Corsican Cheesecake Recipe

Fiadone

Fiadone can be described as the Corsican cheesecake. Crustless and no more than an inch in thickness, it is prepared with one of the most famous specialties from l’Ile de Beauté, a fresh cheese called brocciu (I am told that this is pronounced “brooch”, not “bro-choo”), made with sheep’s milk and/or goat’s milk. Like all fresh cheeses, good artisanal specimens are instantly recognizable by their faint aromas of barn and hay, and brocciu in particular has a slightly curdled texture that makes it most pleasing.

Some cheese shops in Paris sell brocciu (sometimes labeled as brousse), but as these things go, I am sure the cream of the crop stays on the island. I shall have to go there and see for myself: Corsica is very high on my list of dream destinations, but the list gets longer by the year (I don’t understand: shouldn’t it get shorter, as I tick places off of it?).

Most of the fiadone recipes I’ve seen call for citrus zest and eau-de-vie (a spirit distilled from fruit juices) as a flavoring, but I have recently acquired a teeny bottle of violet essence from Christine Ferber’s shop — I was disillusioned to find out that this was the secret to her spectacular raspberry and violet jam, but laying my hands on the stuff made up for it — and I used it in the fiadone I made yesterday: we were celebrating my neighbor Patricia’s birthday, who loves cheesecakes and violets. This essence is astoundingly concentrated, and three drops were plenty to give the cake the flowery, acidulated tingle I wanted it to have, without drawing too much attention from the rounded cheese flavor.

I have seen some online debate about whether the egg whites should be beaten or simply added with the yolks to the batter, but I like the lightly moussy texture that beaten egg whites add to the cake, so this is the option I chose. Besides, my stand mixer gets upset if I don’t take it for a ride from time to time.

And if you don’t have access to Corsican brocciu, fret not: I have discussed the matter with my friend Estérelle, and we’ve reached the conclusion that you can substitute good ricotta, good cottage cheese, or a mix of the two. Just don’t call it a fiadone in front of a Corsican or it might get ugly.

Unrelated note: Not to brag or anything, but I thought I should let you know that I am leaving this weekend for Barcelona, to spend a few days in the city and have dinner at El Bulli. I hope I survive the gastronomic shock, the nitrogen lamb’s brain sorbet, and the taxi drive back down the mountain — wish me luck.

Fiadone

4 eggs
125 grams (6 tablespoons) sugar
500 grams (17.5 ounces) brocciu (substitute ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, or a mix of the two)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon eau-de-vie (I used 3 drops of violet essence)
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F). Grease a 25-cm (9-inch) round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Whisk the yolks with the sugar, add the cheese, and whisk until smooth. Add the zest and eau-de-vie, and whisk again.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Fold a third of the egg whites into the batter with a spatula, lifting the batter gently up and over the egg whites until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining egg whites.

Pour into the pan, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden and brown at the edges, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer on a rack, run a knife around to loosen, and let cool completely on the counter. Chill for at least an hour. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving, and serve directly from the pan.

  • gingerpale

    This kind of cheesecake is so simple and good! Violet flavoring, though, will definitely be something new.

    You must go to El Bulli twice–once for you, and once for us, with notes!

  • rainey

    Oooooo! I hope there will be lots of blogging about El Bulli. I look forward to your views on the substance of this interesting but mystifying approach to food.

    I hope the whole trip will be great fun.

  • http://chris.tessone.net/ Chris T.

    The partner I work for went to Corsica for vacation this summer and has been raving about it ever since. He and his family had a great time. So it comes highly recommended. :-)

  • Sharon

    Have you seen Pim’s photos from El Bulli? Amazing! I WISH I were in Europe too.

  • http://redinked.com Austen

    Oh, how wonderful to be able to go off to Barcelona for a few days. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Travel safely.
    I think I’m inspired to make this Corsican cheesecake tonight, sans the violet essence.

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com/ barbara

    Have a wonderful time in Barcelona. Looking forward to your view on El Bulli.

