Other people’s grandmothers always seemed so special to me as a child. There was something sacred, something intensely private about hearing my friends address their grandmother with their own special name, whether it was Mamie, Meme, or Grand-Mere. Witnessing their interaction was like peeping into a keyhole at their thrillingly different family traditions.
Occasionally, I was invited after school to have ” le gouter” with the grandmother of my neighbors. She lived in a large apartment near the Bois de Boulogne and always served the same snack: Gjetost cheese sliced into thin curlicues onto dry Norwegian crackers. My friends were thrilled whenever she deviated from the routine, but I was crushed. I loved the sweet goat cheese with its strong caramel flavor, and chomped through the dry crackers with enthusiasm, impatient to fill my mouth with the tang of Gjetost which my mother never served at home.
If you’ve never tried Gjtetost, which can be found in many supermarkets here in the States, go out and hunt it down immediately. Gjetost is a Norwegian cheese made from a blend of cow and goat’s milk, by boiling the whey and milk until it caramelizes and forms a fudge-like caramel brown paste which is then cut into rind-less blocks. It’s sticky like peanut butter, sweet, and incredibly delicious on fruit, veggies, crackers, or on its own. Rather than try to pronounce “yay-toast,” my kids call it peanut butter cheese and each have their own block in the fridge.
In addition to being a protein-rich snack for the kids (and me!), Gjetost is also a great mystery baking ingredient. I recently used it to make a Gjetost Sour Cream Peach Pie for my book club and everyone raved about its deep not to sweet caramel flavor. It would also be delicious with apples.
Recipe: Sour Cream Gjetost Peach Pie
Summary: Gjetost is my secret ingredient in this delicious pie. It adds a not-to-sweet caramel taste.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 8 tbsps (1 stick) of butter
- 2 to 3 tbsps cold water
- 6 cups sliced, peeled peaches or apples
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 ounces Norwegian Gjetost cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 tbsp (2.5 oz) unsalted butter, chilled
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse 2 or 3 times quickly to mix.
- Cut the butter into 1 tbsp pieces and add to food processor. Pulse over and over again very quickly until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. You should not be able to see any more large pieces of butter.
- Scatter 1 tablespoon of tap water on the butter and flour mixture and pulse 5 to 6 times. The dough should begin to hold together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Remove the dough from the food processor. In your hands, roll it into a uniform ball. Place it on a silpat or countertop sprinkled with flour and roll it out with a floured rolling pin. Then press it and shape it into a greased pie pan.
- Blend the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour together in a large bowl. Add the peaches (or apples!) and toss to coat well.
- Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with about 1/3 of the grated gjetost.
- Add about 1/2 of the fruit mixture and spread evenly.
- Top another 1/3 of the cheese, leaving the remaining 1/3 for the last 2 minutes of baking.
- Top with the remaining peaches.
- Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, shielding the edges of the crust with foil as soon as they turn golden brown.
- While the pie is cooking, make the streusel topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse 30 seconds to 1 minute, until combined coarsely.
- Crumble the streusel topping over the top of the hot pie. Put back in the oven for another 15 minutes to brown the streusel topping.
- Serve hot with ice cream.
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