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Curd Cheese Cake

Curd cheese, like sour cream is an important ingredient in Hungarian cooking. The airy, mousse-like filling of this cake has a lemony tang, which is enhanced by the sour-cream pastry.

ingredients

130 g (4 1/2 oz) plain flour
65 g (2 1/2 oz) butter
5 g (1 tsp) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
150 ml (1/4 pt) sour cream

for the filling

7 egg yolks
250 g (9 oz) caster sugar
20 g (2 tbsp) lemon zest
275 g (10 oz) curd cheese
8 egg whites

method

1. Sift the flour into a bowl and drop in the butter, cut in pieces. Rub together to make fine crumbs.

2. Mix in the sugar. Add the egg and sour cream and blend and knead into a firm paste. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic film and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Divide the dough in two and roll each piece to fit a 26 cm (10 1/2 in) spring-form tin. Line the greased base of the tin with one sheet of pastry. Make pastry leaves or flowers with any remaining scraps of dough.

4. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and creamy and well expanded. Beat in the lemon zest and the sieved cheese.

5. In another bowl whip up the egg whites until they are firm and well peaked. Lightly fold them into the cheese mixture using a large metal spoon and taking care not to lose any air. Pour the filling into the cake tin. Smooth gently, then lay the remaining sheet of pastry on top and press it down lightly.

6. Place the pastry leaves or flowers quickly on the pastry top, using a little whipped egg white. Bake immediately in the preheated oven at 170°C (325°F) Gas 3 for 50-60 minutes.

7. The cake will colour only slightly and rise quite high out of the tin. As it cools it will drop quite dramatically – most cheesecakes do – but it will not crack because of the pastry covering. Dredge with icing sugar to serve.

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