Fiadone Corsican Cheesecake – or Corsican Ricotta Cake
As soon as the temperature drops in Autumn and the first, fresh Brocciu cheese appears at our local market, I love to celebrate its arrival by making a Fiadone Corsican Cheesecake. Antoine’s Corsican family, like many on the Ile de Beauté, serves the Corsican classic Fiadone in the winter and spring months. It’s a typical family dessert with the main ingredient being Brocciu cheese – although if you can’t find Brocciu, it can be replaced by a good salty ricotta to make it a Corsican Ricotta Cake.
Brocciu Corsican Cheese
Brocciu (pronounced Brotchiou, more often Brooch) is the only Corsican cheese that is certified with AOC (controlled designation of origin) and AOP (protected designation of origin, the European equivalent) labels. It’s also the only French AOC cheese made from whey. According to the Corsican Agricultural and Rural Development agency, Brocciu is not to be confused with Brousse, since its AOC status has to contain at least 40% fat; if it has any less, it’s called Brousse. If Brocciu is left to age slightly and has added salt, this is used for savoury dishes, many of which I’ll post for you soon.
As with all Corsican cheeses, Brocciu is made from goat or sheep’s milk – or both – but it’s a unique delicately fragranced curd cheese. Produced only between November and May/June when milk is at its richest, it’s usually served very fresh on its own for dessert, with a sprinkling of sugar and a splash of Corsican myrtle Eau de Vie liqueur – although my mother-in-law, Madeleine, prefers to serve it with a spoonful of fig jam.
Brocciu Cheese Substitutes
It’s difficult to find fresh Brocciu cheese, I know. As it resembles an Italian Ricotta, you could use Ricotta instead (don’t use cottage cheese as this is too lumpy). The saltier the ricotta cheese is, the better – and you have simply a Corsican Ricotta Cake.
One Corsican chef in Calvi (who was kind enough to let me in to his kitchen and chat about the recipes) even suggested I use Faisselle soft cheese for Fiadone, easily available in French supermarkets; it’s good but, as it’s made with cow’s milk, the taste isn’t quite the same! The best substitute for Brocciu is a really fresh good quality goat’s cheese. There’s nothing to beat Brocciu but we have to do the best we can, right?
Fiadone Corsican Cheesecake
Fiadone is popular in all Corsican patisseries but perhaps more in the central town of Corte, where it is said to originate, not far from our family’s home up in the hills – hidden from the Citadel. Although we call this a Corsican cheesecake, the Fiadone doesn’t have a biscuit base. Some patisseries serve it in individual pastry cases, called Imbrucciate. Like its name suggests, the Fiadone resembles a flan with 5 simple ingredients: brocciu cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and a touch of Eau de Vie liqueur.
This has to be the most LAZIEST CHEESECAKE on the planet, it’s so easy. It doesn’t look much on the simple ingredient list and the photos never do it justice – but take a bite and you’ll discover that there’s never enough. Here I said for 6 servings but we had it between three today and it just disappeared at teatime. Now I have to make more, as Antoine also loves this for breakfast.
The Traditional Corsican Fiadone Recipe
This recipe is such a classic that I certainly can’t claim to owning a typical recipe – but my own twist to this family dessert is a slight reduction in sugar (as much as I dare without affecting the taste) and replacing the lemon with lime. It may sound like no big deal, but serve this using lime to my Corsican family and it’s like I’ve completely derailed – but Antoine prefers it this way and so I’m sticking with it! Don’t even think of adding anything else but citrus to this, otherwise it won’t be a Fiadone. My other tip is not to beat the mixture too much, otherwise it will rise more like a soufflé and break, which is less visually appealing.