Originating on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, this cheesecake is called Flaó, and is thought to have been created during the reign of King Jaume I. It is a very popular cheesecake and many tourists who visit the islands return to their homes carrying one.
The cheesecake is an unique combination of flavors - anise and mint. The crust, which is peppered with anise seeds and kept moist with anise liqueur is pressed into a tart pan or springform pan. The filling is made from fresh cheese (or ricotta and mascarpone), eggs and chopped mint. Once baked, the top is sprinkled liberally with granulated sugar.
Prep Time: 20áminutes
Cook Time: 55áminutes
Total Time: 1áhour, 15áminutes
Yield: 6-8 Servings
- 1 oz (30 gr) granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp (25 gr) vegetable shortening
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 oz (29 ml) anise liqueur
- 1 1/2 tsp anise seeds
- 1 2/3 cup - 2 cups (200-250 gr) all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups (250 gr) granulated sugar
- 1 lb (500 gr) Spanish queso fresco (see substitution note below)
- 2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
- 6 whole mint leaves for decoration
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar for topping
Substitution: In Spain, use queso fresco de Burgos. In the USA, this type of fresh cheese is not readily available, so substitute the following - 1 1/2 cups (350 gr) ricotta cheese and 5/8 cup (150 gr) mascarpone cheese.
Heat oven to 360F (180C) degrees.
First, make the crust. Put sugar and shortening into a medium size mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Beat egg in a separate bowl, then add to the sugar-shortening mixture, and beat well. Add oil, lemon zest, salt and liqueur and mix well. Gradually add 1 cup flour while mixing with a large spoon until entire cup is mixed in. If dough is too moist or runny, continue adding flour a bit at a time until the dough is a soft consistency.
Form dough into a ball, and place it on parchment or waxed paper. Roll out dough until it is approximately 9 1/2 to 10 inches in diameter. Grease the pan with vegetable shortening and press dough into it. Use a 8 1/2-inch (22 cm) fluted French tart pan, or springform pan of the same size.
Prepare the filling. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a medium size mixing bowl. Add cheese and beat until smooth. Finely chop the mint leave and stir into filling. (Do not beat mint leaves with an electric mixer, or filling may turn green.) Place the whole mint leaves around the outside for decoration.
Pour filling into crust and bake in center rack of oven for 45-60 minutes. Cheese should be turn a golden color. Remove and sprinkle top with a coating of granulated sugar.
Cool on counter, then refrigerate until ready to serve.