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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Plăcintă cu brânză dulce (Romanian/Moldavian sweet cheese pie)

This is my mom's recipe for a classic sweet cheese pie, peasant-style, very often made in Romania and Moldova (both the Romanian side of Moldova and the other side). The dough is a softer version of crumbly shortcrust, made with yogurt, and the filling is fluffy with whipped egg whites to give it a foamier texture. 

The whole thing is baked until golden and delicious. It lasts wonderfully for a few days. Sometimes, raisins are added to the filling, but my mom skipped those. Enjoy.

Last year: Mangu with onions and salami (Dominican Republic).
Two years ago: Carrot, raisin and olive oil cake bars with eggnog and almond icing.
Three years ago: Minty crème brûlée.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Ingredients (for a large tray, about 30 X 40 cm):

For the pastry:
  • 200 g butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 150 g yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 15 tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons semolina to sprinkle
For the filling:
  • 1 kg fresh cow's cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 eggs, the egg whites whipped separately
  • 100 ml cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons semolina

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease the baking dish (it would be nice if it's made of glass). Melt the butter and mix it with the remaining ingredients to make the pastry dough, except the semolina. The dough should be soft. Divide it in half.
Line the bottom of the dish with one half of the dough. Sprinkle the semolina evenly on top to absorb any dripping moisture from the filling.

Make the filling. Whip the egg whites. Mix the remaining ingredients well, then gently incorporate the beaten egg whites. Pour the filling over the bottom pastry sheet and level it. Make another pastry sheet from the remaining dough half and fit it over the filling. 

Put it in the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until it looks golden on the top and bottom. Take out, allow to cool a bit, slice and dig in! :)

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