  • Neil

    My how I envy your travels. In this short time I have been following your blog you have been to more countries than I have been in my life. That’s the beauty of food. I have travled many places through the food and have enjoyed all of them. Although each culture has some dishes that don’t appeal to my tastes, they each have many more than do. When trying new restaurants from a foreign country I always try to meet the chef/owner and convince them that I am interested in the food of their culture. I am always surprised at how happy they are to introduce someone to the real food of the homeland and not the Americanized verzion.

    Enjoy your trip and DO take notes.

  • joan

    wait until I tell my son…El Bulli! a shade of green he will turn, and at the same time be happy as Larry for you:-) may I be a bird (hummingbird) on your shoulder? :-)))

  • http://www.vindetable.net Abi

    I can’t wait to read your report on El Bulli! My husband and I plan to dine at a restaurant tomorrow in Toronto where the chef was trained by Ferran Adria, but that won’t be the same. Enjoy your meal. Also if you have some time in Barcelona, I highly recommend the tapas bar Cal Pep in the Born neighbourhood – it’s a great dining experience in Barcelona. Enjoy your trip.

  • http://www.aminglingoftastes.com Julie

    I love hearing about food products that are identified so closely with a specific place. I’m sure ricotta would make a good cake, but I always long to try the real thing in the place it comes from. My list of destinations just keeps getting longer as well…

  • http://www.dessertfirst.typepad.com Anita

    Clotilde,
    I have never heard of fiadone – thanks for sharing!

    And of course, I am waiting with bated breath for your certain-to-be-riveting report on El Bulli!

  • http://www.annecuisine.com Anne

    how original. It sounds tasty. And we’ll all be waiting impatiently to hear what it was like at Il Bulli. Wow!

  • Vintage Wine

    It looks delicious!

    I agree with you, my list of countries to visit is always getting longer :-) But I think that`s a good thing, because it would be very boring if I didn`t have any new places to discover.

  • http://randomattentiondisorder.typepad.com cara

    if you must, try the fiadone with ricotta or another substitute. but then come on down to corsica and try the real thing. as far as corsican cheeses go, brocciu is definately one of the more palatable and absolutely delicious in fiadone. now if only i could find some real cream cheese on this island, i would be set.

  • http://www.runaenlotte.web-log.nl Kathleen

    Hiya,

    Corsica is really a beautiful island. Food related I don’t have many tips, since my husband and me went there for a survival and adventure “holiday” and did part of the GR20. But the river water is delicious :o). Mostly we were so hungry anything tasted good, even the pasta dishes in the refuges…, or to tired to care…
    I can just dream about it now, being a mum with 13 months old twins. Just like I can dream about all the wonderfull recepies here… Once I was an obsessed cook, I still am, but really making something sophisticated now: lack of time and energy…
    We are leaving for Perpignan next week,can’t wait to try some French food ;o)

    Anyway, great site!

    Kath, Belgium

  • Sirena

    Clotilde, I’ve been waiting for this for ages: my favorite food blogger going to my favorite restaurant “dream destination”! I can’t wait to hear about your El Bulli experience – I know you will make it as vivid and charming for us as you do all of your amazing culinary travails! Bonne chance :-)!

  • http://theflourroom.blogspot.com Alison

    Is the Corsican style as sweet as most American cheesecakes?

    I love to make exotic sounding dishes when in fact they are just basic to the region of origin. I don’t believe I have eaten anything with violet extract, maybe I can buy it on Amazon.com and experiment.

  • http://estouest.blog.lemonde.fr est ouest

    hey clotilde, I ‘ve been looking for Brocciu in Paris for the last two days and can’t find any, where did you find yours???? merci pour la recette

  • http://leatherdistrictgourmet.blogspot.com Jacqueline

    Sorry if this comment posts twice (my cat apparently wasn’t pleased with the first one!)

    Inspired use of violet. Wonder if this cake/pie is like “ricotta pie” I’ve had before? Maybe finer texture?

