Yesterday I promised to share the recipes for Swedish cheesecake and Swedish apple pie with you. Today as I eat a slice of leftover cheesecake for breakfast, it seems like the perfect time to keep my promise and post a recipe for this delightfully delicate dessert. (The apple pie recipe won’t be far behind.)
But first I need you to purge any preconceived notions of cheesecake from your head. This is not the rich, dense, crumb-crusted concoction you’ll find on most American menus. Using ricotta instead of cream cheese, and baked in a loaf pan with no crust, the Swedish cheesecake is airy yet creamy, and dotted with the gentle crunch of finely-chopped almonds. With only two tablespoons of sugar, it’s not overly sweet, and lends itself perfectly to some sweetened whipped cream and cherries (or your favorite berries).
I served this dessert for a group of moms who came to my house with their babies yesterday. Just a few months ago we were in the early stages of motherhood, trying to figure out with each others’ support how to get our newborns to go to sleep at night and learning to cope with the sleep deprivation and new schedules. Now we all seem like pros as we let our babies play together while we enjoy tea and dessert together and talk about the newest adventure in parenting–starting solids–as well as our hopes and dreams as women. It was such a treat to welcome these friends and their babies into my home yesterday and to treat them to some Scandinavian-inspired hospitality.
Now I’d like to extend a little bit of that to you, with this recipe that I do hope you’ll try.
Swedish Cheesecake (Ostkaka)
Adapted from The Swedish Table by Helene Henderson
If I haven’t already convinced you to try this recipe, let me tell you two other wonderful things about it: It can be made in a matter of minutes, and can be prepared a couple of days in advance. Don’t skip the fruit and whipped cream–they’re crucial to this dessert.
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped fine (a food processor works great for this)
15 oz whole-milk ricotta (I could only find part-skim at my grocery store, and that worked fine)
2 tablespoons sugar
A generous amount of cherries or berries
Sweetened whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 1 1/2-quart bread loaf pan. Now you’re ready to whip this dessert together in a pinch! Whisk the eggs, flour, and half-and-half together in a large bowl, then add almonds, ricotta, and sugar, and stir well to combine. Pour it into the pan and bake it for one hour. Chill for up to a couple of days, and then serve with sweetened whipped cream and a generous spoonful of berries.