The Sformado di Formaggio or Cheese Flan
This a simple but delicious recipe from the Siena area where my Grandparent’s and my Father were born in the charming little hamlet of Montefollonico.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ⅓ cups milk – whole, room temp
- freshly grated nutmeg – to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- ½ cup flour
- 3 eggs
- ½ lb sheep’s milk cheese – like Swiss or your favorite, grated reserve 2 tbs
- 2 tbs butter – unsalted
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Grease a 5-cup mold (I use a glass loaf pan) with the 2 tablespoons of butter and dust completely with the reserved 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Carefully pour in the cheese mixture.
- Place the mold in a baking dish and in a medium saucepan over moderate heat warm the olive oil.
- Slowly add the flour stirring and cook continuously stirring until all the flour has absorbed the oil and is smooth. When this is done, gradually add the milk, continually stirring over low heat until you have a smooth creamy sauce.
- Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Add the eggs, beaten, one at a time to the sauce stirring in very well after each addition until you see no trace of egg.
- Season with salt and freshly grated black pepper and mix in the nutmeg.
- Fill with hot water to a depth of about 1 ½-inch.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour or until the top is golden.
- Remove the mold from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the mold and then carefully turn out onto a serving plate.
NOTE: This seems like a very plain dish, but it is rich and makes a great side dish to a large dinner salad or just with some salumi and crudites on a charcuterie board. You can also get inventive and add a few things to the cheese mixture such as a little cooked pancetta, minced salami or even some green olives that would make a pretty picture in each slice.