    I admire Adria and have offered my thoughts and been noted by Epicurious’ author in her blog, too. Love to hear your thoughts upon returning. Enjoy!
    http://leatherdistrictgourmet.blogspot.com

  • http://fidgetybudgie.typepad.com gaile

    oo, I hope you take pics of your dinner at El Bulli! I am green with envy, and can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • http://www.foodite.com gerald

    Have fun in Roses! Are you gonna check out Rafa’s as well?

  • http://www.pillowbox.blogs.com Ariana

    Wow! Enjoy El Bulli! I’m looking forward to reading your review.

    Bon appetit!

  • http://www.lapetitechinoise.com LPC

    Hi Clotide – Glad you like broccio (pronouced as bro-cho, a quick short “o” at the end). It’s called the poor man’s cheese in Corsica, as it’s quick to make and “blander” in taste. Broccio can be eaten in sweets (cakes) or savory (tarts) etc. Broccio can also be made into ice-cream. In Paris, you can get broccio from the Corsican stores in the 9th near Le Printemps.
    :-)
    Looking forward to reading about El Bulli soon! LPC

  • Jean-Paul

    Super week end. Vu en dernière page de “Libé” aujourd’hui.
    Je t’embrasse.
    Ton oncle Jean Paul

  • Margreet

    %(&%^%$^#%$# !!
    So, that’s of my chest!
    Not that I envy you…
    or actually, I do!
    Been trying for years now to get on the short list and enter El Bulli…
    Please be so kind to make notes??!?!?
    And tell us evertything (!!)
    Pleassse???

  • http://educatedandpoor.blogspot.com Miss Kitty

    Mmmmmmm! My word–that looks delicious.

    In case I can’t get violet essence, will high-quality rosewater do? I hope do.

  • http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/ Dianka

    I’m all about the moussy texture with the folded egg whites as well- makes such a difference! Looks delicious!

  • http://misskitty.tawath.com Teen

    Really delicious cake!

    Thank you ;-)

  • http://pmatthewsblog.blogspot.com/ Matthew

    You’re going to El Bulli! I am quite thrilled for you! And slightly envious. I look forward to reading about your experience.

  • Seb

    Usually, we don’t bake Fiadone with “eau de vie” or “acqua vita”, but it’s really great to eat this with.
    If you come to Corsican you can find the best Fiadone at the Casanova Pastry in Corté (they do it since 1887). I’m glad you like it and clotilde thumbs up for your blog.

  • Cristina

    If you don’t use fresh Brocciu ( only from january to july – otherwise it’s Brocciu muscioniu or passu)this isn’t a Fiadone but only a cheesecake. In the south of our island the same tart is called “Imbrucciata” and has a crust.

    Kind regards from Corsica
    Cristina

  • Glenda

    I had fiadone while I was in Corsica for my honeymoon last year. I think I’ll surprise my husband with this recipe one of these nights. Too bad we can’t get fresh Brocciu in San Francisco.

    Great job on the blog and best wishes!

  • Jenny

    Any idea where one can purchase violet essence on line?
    Thanks for the endless supply of great recipes, stories and inspirations!

  • Kate Gover

    I tried this yesterday with half cottage cheese and half ricotta but the end product had a very cottage cheesey texture. Very grainy and lumpy. It wasn’t very pleasant. Any tips?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kate – The curds of cottage cheese don’t dissolve when baked. If you dislike its texture, you can mix it with the ricotta in a food processor or blender to make it smooth.

  • http://www.deesdelite.com dee

    salut clotilde, gros merci pour ton site. Je l’adore! J’habite en etats-unis mais j’aime bcp le france et votre site est comme little bit of france pour moi:)I make and sell homebaked cheesecakes. To my fellow new yorkers in this group: if you ever crave a pie, drop me a message, would love to bake up one for you!!

Planning a trip to Paris?
Eat Your Books Recipe Index

Instagrams

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.