Home SweetsPies and Cheesecakes Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins – Branzoaice

Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins – Branzoaice

by Adina 24/06/2017 13 comments

Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies – Branzoaice

Sweet Cheese Pie, Branzoaice or Poale-n brau: this is a Moldavian sweet cheese pie recipe made with cottage cheese and raisins, so good you will not be able to stop at only one piece.

sweet cheese pie moldovan Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   Branzoaice

Like the Moldavian Yeast Pastries – Mucenici and the Romanian Cheese Pie, these Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies are another staple in the Moldavian or Moldovan cuisine. They are utterly anchored in the Moldavian food tradition, but so good that just about anybody in Romania has heard of them and tasted them at one point or another.

The names of these cheese pies are rather strange: Branzoaice, roughly translated Cheesies or Poale-n brau, roughly translated – Laps in the girdle. While it is obvious why these pies should be called Cheesies, they are filled with cheese after all, I really could not understand why Poale- brau, I am not even sure if translating that with laps in the girdle makes any sense whatsoever in English, girdle is a word I haven’t even heard before …

However, I got curious and googled this strange Romanian name for a recipe. And I found out that it originates in a habit that peasant women in Moldova had of stuffing the corners of their aprons in the girdle to make sure that it wouldn’t get in the way or get dirty while they washed or worked in the house. I suppose this kind of folding and stuffing the apron was somewhat similar to the way of folding the Romanian cheese pies after stuffing them with cheese. So now you know and I do too. 🙂

sweet cheese pies Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   Branzoaice

I have also found out that originally, in the Moldavian villages, these pies used to be made with branza de burduf, a typical Romanian cheese which is rather salty and has a very strong taste. The women would sweeten this kind of cheese with sugar and raisins. Modern versions of these pies are made with the Romanian branza de vaci, which is rather bland, giving these pies a more delicate taste and texture.

 

I chose cottage cheese as the main ingredient for these pies, because I find that to be quite similar to the Romanian intended cheese, but I would really like to try the original version made with branza de burduf one day, that really is my favorite cheese and I can imagine this salty-sugary mixture to be quite interesting. Oh, it is really time I ‘d try my hand at making cheese, I have been reading about it here and there lately and it doesn’t seem to be thaaaaaaaaaat difficult.

I realize now that this is the third yeast dough recipe on Where Is My Spoon in a very short time. So, even if you are a yeast dough beginner, I could say that if you decide to make all these three recipes: Moldavian Yeast Pastries – Mucenici, the Romanian Cheese Pie and the Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies, you will be quite good in working with yeast dough by the end of the process. And here you can find more yeast recipes.

sweet cheese pie romanian Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   Branzoaice

And working with yeast is really not that difficult, especially if you have a food processor, which can knead the dough for you. Making yeast dough without the food processor is easy as well, but it requires a bit more physical work on your side and a bit more dedication.

Forming the pies is quite easy as well, have a look at the pictures and there should be no problem. The only word of advice I can give you is to make sure that you press the corners of the pastry very thoroughly together to make sure that the pies are properly sealed. Otherwise they will open during the baking process and although they will taste just as delicious if opened, they will not look so pretty anymore. I had about 5-6 branzoaice, that opened in the oven.

And you will have to start a bit in advance, the cottage cheese needs to be drained thoroughly, I let it drain in a fine mesh sieve for about 3 hours.

The recipe for the yeast dough is adapted from one found on LaLena, a Romanian food blog, which I visit quite often. The recipe for the filling is my own, I put that together after reading several filling versions found online and in some cookbooks. I had about 2 or 3 tablespoons of extra filling that did not fit into the pies anymore, it made its way directly to my mouth…

sweet cheese pie branzoaice Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   Branzoaice

sweet cheese pie 150x150 Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   Branzoaice

Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies – Branzoaice

Share this on WhatsAppSweet Cheese Pie, Branzoaice or Poale-n brau: this is a Moldavian sweet cheese pie recipe made with cottage cheese and raisins, so… Pies and Cheesecakes Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins – Branzoaice European Print This
Serves: 16 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • For the yeast dough:
  • 450 g/ 15.9 oz/ 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 42 g/ 1.5 g fresh yeast
  • 200 ml/ 6.7 fl.oz/ 0.8 cups lukewarm milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs, about 55-60 g/ 1.6-2.1 oz each
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For the filling:
  • 500 g/ 17.6 oz/ 2 ¼ cups cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, 55-60 g/ 1.6-2.1 oz
  • 140 g/ 4.9 oz/ scant 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ ½ cup raisins
  • 65 g/ 2.4 oz/ 1/3 cup semolina
  • 1 small egg for brushing
  • icing sugar

Instructions

Start by draining the cottage cheese in a fine mesh sieve thoroughly, for about 3 hours.

To make the yeast dough, sieve the flour in a large bowl or in the bowl of your food processor. Make some place in the middle, crumble the dough in there, add 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let rest for about 15-20 minutes until quite frothy.

