cheese mixture.
- Pour the mixture on top of the prepared base. If using the crusty base, sprinkle the remainder of the crumbs on top of the filling.
- Bake in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until the filling is firm and golden brown.
- Remove the tray from the oven, let it cool down and cut in even sized rectangular pieces.