Malai - Romanian Polenta Cake

     Welcome to this weeks From Our Dinner Table. This week we are posting Cheesy recipes. In some ways it was a tough call, I really, really, REALLY, like cheese. One of my favorite cheese recipes is a sweet cheese recipe, a middle eastern classic called knafeh. It's a crisp, buttery, pastry filled with a sweet stretchy cheese and topped with an orange blossom water sugar syrup. Some of my favorite savory cheese recipes are German Cheesy Leek Soup. Delicious leeks in a pork and cheese broth is perfect for any time of the year and always welcome. Raclette is another delicious favorite. A Swiss cheese melted and poured over boiled potatoes, bread, ham, pickles, veggies, really anything you want. 

     But I want to go back to some of the ways to use cheese in sweet recipes. In this instance, a Romanian Jewish dish typically made around Shavuot. Shavuot is known as the "Feast of Weeks" and is celebrated after sundown on the 5th day of Sivan, usually around mid May on the Gregorian calendar, and goes for 2 days. The Feast of Weeks is held 50 days after the second day of Pesach (Passover) and commemorates the Jewish people receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai. One of the ways the chag (holiday) is celebrated is with the eating of dairy. Cheese plates and most importantly, cheesecake are common Shavuot menu items. In Romanian, that includes this delicious corn cake with an almost cheesecake like filling. It is traditionally served with sweetened sour cream and jam.  

Get More Cheesy Recipes:

Malai Recipe
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. finely ground cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar
1/4. honey
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. buttermilk
2 eggs

Sour cream
Fresh Berries

1 c. cottage cheese
4 oz. quark or yogurt
1 egg
1/4 c. sugar
2 lemons, zested

In a high powered blender combine the cottage cheese, quark, egg, sugar, and lemon zest. Blend until smooth. Set aside. 

Combine the honey, melted butter, salt, buttermilk, and eggs. Beat until well mixed. Sprinkle the cornmeal over the top and then add the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mix well to combine. 

Spread half the corn mixture on the bottom of a well greased 8x8 in. glass pan. Pour in the cheese mixture and then gently spoon the cornbread mixture over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until browned on top. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve with sweetened sour cream, jam, and fresh berries. 


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