The foyer where I stayed during my semester abroad in Angers was run by a group of Franciscan nuns who kept a watchful eye on all the girls who stayed there. While they didn’t enforce a curfew, one of the sisters would be sure to remark about hearing the loud sound of the creaky gate doors during the previous night (or early morning, depending on who you ask – and depending on which girl!) They were a lovely group of women who made simple yet elegant meals everyday. On occasion, they asked me to help them with a few desserts. One of the desserts was a cake made from fromage blanc. It tasted like an airy, lighter and slightly tangier version of American cheesecake. It was fabulous – smooth, creamy and with a hint of lemon. I’ve tried to make it using the fromage blanc that is sold here in the States but the results have been less than moyen.
I came across this recipe for Turkish yogurt cake that calls for using strained yogurt and I thought it might taste similar to the one I made with the sisters. Indeed, it tastes very much like it and perhaps even a bit better. You can use Greek-style strained yogurt (I’m another fan of Fage) or you can easily make your own, as I did. To do that, I strained my homemade yogurt by pouring (about 6 small jars) into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and allowed it to drain overnight in the refrigerator. Either way, it’s an easy dessert to make that is fairly low on the carbs but high on the flavah.
TURKISH YOGURT CAKE – YOĞURT TATLISI
from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque
INGREDIENTS: (6 servings)
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup (60g) superfine sugar
- 3 Tbl (40g) all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups (425g) strained Greek-style yogurt
- grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon ( I used Meyer lemons)
- juice of one lemon
Optional Orange Syrup:
- 2/3 cup (160mL) water
- 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
- 1 Tbl. (15mL) lemon juice
- grated zest of one unwaxed orange
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a thick, pale cream. Beat in the flour, then the yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice until it is thoroughly blended.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the yogurt mixture. Pour this into a round, nonstick baking tin (about 9 inches [22 cm] in diameter), greased with butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F° (175 C°) for 50-60 minutes, until the top is brown. It will puff up like a soufflé and then subside.
Turn out onto a serving plate, and serve warm or cold.
If you are making the syrup, boil the water with the sugar, lemon juice, and grated orange zest for 3-5 minutes. Let it cool, then chill in the refrigerator.