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A British recipe which travelled to New Zealand with at least three of its regional variations intact. The unchanging part is the small pastry
cases baked with a light filling and often with a thin strip of pastry on top of that. Demonstrated at the 2011 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
How To Make Your Own Fresh Curd Cheese:
Gently warm 600ml milk for about a minute. It should feel just luke-warm to your finger and measure around 43°C.
Mix in ½ tsp rennet – the kind used for making junket. Leave it in the saucepan on the bench. After about 20 minutes it will look the same, but if you carefully tilt the pot the milk will pull away from the side of the pan.
Spoon it out carefully into a muslin-lined sieve over a bowl, cover and leave to drain overnight in the fridge. You will have about one cup of curd cheese and the whey which drains out is very good for mixing scones.
Push the curd cheese through a sieve before using it in baking.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Soften the butter and take the egg out of the fridge.
Roll the pastry out thinly, to about 3mm thick, cut into circles and line twelve ungreased patty pans. If you re-roll the scraps, make sure you lay them on top of each other, don’t bunch them into a ball or you will lose your flaky layers. Chill the pastry cases while you make the filling.
Cream together the butter and sugar, and mix with the sieved curd cheese, then add the beaten egg and the other ingredients.
Put a dessert spoon of filling into each case and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
The filling will puff up and then sink again when you remove them from the oven. (If you have any filling left over, bake it in a little dish and eat it later – cook’s treat). Serve at room temperature.
Makes 12 – 15 cheesecakes, depending on the size of your tins.
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