Add the rest of the lukewarm milk, 2 eggs, the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the salt. Mix well and add the vegetable oil. Knead well with the food processor until the dough is elastic and doesn't stick anymore, but keep in mind that the dough should be soft. If you knead the dough by hand, you might have to add a little bit of extra flour when kneading, but don't overdo it, the dough should remain soft.

Form a ball and let it rise in a oiled bowl for 1 hour, covered with a clean kitchen cloth and in a warm place. I usually place the bowl in the oven and turn the oven light on. Just the oven light, not the oven itself! The dough should have more than doubled its size by the end of one hour.

In the meantime prepare the filling. Give the drained cottage cheese to a bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, raisins and semolina and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the baking tray with baking paper.

sweet cheese pie how to2 300x200 Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   Branzoaice

sweet cheese pie how to 300x187 Romanian Sweet Cheese Pies with Raisins   BranzoaiceTo form the pies, roll the dough into a large rectangle about 3-4 mm/0.11-0.15 inches thick. Divide it into 16 smaller squares. Divide the filling between the squares, about 1-2 teaspoons into each square. Eat the remaining filling, if you have any and are not worried about the raw egg inside it.

Beat the egg needed for brushing the pies in a small bowl. Lightly brush the free edges of the pies around the filling. Take two opposite corners of the pastry and press them well together, in the middle, with your fingers. Take the other two opposite corners and press them well with your fingers as well. Press along the lines that are formed as well, so that the pastries are closed. Make sure that the pockets are really well sealed, so that they will not open in the oven.

Brush the pastries with the beaten egg all over and bake them for about 15-20 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Let cool slightly, dust with icing sugar and enjoy warm or cold.

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13 comments

KR 24/06/2017 - 18:56

Great story ( again 🙂 ). And very attempting combination. our cottage cheese savoury as well, so I believe I will get right tast.e ? 🙂

Reply
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop 25/06/2017 - 04:28

I love learning about the tradition behind these recipes! The look is very impressive and they sound delicious.

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Sissi 27/06/2017 - 18:18

They look so cute! I love fresh cheese/cottage cheese in both sweet and savoury dishes. The name sounds at first quite strange indeed, but some traditional dishes often have weird names. Thank you for the explanation!

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allie 28/06/2017 - 16:51

Dear Adina – These are absolutely delicious looking cheese pies. I can almost taste them!!! Having just returned from the lovely country of Romania, I now know that you are known for your baking and spectacular pastries!!! So many delicious breads and pastries we saw (and sampled)! Truly delicious — and I would love to try my hand at these. Loved your beautiful country and look forward to returning again some day. XOXO

Reply
Adina 28/06/2017 - 17:39

I am so glad you enjoyed Romania, Allie. And I hope you try these pastries, they are soooo good!!! 🙂

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Evi @ greenevi 29/06/2017 - 16:23

LOVE THESE! Hahaha, every time I see your Romanian recipes I have to realise that Hungarian and Romanian cuisine are basically the exact same thing. It’s so cool! We had these babies a lot when I was small and oh gosh, I loved them so much! I even enjoyed the raisins in the filling despite the fact that normally I hated them 😉

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Adina 04/07/2017 - 12:10

No wonder, we are neighbors and there are so many Hungarians living in Romania. My grandmother’s repertoire was full of Hungarian inspired dishes. 🙂

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grace 03/07/2017 - 16:58

what delicious pastries, adina! i don’t often think of cheese as a dessert food, but i’d love these after any meal!

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ALEX 02/08/2017 - 23:09

Hello~ just wondering if i could make these using store bought puff pastry ? thank you in advance

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Adina 03/08/2017 - 00:11

Hi Alex. Puff pastry and yeast dough are very different, so if you use puff pastry your pies will be quite different. However I don’t think different is bad, your pies will be something else, but I cannot imagine that they will not have a good taste, puff pastry is delicious after all. Make sure to drain the cheese well and pay attention to the pastry’s packet instructions to see how long the pastry should be baked. Let me know how that works.

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Inge Kohl 13/10/2017 - 16:22

I forget how I came across your blog, but I do enjoy it a lot. I am originally from Germany (Leimen) but have lived in California since 1977.
My parents lived in Yogoslavia before I was born and came back to Germany in 1957. My grandmother and mother cooked and baked a lot of things from that area. I love to try all kinds of different things as well, but often go back to those old recipes.
I really like that you give measurements in grams as well. Even though my grandmother didn’t seem to weigh much when she was baking, it works better than measuring with cups.

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Adina 13/10/2017 - 17:08

Hi Inge, thank you for your comment, I was happy to read it. My grandmother never weigh anything herself, but I could not do it, not when baking anyway. And metric is what I am used to and I find it better than cups as well. Preciser and sooo much cleaner. My kitchen is always a mess after making a cup recipe, flour and sugar on all surfaces and on the floor and lots of cup cleaning and drying in between, as I only have one set of weighing cups…. ?

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Gainuta Rotaru 21/11/2018 - 06:12

The Poale in brau name is not because the farmer did this to stay clean it’s rather the technique in which you fold the dough to make the form of the Pastry . You fold the corners in the middle

Reply

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