Cottage cheese is another dairy product that adds flavor and the necessary fat for flakiness and tenderness to baked goods. Its unique curds can provide interesting texture to pastry dough, providing small bumps that brown beautifully in the oven.
Cottage cheese is a fresh, moist, mild cheese that features small, dense curds.
Commercial cottage cheese is available in nonfat, low-fat (1 percent milkfat) and whole (4 percent milkfat) varieties. It is usually made from nonfat milk to produce nonfat curds. However, manufacturers add some cream to nonfat curds to make “creamed cottage cheese,” which contains at least 4 percent milkfat. Cottage cheese is commonly available in 8-ounce, 16-ounce and 32-ounce containers.
In baking, baker’s cheese, ricotta and farmer’s cheese will yield the closest results. The texture of these cheeses is grainy, without noticeable curds, but the water content is similar to cottage cheese. Sour cream, crème fraîche and yogurt can be substituted for cottage cheese in a recipe. Cream cheese can be substituted in a recipe where cottage cheese is processed until smooth.
- Coeur à la Crème, an easy, classic French no-bake dessert: Beat in a large bowl or process in a food processor 1 pound each cottage cheese and cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups heavy cream gradually, beating or processing until smooth. Line a heart-shaped, Coeur à la Crème mold (a special mold that features perforations in the bottom to allow draining), basket or large sieve with cheesecloth and pack cheese mixture in it. Set on plate or bowl larger than the mold and refrigerate overnight to allow whey to drain off. Unmold onto serving plate. Serve with sweet fresh strawberries, cherries or grapes.
- To make a homemade version of Fromage Blanc with herbs, blend in a large bowl 1 pound small-curd cottage cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons each finely chopped chives, parsley and chervil; add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate. Great with crusty French or Italian bread.