March 17, 2011

Oven baked fruit with Finnish buttermilk cheese & News!


As a Finnish ex-pat there are quite a few things I miss from my home country. I've listed some of them here before, but dairy products and cheeses are still amongst the most missed items on the list. Finnish buttermilk cheese is something I am, however, able to somewhat replicate here in Australia and I've wanted to experiment with it for a while now. 

I adore cheese and that is probably why I got so obsessed with making this buttermilk variety at home. The texture resembles that of ricotta and on its own its very mild and quite tasteless. There are many versions of this cheese and it is surprisingly versatile, but it is ever so simple to make with just a few ingredients you most likely already have at home.

I used the same batch of cheese to make both sweet and savoury cheese (which I'll share with you another time) and I was very happy with the way it turned out! The sweetened cheese pairs beautifully with some oven roasted fruits and dried cherries. All you need is a bit of raw honey for sweetness and you have a lovely little dessert waiting to be relished.

Oven baked fruit with Finnish buttermilk cheese*
(recipe for the cheese adapted from Kotiruoka)

1 litre buttermilk
2 large free-range eggs
1,5 litres milk (low fat or full fat)
100g skim milk powder
(lemon juice)

1 tbsp raw honey

1 apple
1 pear
1 tbsp raw honey
dried cherries

Lightly beat the eggs and the buttermilk until well combined. In a large saucepan, heat the milk until warm (42C). Whisk in the milk powder and continue to heat until almost boiling. Take the saucepan off the heat and whisk in the buttermilk mixture. Cover the saucepan with a lid and leave in a warm place for about an hour. Add lemon juice (a few tablespoons) if there is no curd forming on top of the mixture. You will need to keep the mixture quite warm for this to happen. Once the mixture has curdled, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the curd and place it into a sieve lined with a cheese cloth and placed on top of a bowl. Cover the curd with the cheese cloth, place some weight on top and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours or overnight. After this, sweeten the cheese with a tablespoon of raw honey.

Preheat oven to 170C. Cut the fruit into wedges and place in an oven dish. Drizzle the fruit with some raw honey and bake until tender. Serve the fruit with the buttermilk cheese and sprinkle with dried cherries.

*Note to the recipe. I made a whole batch of cheese and then divided it into two. For this sweet variety you will only need half of this amount.

PS. I have some exciting news to share with you! My first recipe for the brand new website called Honest Cooking has just been posted!! Go and have a look, I hope you like it!!