Quesada Pasiega - Spanish Cheesecake
Spanish cheesecake, otherwise known as quesada pasiega (KAY-saw-duh pa-SEE-ah-ga), is the kind of treat one gifts themselves with after a rough week at work. First made in the Cantabria region of Spain, it has become one of the most famous foods of this area. This cheesecake is heavy and slightly lemony, thanks to the fresh lemon zest used in the recipe. The oils from the zest permeate the rest of the ingredients quite nicely and compliment the deep flavors of the cheese extremely well.
Ricotta cheese is the key ingredient here, but even this can be substituted for something else. Cottage cheese is a great substitute, because it has a similar texture and saltiness to it. This recipe has no crust, New York Style cheesecake it is not, so you may find greasing the pan helps it pry away from the sides more easily. A tablespoon of olive oil, maybe a little less, will do just fine for coating a 9x13 baking dish, which is exactly what we used. Once it had been baked, this cheesecake was easily sliced into easy to handle bars, since we used a square dish. You could use a round baking pan if you’d like, but the bars make the cheesecake more hand friendly. It is not something that falls apart easily, so it is a finger friendly food. Our taste testers could be seen hovering around the pan, fingers full of little pieces of cheesecake. One woman sighed and said “well I guess I didn’t really need a plate for this, after all” as she discarded her plate in favor of her hands.
Top this cheesecake with berries, honey, jam, or even chocolate. For a traditional Spanish approach, add nothing but cinnamon. It is more savory than an American cheesecake. It can be served either cold or warm; both are delicious and will have fans. Some people prefer this kind of cheesecake over the sweeter American versions because of it’s dense pudding like consistency and its noticeably cheesy flavor.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cream the butter and sugar and whisk in eggs and vanilla.
- Beat well and add the ricotta and pinch of salt.
- Beat in milk and then the flour little by little.
- Stir in lemon zest.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or a tooth pick comes out clean.
- Let the cheesecake cool for 15 minutes to set.
- Serve plain or with your favorite topping.