If there is one recipe you make from Turkey: Recipes and Tales from the Road by Leanne Kitchen, it has to be this one.
This book, although pure food porn, also has some amazing recipes that really show us that there's more to Turkish cuisine than pide and adana. The pictures (and the stories!) are colourful and vibrant, with a sort of rustic charm that really makes me want to visit Turkey.
This pie is decadent and sweet, with a super crispy filo crust encasing a silky smooth ricotta mixture, flavoured delicately with lemon and vanilla. The oven poached quince lends its unique flavour and sweetness to the dish, matching it perfectly and making everyone reach for seconds.
Sweet Cheese Pie with Oven-Poached Quince
*Adapted from Turkey: Recipes and Tales from the Road by Leanne Kitchen
Sweet Cheese Pie
220g caster sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
700g firm fresh ricotta cheese
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 1/2 tbs icing sugar
125 mL pouring cream
1 1/2 tbs sifted plain flour
8 sheets filo pastry
125g melted butter
3 quinces, peeled, cored and halved
330g caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
625 mL boiling water
1. For the oven-poached quince, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Arrange the quince halves in a high-edged baking tray in a single layer, and scatter over the sugar. Pour over the boiling water, add the cinnamon sticks , then cover the dish with aluminium foil and cook for 45 minutes.
2. Turn the quince halves over and cook for a further 45 minutes, until the quince halves are tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the syrup. Cut the quince into wedges to serve, retaining the syrup.
3. For the pie, combine the caster sugar with the water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Leave to cool.
4. Process the ricotta, vanilla seeds, eggs, lemon juice mixture and icing sugar in a food processor until smooth. Add the cream and pulse until just combined. Add the flour and pulse until smooth, then set mixture aside.
5. Brush a 24cm round baking dish with melted butter. Place a sheet of filo pastry in the base of the dish and brush liberally with butter (keep the remaining filo sheets under a damp tea towel to prevent it drying out). Repeat with the rest of the filo pastry, placing each sheet at an angle so that the overhang evenly lines the dish.
6. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the pastry case, and fold the overhanging pastry over the filling to cover. Tear up a leftover sheet of filo pastry and scrunch up the pieces to fill in any gaps in the middle of the pie. Bake the pie in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, or until golden and slightly puffed. Remove from the oven.
7. Spoon the reserved quince syrup over the top of the pie, then leave to cool to room temperature. Cut the pie into slices and serve with the quince on the side.