Baked Farmer's Cheese with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Raisins
This recipe is an excerpt from:
Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart
UDJ Productions All text © 2016 Lauren Stacy Berdy
All photos © 2016 John White
All other rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
Lauren Stacy Berdy earned her professional diploma from Ecole de Cuisine, La Varenne Paris, France in 1978, then spent a few years working in Europe before bringing it home. She spent more than three decades as a private chef-caterer. She now resides 130 paces from the beach with her husband in Hollywood, Florida, where she wrote Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook For All With A Hechsher In Their Heart. This eBook is available on iTunes. Volume Two is well on its way.
Baked Farmer’s Cheese
with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Raisins
Too much mystery surrounds the making of foods we love to eat. This easy recipe is a perfect example of what has way too much mysticism attached to it.
Well, I tear away the curtain here. Nothing will come between you and the success of achieving this Lower East Side favorite. As always, my interest is to get you into the kitchen.Start with store-bought farmer’s cheese; wind up with a perfect demonstration of our forefather’s inventiveness.
The neutrality of plain farmer’s cheese goes way beyond its original intentions here. Not exactly a cheesecake, but your mouth might think so.
A miniature aluminum foil loaf pans are a perfect mold for these babies.The Lower East Side of New York remains alive in all of us.
• ½ cup walnuts: toasted and “broken up”
• 1lb. farmer’s cheese
• 4 tablespoons honey
• 1 cup yellow raisins
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Yield: 1 mini loaf (weighing 1½ lbs.) – scale up as needed
Special Equipment: toaster oven, clean kitchen towel & bowl, oven broiler, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, parchment paper, baking mold or disposable aluminum mini loaf pan (6” x 3½” x 2”)
At least two hours before assembly:
Open the farmer’s cheese and discard the packaging.
Place the wet farmer’s cheese in the middle of a clean kitchen towel. Wrap the towel snugly around the cheese, bringing all four sides into the middle.
On the flat surface of a cutting board, press the towel into the cheese- it’s okay to break it up.
Turn it over and press down the other side. Place the toweled cheese in a bowl and refrigerate to absorb the cheese’s remaining whey content.
Keep wrapped for at least 2 hours- overnight is fine.
Prepare the mold: Cut the parchment paper so it conforms to the lines of your chosen mold. The parchment is just there to insure ease while unmolding and soak in any extra whey.
Toast the walnuts until they are fragrant. Cool.Break up the large pieces using your hands or knife. Set aside.
When ready to proceed, turn on your oven’s broiler to its highest setting.
Unwrap the cheese and place in the mixing bowl. Add in the walnuts, honey, yellow raisins, cinnamon and salt.
Use a wooden spoon and/or spatula to break up the cheese clumps. Mix the ingredients until they are all well blended.
Of course, you could use your bare hands as well.
Scrape the blended contents into the middle of the mixing bowl.
Place the bowl over mold and scrape it all in. Press the contents towards the edges and evenly distribute the cheese evenly in the mold.
Put the mold on a baking sheet and place it directly under the broiler.
Depending upon the broiler’s strength, the cheese will begin to bubble and color during the first three minutes. Wait until the surface appears spotted and darkened. This may take anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes.
Do not overcook- the cheese will not be creamy!
Set your baked cheese aside. Cool to room temperature, wrap and refrigerate.
Slip the cheese out of the mold and peel off the parchment. Platter the cheese.
Serve with bread or crackers. Apple and pear slices are delicious additions. Cut and core the apples and pears into wedges, then toss with a few drops of lemon juice. Surround the baked cheese.