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Austrian Curd Cheese Pie

Apr 27, 2011

Cud Pie 
Vienna was calling me. First, a good friend from Vienna visited me here in Istanbul. The same week I heard that another good friend who was also my talented German language teacher gave birth to a lovely baby girl. Around the same time I ran into the recipe of this curd cake I used to adore while living in Vienna, in Mika's blog. I naturally figured it was the universe sending me signals to make me post another Viennese recipe. What else could it be?

I've told you before about the exquisiteness of bakery and cake shops in Vienna in one of my earlier posts titled "Mohnkuchen: Poppyseed Chocolate Cake". This cake here was another one of my favourites in another widely known bakery shop seen in every corner of Vienna: Anker. During the freezing winter days of my Vienna adventure when I used to literally cry out of self-pity to my helplessness against the Viennese cold, slices of such cakes would bring me back my mood. If it weren't for the Viennese bakeries I would certainly take the first plane back to Istanbul.

Viennese Curd Pie
Slice of Ricotta Pie 
You know by now how I enjoy baking everything from scratch. So there is no wonder I made the curd from scratch required for this cake. I know it sounds fancy but it's really not worth mentioning. Here in this post you can see how easily you can produce your own curd from milk and enjoy this pie %100 homemade.

I'm aware that my blog has started to become more like cat diaries than a food blog but I've got news. I've explained you earlier about my close acquaintance with cats and the abundance of street cats in Istanbul who are desperately in need for food and care. Recently something new and big happened that will soon change the population count of our family. Um, no I'm not pregnant. But somebody else is.

Tavsancik (bunny), our little favourite junior cat who leads a tough life outdoors with her likes and finds refuge in our home during the day for a couple of hours, had caught the flu last week. I was keeping an eye on her to see if she'd get better but she got worse and on sunday she could barely keep her eyes open. We tricked her into the carry box and took her to the vet. Last time we were at the vet was when our beloved Bebek took her last breath there 5 months ago. Doğa and me knew we would eventually go back to that place, as our lives are inseparable with animals but mostly that of cats. We both felt a little uneasy but found comfort in each other's company when we entered the vet's clinic, with undersized Tavsancik in the giant carry box with its name tag still labeled "Bebek".

Tavsancik So you won't wonder why we call her "little bunny" anymore.

As soon as she was examined, our vet informed us that she had respiratory and reproductive infections along with all other secondary cat calamities. Her babies were most likely to have died in her womb because of the infection but that ultrasound was needed for an exact diagnosis. After she is cured, it was absolutely necessary that she lives in house care as she was too meagre by nature to survive the severe outdoor life. Doğa and me looked at each other troubled because no matter how much we adored cats, since Bebek's death, we were enjoying our cat-free lives at home. No strings attached when we go away for a couple of weeks, no aimless meows that wake us up in the middle of the night, no cat litter crumbs crunching under our feet in the hall and our shiny, clean, scratch and fur-free furniture...

Oh well, what can you do?

Next day after Tavsancik was examined with the ultrasound the vet called me to break the news: Tavsancik was pregnant to one healthy baby who seemed to be due in a week or so.  When she asked me whether we wanted the baby to come to life, I didn't even consider saying "no".

And now we are going to be one happy family of four, as I always imagined we'd be: me, Doğa, Tavşancık and her little baby. 

Curd Pie

Austrian Curd Cheese Pie - Topfentorte

serves 4

Recipe adapted from Elle à Table's Christophe Felder recipe

Kitchenware required:

  • 24 cm round cake tin with a removable base

Ingredients:

    For the sweet pie crust:

  • 150 g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 30 g powdered almonds (If you don't have almonds use flour in the same amount.)
  • 1 egg
  • 250 g flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • For the filling:

  • 500 gr curd cheese
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 100 g sugar
  • 40 g flour
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

    Preparing the pie crust:

  1. In a bowl, whisk with a fork to combine softened butter, powdered sugar, powdered almonds, egg and vanilla. Add salt and flour and briefly knead to obtain a smooth dough.
  2. Wrap the dough with a cling film and let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours.
  3. Heat the oven to 180 C/360 F. Butter and mildly flour the pie from.
  4. Flatten the dough over a floured surface into circles slightly larger than the baking tin. Place the dough on the baking tin and secure it gently.
  5. Cover the dough with a grease proof sheet and fill it with dry chickpeas or beans for weight. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove the crust and leave the oven on on 180C/360F.
  6. Preparing the filling:

  7. Combine softened curd, egg yolks, sugar, flour, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and cream. Mash with a fork to obtain a homogeneous mixture.
  8. In another bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt to form snow peaks. Fold in the egg whites to the mixture above with a spatula. Avoid overmixing as it will deflate the egg whites.
  9. Remove the greased paper and weights and scrape the filling on to the pie crust. Bake it in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. You will know the pie is baked when you give it a gentle shake and the center is not wobbly. When cooled sprinkle with powdered sugar and with fresh strawberries if desired.
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