Irish Curd Cheesecake

19 Jul 2010

The first time I spooned a morsel of this delicious cheesecake into my mouth it was one of those idyllic afternoons in the Irish countryside where the sun was shining and you could see hilly green meadows and trees for what seemed like miles. I like to call these my Merchant & Ivory Irish days.  Those are the ones that make all the other dreadfully gray, rainy days disappear as if they never existed in the first place. A pair of wonderful new aquaintances had invited us to their home for an afternoon of tennis and tea. Something that would not ordinarily be on our agenda, but nonetheless, a lovely invitation which couldn’t have been more perfect given the day before us.

When we arrived we passed through an old gate and drove up a winding lane passing by a coach house filled with beautiful horses and then a small shed with lambs before arriving at the main house where we were greeted by various breeds of roaming chickens and geese, a couple of small black dogs and a tabby cat who looked like he had a permanent smile. We walked into the garden to find several guests all sitting about blankets on the grass, sipping cordials out of fine little glasses and nibbling of various sweet things that were setting on a table covered with a beautiful multicolored cloth blowing in the breeze.

After saying hello and meeting a handful of lovely new people, I made my way to the banquet and took a slice of what seemed to be a very plain and un-sinister looking tart.  It just happened to be Irish Curd Cheesecake and I just happened to fall in love with it.  Creamy yet textured, a baked lemon-y cheesecake that was absolutely unforgettable.

Fast forward a few years. While doing my research on traditional Irish cooking and baking, I came across this recipe in a fabulous and indiscreet book called Irish Food and Folklore by Clare Connery. The delicious memories immediately came flooding back. Irish Curd Cheesecake is said to go back to the 18th century and would often be served with a small glass of sherry or a cup of afternoon tea by the ladies of County Cavan amongst other counties throughout Ireland.

There is an option to add a dash of rosewater to the filling, which I obliged and, while it is very subtle, it adds a nice twist to the lemony flavour. I also used as many local ingredients as possible.

Hope this recipe brightens your day as much as it did ours.

Enjoy.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Irish Curd Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F)

125 g/4 oz Shortcrust Pastry (your favorite)

Icing Sugar, for dusting

For the Filling:

50 g/ 2 oz softened butter

50 g/ 2 oz caster sugar

rind of 1 large lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch ground cinnamon

3 eggs, size 2 (large Ireland medium USA), separated

3 tablespoons plain flour

375 g/12 oz cottage cheese-sieved

For the Topping

1 egg, size 2

1 tablespoon caster sugar

25 g/ 1 oz butter, melted

1 tablespoon plain flour

Roll out pastry to 3-4 mm/1/8 inch thick and use to line a 20 cm/8 inch loose-bottomed metal flan tin. Set the tin on a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the lemon rind and juice, cinnamon, egg yolks, flour and cottage cheese. Beat the egg whites untl stiff and fold into mixture. Pour into the pastry case.

Combine all the ingredients for the topping and pour on top of filling. Bake in preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until cake is golden in colour, risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin before removing. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with cream or natural yogurt.

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13 Responses to “Irish Curd Cheesecake”

  1. Arlene says:

    ” the ladies of County Cavan amongst other counties” – this is so exciting! I’m from Cavan, and never think of it as having a history of delicious cakes. I will have to try this recipe! Thanks Imen!

  2. Loved the picture, story and recipe. Will definitely have to try this one.

  3. Daily Spud says:

    This is definitely one to add to my repertoire. It looks fabulous and I love the associated imagery – who wouldn’t want a slice of that!

  4. Antonella says:

    The 3 eggs ‘large Ireland medium USA’ made me smile!
    Whish I had a closeby friend who can cook as you can! I’ll try it sooner or later…
    I love your cloth!

  5. Clare says:

    Yes, please! I love cheesecakes, especially ones that are a bit lighter than NYC style. This looks perfect! Will have to add to my recipe collection. Ideal first #irishfoodies post too!

  6. Norma Brock says:

    Sounds heavenly…I’ll be trying this at home, and looking for it next time I’m in Eire!

  7. This looks wonderful Imen! Great styling on the photo as well – and what is the recommended drink to go along with this??

    • imen says:

      Deb, thank you very much darling! It would be equally good with a glass of cream sherry, a cup of tea or a strong cappucino! xx

  8. shayma says:

    Imen- that photo is utterly gorgeous- the cake is really popping out- the lighting is perfect- it’s wonderful! and the cake sounds *so* scrummy. x shayma

  9. TheGlutton says:

    Wow, that looks fantastic. I love when something is so evocative of a time or place that it instantly brings you right back to where you first experienced it.

    • imen says:

      Thank you so much. I had something else in mind until the weekend and I couldn’t resist this recipe for nostalgia + to brighten the dull days!

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