Cheese Sponges in Syrup

Peynir tatlısı

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These delectable sweet sponges should be made with unsalted beyaz peynir or köy peyniri, which could be replaced with feta or ricotta. If you use a salty cheese, omit the teaspoon of salt in the recipe. There is no rule as to the shape or size.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz/120 g plain flour
  • 1 oz/30 g icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 oz/60 g butter
  • 3 oz/90 g white cheese, crumbled or mashed
  • 1 egg

For the syrup

  • 8 oz/225 g sugar
  • 8 fl oz/250 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind, finely shredded

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F/Mark 6/200C
  • Make the syrup: put the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Put aside.
  • Grease a medium-sized baking tin. Sift the flour, icing sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a hollow in the centre and drop in the cheese and the egg. Draw the flour over the cheese and egg and knead into a sticky dough.
  • Rinse the sticky dough off your hands but keep them damp to mould small portions of the dough into balls or other shapes, and place them at intervals in the prepared baking tin. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Heat up the syrup and pour it over the sponges. Return them to the oven for 2-3 minutes, take them out once more and baste with the syrup, then return them to the oven for a final 2-3 minutes. Leave them to cool in the baking tin. (The syrup vanishes rapidly as the sponges soak it up.)
  • These cheese sponges are best eaten fresh and moist, with or without kaymak. If you make masses of them to a last a few days, they can easily be re-moistened with a little extra syrup and put in the oven for 5 minutes.
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