I pride myself on being pretty multi-faceted. I can be a badass. I can be a jock. I can be a girly-girl. I can be a nerd.
Today, let’s be nerds.
I’m going to talk a bit about Harry Potter because I’m in that kind of mood, but because I want you to stick around, I’m also going to talk about cheesecake. Specifically, Quesadilla Salvadoreña.
For reference, I was that person. The one that picked up the latest Harry Potter book at midnight and stayed awake the whole next day until it was read. The person that waited in line to see the movies at midnight releases. The person who dressed as Hermione for Halloween 4 years in a row (difference cities, in my defense). And the person who, along with Tomato, Leek and Broccoli, went down to Universal Studios a few months after Potterworld opened, dressed as Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, to experience the magic ourselves.
Being in a Harry Potter mood, last weekend I watched the Deathly Hallows, both parts, and because I had them for a limited time through Amazon, I ended up watching them both twice. That’s like 10 hours in the span of 24 (I make no apologies…winter….). And then, having reentered J.K.’s magical world, I started rereading the books. And re-watching the movies. And made this cheesecake.
See what I did there?
Quesadilla salvadoreña is an interesting beast. Sort of like a cheesecake. Sort of like a poundcake. Sort of like a coffee cake. Sort of pretty delicious. But, rather than two tortillas sandwiched together by some sort of cheese, in El Salvador, a quesadilla is very much a dessert.
According to Postres de La Cipota, the most authentic cheese of first choice is called queso duro, a type of very hard and salty cheese, similar to Parmesan. The second alternative is typically cuajada fresca, a very moist, grainy soft cheese that is similar to an Italian ricotta. Other recipes I found used queso fresca, which is what I used in mine, but it seems that you can be pretty adventurous with the cheese you use, though I really wouldn’t recommend something that’s not generally pretty mild. So, not pepper jack (though…interesting savory twist, perhaps?)
Though usually not a fan of cheesecake, this was really quite lovely. I wasn’t sure how it’d go since queso fresca doesn’t really break up or smooth out the way a ricotta or cream cheese would, and isn’t salty or distinctive as Parmesan. I liked this one, perhaps because it wasn’t sickeningly sweet, and the subtle ingredients, none over-powering, combined to create a flavor that could best be described as “sweet cream,” or can otherwise be termed as perfection.
Mom, who was in town for the week just because she loves me, LOVED this cake. Twenty seconds in the microwave, she loved it even more. The perfect accompaniment to a cuppa tea, a spot of coffee, or sustenance to get you through a Harry Potter marathon.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups queso fresca*
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar, heaping
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup 2 % milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and sugar a 9” springform pan.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
- In another bowl of your mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and the vanilla.
- Slowly add the cheese, crumbling into small bits if necessary. Add the baking powder.
- Alternate the flour with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
- Pour into the prepared pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before removing it from the pan. Serve warm or room temperature.
- Feel free to use Parmesan or ricotta rather than queso fresca
- Use whatever milk you fancy
Something wicked this way comes?
Other Harry Potter confessions:
I’d be in Gryffindor, obviously. Ravenclaw would be a strong second contender, but I’m too awesome for Hufflepuff and Sytherin…just ew. Pottermore agrees with me.
My Patronus would be a dolphin.
If I could pick any magical talent to bring to this world, it would be apparition.
My heart belongs to Ron Weasley.
A hand-knitted sweater from Tomato
I have a recipe for Butterbeer cupcakes, and should I be in a Harry Potter mood again sometime soon, I’ll be sure to share them.
Question: What would your Patronus be?