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Quesada is the perfect cross between cheesecake and custard: a satisfying, creamy dessert that's simple enough for an afternoon treat. Cinnamon, lemon zest, and rich Greek yogurt create a fresh, comforting dessert on their own, requiring no crust or frostings to hold it together. Caroline, Recipe Hunter

Caroline Cassard


Quesada Pasiega (Spanish Catabrian Cheesecake)

A homey, rustic dessert you won't find on a restaurant menu

Quesada Pasiega (Spanish Catabrian Cheesecake)

Cheesecake is usually reserved for special occasions. But Quesada, a custardy Spanish cheesecake alternative, doesn’t require a celebration when you’re craving something creamy and sweet. Quesada Pasiega is a Cantabrian cheesecake, originally from home kitchens in Spain. “Pasiega” refers to anything from the rural valleys between three rivers in Northern Spain, a region known for its cattle, milk, and cheese production. Traditional Quesada Pasiega is made with a fresh farmer’s cheese called queso de Burgos. But many people use ricotta as a more accessible option, and plain Greek yogurt works just as well. If you find yourself in Spain, you may come across Quesada at a small market. But you certainly won’t find this creamy, custardy cake at your favorite Tapas restaurant, as it’s traditionally a humble home-style dessert. This rustic Spanish cheesecake has no crust, only requires a few staple ingredients, and is so simple to serve that there’s hardly an excuse not to enjoy it at home. Quesada Pasiega (Spanish Cantabrian Cheesecake) gets a crackly top when baked Quesada offers the perfect median consistency: lighter than New York-style cheesecake but more dense than flan. The yogurt-based mixture is thinner than pancake batter yet bakes into a creamy solid in the oven and pulls away from the sides of the pan as the edges turn golden-brown. Like New York-Style Cheesecake, the top will crack in the oven. But you don’t have to worry about preventing this. Since Quesada is both crustless and more custardy than traditional cheesecake, it won’t fall apart or crumble if the surface splits. In order to prevent excessive cracking, you can create a water bath by setting the Quesada pan inside a larger pan of water, and placing it carefully in the oven. But Quesada is less delicate than regular cheesecake, so don’t stress if the surface isn’t perfectly smooth. Quesada Pasiega (Spanish Cantabrian Cheesecake) has a custardy interior The top will rise in the oven and fall when it cools, creating the perfect slope for fresh fruit that compliments this lemon zest- and cinnamon-infused dessert. No heavy frostings, sugar dustings, or elaborate toppings needed here for a light and creamy afternoon treat any day of the week. Quesada Pasiega (Spanish Cantabrian Cheesecake) - top with fresh berries for a simple dessert

Quesada Pasiega

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

 Yield: 1 8-inch round cake pan
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (full-fat if you can find it)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch round pan or cast-iron skillet with butter.
  2. Warm the whole milk, lemon zest, and cinnamon together over medium-low heat on the stove until it barely starts to simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, and eggs until pale and light, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the yogurt.
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl, and stir.
  6. Stir in the flour, a little at a time until no clumps remain.
  7. The mixture will be really thin. Pour it into the pan or skillet, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Allow to cool, then slice and serve.