This fantastic dessert hails from the town of Santander in the far north region of Cantabria. The first time Lola made it for me I could not believe how light and savory it was. It's a bit of a cross between a cheese cake and flan. The addition of yogurt gives it a very light, almost tangy texture and it's incredibly easy to assemble.
Ingredients (serves 8-12 depending on serving portion):
-1 non-fat plain vanilla yogurt (6 ounces). I like Clover's organic "cream on top" vanilla yogurt.
-3 triangles of plain Laughing Cow Swiss cheese (comes in the round box). Lately I’ve been using the low calorie version
-12 ounces of whole milk
-8-10 ounces of brown sugar
-6 ounces of unbleached all purpose flour
-1 stick of unsalted butter
-Powdered sugar for garnishing when serving
In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients except the butter and powdered sugar. I like to add the yogurt first and then use the yogurt container to add and measure the other ingredients. So it’s really 2 yogurt containers of milk, slightly less than 2 of sugar and 1 yogurt container of flour. Just be sure the yogurt you buy is the 6 ounce version.
Use a hand blender to emulsify all of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Melt the stick of butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Pour the butter into a oven-safe baking dish. Next pour the butter into the mixing bowl but do not clean the baking dish. We want a thin film of butter to remain. Blend the ingredients together once more. Sprinkle a tablespoon of flour into the baking dish. This will help form a crust. Pour the entire mixture into the baking dish.
Place into a cold oven. Set the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for exactly 1 hour. Remove and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. The Quesada will keep for 5-7 days refrigerated. It’s also delicious to enjoy with afternoon tea or coffee! I serve with powdered sugar and sliced berries.
James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com