Küchen de Quesillo

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Chilean Cheesecake

In Chile, pies and tarts are called küchen, simply because the bakeries which originally  sold these items were German, and are traditional in the German households. We could call this a cheesecake, but cheesecake is technically neither a cake nor a pie, but a custard.

This recipe uses Chilean quesillo, but you can substitute Schmierkäse(what the Germans use for this küchen), or Neufchâtel, or a Mexican fresh cheese such as queso fresco or panela, or, if you live in Tulsa, 1½ cups of ricotta and ½ cup of heavy cream.

In the U.S., cheesecake is made with cream cheese, which is slightly more ripened and thus tangier than those listed above. Cream cheese was invented by accident in New York in 1880, when a cheesemaker tried to create a duplicate of Neufchâtel.

This pastry is traditionally served at tea-time, German-style with fresh raspberries or blackberries.

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Küchen de Quesillo

Chilean Cheesecake

*Makes 1 pie or 2 tarts*

CRUST
2 c (280 g) all-purpose flour
½ c (120 g) (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
¼ c (35 g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ t baking powder
pinch salt
1 T (approx.) ice water

Place all ingredients except ice water in food processor and process briefly, adding water as necessary to form into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

FILLING
¾ c (100 g) golden raisins, soaked in hot water or rum, drained 2 large eggs, separated
2 T heavy cream
2 T flour (or cornstarch)
1 c (140 g) powdered sugar
2 c (500 g) quesillo or queso fresco
½ t vanilla extract

Place the cheese and cream in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more cream as necessary for a smooth consistency. Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in the raisins, egg yolks, flour (or cornstarch), powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites to a stiff peak and fold into the cheese mixture.

ASSEMBLY AND BAKING
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9-inch springform pan (or two tart plates). Roll out the dough and line the pan (or plates). Pour in the cheese mixture. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the lower third of the oven. Check after about 40 minutes and cover loosely with aluminum foil if top is getting too brown.

Serve warm or chilled.