Ostakaka Wine Pairing and Recipe
We love Ostakaka and certainly wine. We tried 4 wine pairings after making Grandma’s recipe. Find out which one was the winner.
Within an hour of our house, we can satisfy a craving for almost any ethnic food — Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Thai, Spanish, Afghan, Indian, Vietnamese, German, Salvadoran, Brazilian, French . . . you get the idea.
Inconspicuously absent from that list, though, is Scandinavian food, which means no Ostakaka whenever your craving strikes.
My husband says this is because the world has spoken . . . and Scandinavian food isn’t that great.
He makes an exception for Swedish Fish.
Well, for sure no one is ordering any Lutefisk take-out. And I’d have to be pretty hungry before I’d dig into a can of Surströmming (fermented herring). Why this never surged to the top of the World’s Most Popular Snack Foods list is a real mystery.
And the last time I was in Sweden, I accidentally ate a reindeer. I thought I was eating summer sausage. Until my dad asked, “How’s Rudolf?” And then I connected those dots. Seriously?!? Several thousand dollars in therapy later . . .
I’m not doing much to counter my husband’s brazen attack on the culinary traditions of my people. Wait. I’ve got it! We have IKEA within an hour of our house! And IKEA has meatballs . . . and lingonberries.
Meatballs and lingonberries are outstanding ambassadors of Scandinavian food. And let’s not forget about Swedish Pancakes. Who doesn’t like Swedish Pancakes?!?
And that brings me to the Ostakaka.
Harbinger of Christmas Joy
OK, so it’s more of a Haiku than an Ode. I never had much love for poetry, anyway.
As long as there’s Ostakaka, you’ll never convince me Scandinavian food sucks (but the Vikings can keep their fermented herring and Rudolf sausage).
What Is Ostakaka?
So what the heck is Ostakaka? Ostakaka is a Swedish almond-flavored cheesecake with an unfortunate name.
Sounds delicious right?
In Swedish, kaka means cake. It doesn’t mean caca. But try convincing others. They insist nothing with the word kaka in its name can possibly be good.
Haters to the left.
Technically, Ostakaka is more of a cross between a cheesecake and a custard. It’s not quite cheesecake, and it’s not really custard. And it does have an unusual texture — think cottage cheese mixed with flan.
Traditionally, Ostakaka is served at Christmastime, but I’ve been known to preempt Christmas and make it for Thanksgiving. And Ostakaka is almost always served with lingonberries, the official mascot of Sweden.
My Grandma Ruby made the best Ostakaka. Grandma Ruby lived on a farm in rural Nebraska. She used eggs fresh from the hens, and she made her own “cheese” with rennet tablets, straining the mixture for hours over bowls covered with cheesecloth. It was an epic process.
Here is Grandma Ruby’s recipe for Ostakaka, written in her own hand. Old, handwritten recipe cards make me happy. Talk about an endangered species.
Fast-forward to today. I don’t live on a farm. I don’t have hens. So I have a shortcut recipe for Ostakaka:
1 container large curd cottage cheese (16 oz)
3 eggs, well-beaten
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons flour, mixed with cold water to blend
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
Beat eggs, sugar, half & half, salt, vanilla and almond extract. Add flour & water mixture and blend. Stir in cottage cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until set and slightly browned and bubbly on top. Serve with lingonberries.
It can be difficult to get guests to try Ostakaka. Even some foodies won’t eat it due to the texture. Maybe you can entice them to eat your Ostakaka
if you have a little wine pairing experiment.
Ostakaka Wine Pairing
Admittedly, Ostakaka and lingonberries is a bit of a pairing paradox. The Ostakaka is creamy and sweet, and the lingonberries (or sub strawberries) are tart. They play well off each other . . . but will they play well with wine??
Ostakaka Wine Pairing: Mon Ami Vidal Blanc Ice Wine 2010
I picked this up at the winery on a visit to my folks’ house last summer. It’s no Inniskillin, but it’s not bad. Decent splash of acidity to balance the sweetness. Not a disaster with the Ostakaka, but no wow moment, either.
Ostakaka Wine Pairing: Rinaldi Bug Juice Moscato d’Asti 2011
Moscato d’Asti has its place it’s just not with Ostakaka. The Ostakaka turned the wine almost sour, and the back end morphed into a weird mineral-metallic finish. Not pleasant. It’s a no.
Ostakaka Wine Pairing: Chateau Doisy Vedrines Sauternes 2005
Easily the best solo dessert wine of the group, and my favorite with the Ostakaka. Tastes like someone drizzled honey over warm peaches. Lovely structure and finish.
Ostakaka Wine Pairing: Banfi Brachetto d’Acqui Rosa Regale 2011
A pretty wine, slightly sweet and bubbly. Not especially complex. Gave some balance to the lingonberries, not so much to the Ostakaka. I think this would have been far better with chocolate covered strawberries.
Ostakaka Final Wine Pairing Notes
Overall, I’m underwhelmed by three of the four wine pairings. None of them blew my socks off. I think a port would have blown the socks. But the clear winner of this pairing was the Mon Ami Vidal Blanc Ice Wine 2010.