Winter holidays are almost here and I can’t wait to celebrate! Holiday preparation is already well underway and it can be stressful, but I love this hustle and bustle season: frenzied shopping, decorating homes and work places, buying delicacies and champagne, choosing and wrapping gifts for family and friends. I’m absolutely absorbed in the planning of New Year dinner. Shopping list is written, salads and starters are chosen, goose and turkey are waiting in the freezer. And certainly I couldn’t forget about desert. For me it’s an important and sweet part of the dinner. Any festive dinner should be finished with a perfect cake! Have you chose the one? What will be the sweet star on your table? Will it be traditional cake or pudding, that you make every year or a fancy cake, that you’ll order from a restaurant?
This year I’ll be making the vanilla cheesecake with cranberry or red currant compote. It sounds simple, but that’s exactly what we need this winter – delicious, smooth and tender cake. 🙂 But if you’re tired and bored from all traditional desserts, why don’t you try my festive cake recipe. It seems similar to cheesecake, but I used tvorog (cottage cheese) and sweet condensed milk, and its taste and structure became different. Bright cranberries on the top make this milky and sweet cake absolutely festive! Definitely all guests’ eyes will be on this cake!
If you noticed cranberries are small, because it’s Russian, they are smaller and juicier compare to American cranberries. Needless to say, you can use any cranberries you can find, or frozen cherries are also great here.
Cottage cheese and cranberry pie
A new take on the vanilla cheesecake, this cake will go down well on any occasion.
1 small egg
2-3 Tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk for brushing the pastry crust, optional
450g tvorog/cottage cheese
3Tbsp cream cheese, optional
3-4Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs or 3 small
2 tsp granulated sugar (or omit it and add more condensed milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cognac or brandy, optional
3 Tbsp ground almonds
almond flakes, for decoration
icing sugar, for decoration, optional
- Make the cake crust. Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out 3mm thick and cut a circle larger than 20cm (approx.26-28cm) baking pan. Bake blind in preheated 180C oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the weights, optionally brush with egg yolk, then return to the oven and bake for 5-6 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl beat eggs with condensed milk and sugar if using until the mixture is pale and sugar almost dissolved. Add vanilla, cognac, cream cheese and mix.
- If the cottage cheese is very crumble first mash it with a fork, then add to the filling mixture along with ground almonds, and stir to combine. Taste, add more condensed milk if it’s not enough sweet.
- Pour the filling into pastry crust. Arrange cranberries on top, and decorate with almond flakes.
- Reduce the heat to 170C and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Let it cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes, then carefully take out and put on a serving plate. Sprinkle with icing sugar, if desired.