Last Easter we ate our way through the most marvellous Easter Cake traditional in Southern France and Italy – a Parmesan cheese cake – rich, gorgeous and totally different

For those of you with some cheese on hand and a few days to Easter – enjoy the following recipe:

Ingredients / Serves 12

  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) all-purpose flour
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) already risen bread dough
  • 25g (1 ounce) fresh yeast
  • 200g (7 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) pecorino cheese or Gruyère
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) lard
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Time:
preparation: 45 minutes
plus rising time
cooking: about 75 minutes
total: 2 hours

Easter cheese cake recipe

Preparation and cooking

  • – Put all-purpose flour in a big bowl and make a well in its center.
    Melt the already risen bread dough in a cup with warm water and pour it into the well.
    Mix it with only a little quantity of flour and beat with your hand or with a whisk very vigorously.
    Your dough must be very soft. Sprinkle it with a little flour.
    Let it rise, leaving the rest of the flour around. You’ll join this remaining flour to the risen dough only at a later time.
    Cover the bowl with a napkin.
    Put the bowl in a warm place in order to let your dough double its volume.
  • – Meanwhile cut lard into small pieces.
    Put eggs, egg yolks, butter, lard, 3 tablespoons olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese in a little saucepan.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper and beat all the ingredients with a whisk for some minutes.
  • – Cut Pecorino or Gruyère cheese into very small pieces.
  • – When your dough is doubled, warm up egg-and-fat mixture in a bain-marie for few minutes.
    Add crumbled fresh yeast and pecorino cheese too. Stir well.
    Be careful not to warm it up too much! This mixture must be only lukewarm.
  • – Add this mixture to the flour and risen dough in the bowl.
    Amalgamate all the ingredients with your hands quickly and then put the dough over a ligthly floured work surface.
    Knead your dough for about 15 minutes until smooth.
    Add other flour only if necessary.
  • – Grease the necessary number of deep molds with the remaining olive oil.
    I generally use a sprayer to get homogeneous results or I brush it.
    Transfer your dough cut into equal portios in every mold.
    It must fill only less than half the mold.
  • – Let your dough rise in a warm place until it reaches the edges of the mold.
  • – Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • – Bake for about an hour or until its surface is golden.
    Remember to add a small bowl of water in a corner of your oven. It serves to ensure that your cheese cake doesn’t dry out during cooking.
    To check cooking use a long wooden skewer

Just before serving

  • – Remove your mold from the oven and let it cool.
    Then turn out your Easter cheese cake on a large serving dish.
    It’s very tasty especially when it’s cold.

Note

Tips

  • – It’s difficult to reduce fat in this recipe. The only thing you can do is to substitute butter with olive oil. But you can’t modify the other ingredients: you could ruin its delicious taste. Don’t worry: Easter comes once a year! Every now and then you can eat something special, high in fat. The important thing is not to do it often!
  • – The best way to preserve it is to wrap it in cling film.
  • – Generally I am able to keep it for at least three days without losing its fragrance. Towards the end of the preservation period, I put it in the oven at 90°C for a few minutes just before serving.

Menu planning

  • – Italian antipasto idea. You can serve this Easter cheese cake, sliced, to accompany hard-boiled eggs, salami, omelettes made with asparagus or onion or black truffle.
    You can also serve it with second courses such as roasted lamb or pork meat instead of bread.
    When I was a girl we used this cheese cake, sliced, to make sandwiches with salami or ham to bring in picnic. A real goodness!

Thanks to theitaliantaste.com