It’s boring and banal to complain about how busy you are, but that’s my excuse for not updating. I haven’t cooked anything blog-worthy in weeks. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to bake a zapekanka, my latest farmer's cheese creation. I’m surprised that I’ve never blogged about zapekanka; it’s one of the quickest and easiest Russian desserts. Zapekanka really refers to any kind of baked pudding. There’s carrot zapekanka, rice zapekanka, and so on, but the most common type of zapekanka is made of farmer’s cheese. Think of it as crustless cheesecake.
I Americanized this version by adding pumpkin, being fall and all. You could substitute ricotta for the farmer’s cheese and make a sort of cheesecake. A pastry or cookie crust or shell would also work nicely in this recipe should you want to Americanize it further.
The ingredients aren’t exact; I eyed everything. My zapekanka suffered a little thanks to inexact measuring—I used too many wet ingredients, so the cake was soggy. Still, I think pumpkin zapekanka is a good idea, even if I didn't carry it to fruition.
I mixed two cups of farmer’s cheese with two egg yolks. Then I added one at a time: a cup of canned pumpkin, 4-5 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 4-5 tablespoons uncooked cream of wheat (not instant),1 tablespoon melted butter, a couple of handfuls of walnuts and raisins, and a good dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. I beat the egg whites separately before adding at the end. I baked the whole thing in a 375-degree oven for 50-60 minutes.