Cottage Cheese Casserole with Apples and Cashew
The most non-classic and tastiest cottage cheese casserole
Cottage Cheese Casserole is one of the most famous casseroles in Russia. It is something that all the kids get as an afternoon snack in the kinder garden. That recipe appeared in my family when I was just 9 months old and since then it has been my favorite one, even though it's far from the classic - cashew and marinated apples give it a nice texture, ginger provides spiciness, and lemon with vanilla add an amazing flavor. Some of the ingredients are marked as optional, skip them if you don't have it on hand, it won't affect the casserole much.
- 750 g apples (6 small or 3 big one),
- 1 lemon,
- 1 tbsp. (10 g) fresh ginger (optional),
- 50 g sugar ,
- 75 g raisins (optional),
- 4 eggs,
- 500 g small-curd cottage cheese,
- 50 g cashew (optional),
- 75 g semolina flour,
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder,
- 1 tsp. vanilla sugar,
- ½ tsp. salt,
- 75 g sugar ,
- butter to grease the cake tin.
- zest and juice a lemon and place zest and juice into big container,
- add 50 g of sugar  to the lemon juice and mix it,
- peel and grind ginger,
- place raisins in a strainer and pour boiling water over, you don't need to soak them,
- add raisins to the lemon juice,
- wash and peel apples,
- cut apples in half, remove the seeds and core and slice them,
- place apples in a lemon juice and mix carefully to avoid braking slices of apples,
- close container with a lid and let it set for at least 1 hour.
Cottage cheese mix:
- chop cashew,
- separate egg whites from yolks,
note: place egg whites into a big bowl and put it in the fridge - it's easier to whip cold egg whites,
- mix yolks with cottage cheese until smooth,
- add nuts, semolina flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar to the cottage cheese mix,
- whisk until blended.
Preparation for baking:
- grease a cake tin and line with the parchment paper,
- preheat the oven to 355° F (180° C).
- remove egg whites from the fridge, add salt and whisk eggs whites until soft peaks formed,
- add 75 g of sugar  and continue to whisk until all sugar dissolved,
note: the finer sugar particles - faster it will dissolve, so it will take less time to whip it, that's why lots of recipes are calling for powdered/castor sugar.
- mix ⅔ apples along with the liquid into a cottage cheese until it's fully incorporated,
- carefully add whipped egg whites using wooden spoon,
don't over mix otherwise you'll end up with a tough dessert,
- pour the batter in the cake tin,
- arrange the apple slices on top of the batter in overlapping circle, pressing lightly into the batter.
Baking and serving:
- place the cake tin into the oven and bake until the casserole is slightly golden (about 45 minutes), it should be still jiggly but not soupy,
note: if at some point you notice that it starts burning - cover it with a foil, you don't need to wrap it, just place foil on top,
- once done, remove it from the oven and cool for about 1 hour before removing from the tin,
- better to serve warm:
- if you cooked it without cashew, ginger and raisins, better to serve with sour cream or mascarpone, it will enrich the flavor and add even more creaminess,
- if you used all the ingredients - serve with natural yogurt to balance out the intense flavor.
Cottage cheese casserole can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 days and can be reheated in the oven before serving.
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