New Year’s Cheese Pie

When I was a child, my grandmother and my mother would bake each year on this day our New Year’s fortune pie. Only recently in my ethnological pursuits I found out this was customary for the entire region where I was born, as part of the time renewal ritual practices. People would bake a sweet bread where they would hide a silver coin and whoever found it would be lucky the year to come. In time this sweet bread was replaced by a sweet cheese pie.

2017 was a very challenging year for me on many levels, some of which I did not like at all. It started with me being hospitalized and undergoing surgery for internal bleeding and going through something which at the time I thought was near death. And it kind of ends with me being sick with a nasty cold for weeks …talking about ciclicity.

So for the next year I decided that fate needs a little push sometimes, so I revived my family’s New Year fortune pie for good omen and also for the fun of it. I replaced the silver coin with fortune messages, things that will happen or that the beholder should do the next year so he or she would have a lucky year.

Some people eat grapes or wear red on this day. I also remember that we’d always have fish as a main course because it was considered lucky while poultry was avoided because it would have made people wasteful for the rest of the year. Renewals come with a degree of uncertainty, so we all need a prop sometimes to help us embrace this uncertainty and the passage of time and dwell on the positive.

May fate be kind to you in 2018 and may all of us be kinder to each other and more conscious of the amazing planet we live on!

P.S.: Here is the recipe for who’s interested in influencing his fate  by ritual cooking.

For the dough: 500g flour, 250 ml milk, 100 g softened butter, 1tsp salt, 25 fresh yeast.
For the cheese filling: 750 g Serac cheese or another fresh white cheese (not salted), 3 eggs, 100 g sugar, 200 ml whipped cream, rind of 1 lemon, a dash of rum essence and 2 p vanilla sugar

Knead a leavened dough, similar to the bread or pizza dough and let it rise for about an hour. Mix all the ingredients for the cheese filling. Divide the dough in 4 and spread each part in very thin sheets the size of the oven tray. Place the first sheet on the paper lined tray, add first layer of cheese, add the next sheet of dough and the second layer of cheese. Now’s the time to place the fortune messages directly on the cheese filling.

Place 3rd sheet of dough, spread last layer of cheese filling and top with the 4th sheet of dough. Coat with beaten egg and bake for 40 min at 190 C. Powder with icing sugar before serving.

Good luck!

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