When you have pears hard as wood and two packages of Russian tvorog, you just go and make an improvised cheesecake. It turned out to be quite Russian, I should say, because tvorog is pretty grainy compared to the much softer cream cheese. Anyway, here’s a more or less accurate reconstruction of that improvised Russian-style cheesecake with pears:
1 year ago – Deli Bread with My Un-Favourite Ingredient
2 years ago – Dying Eggs for Easter the Natural Way
3 years ago – Apples and Oranges
4 years ago – Biscotti and On Soviet Food Stupidities
Russian-style Pear Cheesecake will make a soft but rich cheesecake with that very tvorog texture and flavour.
for the base:
- 90 g of butter, cold
- 70 g of sugar, but actually to taste
- about 180 g of flour
- an egg
- some cold water
- a dash of nutmeg
for the cheesecake:
- 500 g 5% fat tvorog (or a grainy type of farmer’s cheese)
- 2 eggs
- 100 g or more of sugar, to taste
- 2 Tbs of cornstarch
- a pinch of vanilla extract
- 4-5 small pears or other fruit
- some ground cardamom
First, make the base: mix flour with sugar and nutmeg, then cut in cold butter. I usually work in the butter with my hands after I precut it into pieces. Your mixture should resemble crumbs. Mix in the egg and add the water little by little so that you get a kneadable dough. Do not over-knead though. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, you can start making the filling. Rub the tvorog with the sugar, mix in the eggs one by one, add the cornstarch and the vanilla. Slice the pears in your preferred fashion (I leave the skins on and do not pay too much attention to the appearance).
Grease a round springform pan. Now take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it a bit bigger than the size of your baking pan / spread it in the pan with fingers (which I did). You should be able to make quite tall borders with this amount of pastry. Lay the pieces of pears all over the bottom, sprinkle with some cardamom. Then pour all the cheese mixture on top. Give it a nice shake to distribute the mixture evenly.
Bake at 160-170 ‘C for about an hour (check at 50 minutes). Leave to cool and then keep refrigerated. It will slice better after some time in the fridge.
Remarks: No need to buy unripe pears for this cake 🙂 And I think any fruit will do as long as you like it! I didn’t add any sour cream (smetana) either which might have added a creamier taste to it. Also, be careful with the sugar – mine was a little bit too sweet!
Result: A chewy kind of cheesecake, if you know what I mean. It is more like the Russian zapekanka which is made with tvorog, eggs, sugar and a bit of flour.
After some time in the fridge, the slices were not falling apart that much and looked more ‘professional’. But I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures 🙂