Grandma's Ostakaka

This is my grandma Esther's recipe for Ostakaka (Ost = cheese, kaka = cake), a custard from her Swedish family (*) and one of Dad's favorites. It's not vegan, but I'm blogging it for posterity (and I may try to make it for Dad some day.) This recipe is similar. Another favorite dessert recipe is grandma's lemon meringue pie.

1/6/17 Update: Cliff and Kathy gave us ostakaka from Nelson Food Pride during my trip to NE. (Nelson, like grandma!) Kathy makes it every Christmas, but it's an all day, error-prone affair, so they bought it this year. Just in time, phew! Dad loved it with jam. Not too sweet. And much easier than making it :)

12/29/20 Update: Lisa Nelson Callihan says there is a cheat way to make it!!!  Use cottage cheese instead of milk and rennet tablets. Use the 4% milkfat cottage cheese if you can find it.

1 gallon whole milk, non-homogenized (may have to get it from a dairy)
2 T flour
1/8 t salt
1/2 C suger
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla
rennet tablet (not old; may not work)

cinnamon and nutmeg to sprinkle on top
lingonberry or strawberry jam/preserves

Warm the milk in a big pot, just to lukewarm. Mix flour with 1/2 cup milk to make a thin paste. Add it to the warm milk, stirring well. Add dissolved rennet tablet, stirring well. Let set until clabbered [thickened or curdled, about 1 hour.] Stir it and take off the whey [the yellow, translucent liquid] as it comes to the top [or drain it off using a colander lined with cheesecloth]. Add beaten eggs, sugar, cream, salt, and vanilla. Bake 1 1/2 hours in 325 degree oven.

Cool. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Serve with preserves.

(*) Larry and I visited Sweden in 2001, and in our travelogue we wrote: “Our lunchtime cafe's menu offers "oustakake", which turns out to be, literally, "cheesecake". Patti has an epiphany that her grandmother's custard "oustakake" was in fact a kind of cheesecake. The guides at Skansen said that the prestige item at a country smorgasbord (a potluck table of sandwiches and other food at a wedding or whatever) was that each Swedish family would bring their own particular type of cheesecake for the smorgasbord. Apparently Patti's family was the runny, custard-kind of family.” :)

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