Fiadone (Gâteau à la Brousse)

Corsican Cheesecake with Caramel

Brousse, or the Corsican equivalent Broccio, was made by boiling goat or ewe’s milk & adding strong white vinegar, causing the milk to curdle instantly. The Brousse vendors used to come from the small town of Rove, with big wicker platters of the fresh cheeses slung around their necks. Their cry of ‘Brousse, Brousse de Rove’, & the toot of their trumpets, was known up & down the streets of Marseilles. Certain gourmets on the old port considered that they used to reserve one Brousse each before beginning dinner, for fear that there would be none left by dessert. A few Brousse vendors still sell the real ewe’s milk cheese in Marseilles’ markets, but except in Corsica it is now usually made of cow’s milk & sold in plastic colanders.

Ingredients

Caramel Sauce

  • 3 oz/75 g caster sugar
  • 4 fl oz/100 ml water
  • 4 oz/100 g caster sugar
  • 3 fl oz/75 ml milk
  • 12 oz/350 g brousse cheese (ricotta or similar dry soft curd cheese will do) crushed with a fork
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 6 eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 325°F/100°C/gas 3. Caramellize a 7 in x 3 in/180 mm x 75 mm (approximate) cake tin by heating the sugar and water together over medium heat. Once the syrup has reached boiling point do not stir but continue to let it boil gently until it turns golden brown, then swirl the caramel round so it coats the sides of the tin. To make the cake, heat the remaining sugar in the milk until just under boiling. Get cool. Stir little by little into the cheese, blending well. Add the lemon zest, then beat in the eggs, one by one. Pour this into the caramellized cake tin & stand it in a pan of hot water. (The water should come half way up the cake tin.) Bake for 1 hour (or until set) in the oven. Tip the cake upside down onto a dish. If the caramel sauce does not come out with it, heat another tablespoon of water in the tin until the remaining caramel dissolves. Pour this over the cake and serve with chilled Beaumes-de-Venise or Corsican muscat.