A fortress in the middle of the Mediterranean, Corsica, offers a very rich history and natural beauty, with its landscapes, its paradisiac beaches… and its fiadone! Welcome to the island of beauty!
“Whoever did not taste it does not know the Island” wrote the poet Émile Bergerat at the end of the 19th century!
He was already talking about brocciu, without which a fiadone is not a fiadone.
Brocciu (brucciu or brocciu) that is pronounced bròchiou in Corsican, is a cheese based on sheep’s and/or goat’s milk. It is a whey cheese, emblem of the Corsica region, protected by an AOC (Protected Designation of Origin) since 1998. Brocciu and Corsican brocciu are the two denominations selected in the French AOC decree.
This traditional Corsican cheese has the particularity of not being made from milk, but whey. It is most often fresh, but it is also eaten refined and in this case it is called brocciù passu.
The whey collected after goat or/and sheep cheese is heated to near boiling temperature until a kind of creamy foam forms on the surface. This cheese is collected in a mold, traditionally a rush basket called caciagia or, less traditionally, in plastic boxes.
The term broccio, therefore, comes from a word that means “to beat” or “to whip”. Its texture is a little grainy but still soft and unctuous. Its taste is very mild and slightly acidic, with aromas of fresh milk and a very slight taste of sheep or goat (depending on the milk used). It is similar to the famous Italian ricotta.
It contains 45% fat. It is mostly made from October to June, and is by far the most consumed cheese in Corsica. It is also called national casgiu or national cheese.
Behind the brocciu is hiding an ancestral legend. This legend says that in ancient times, a terrible ogre lived in the casa di urcu, which means the “house of the ogre” in Corsican language.
A long time ago, an ogre and his mother lived in Agriates on the slopes of Monte Revincu. This ogre terrorized all the inhabitants of this country and stole sheep and goats from all the shepherds. All the shepherds were frightened and the entire region lived in terror. The presence of this ogre (orcu) and his mother (orca) could not be tolrated anymore. So a brave shepherd, helped by a few others, decided to take the lead and get rid of these two ogres. He had the ingenious idea of making a pair of giant boots, inside which he poured tar and a sticky substance.
The shepherd laid the boots in front of the ogre’s house, knocked and ran quickly to hide with the other shepherds.
As he opened the door and discovered this pair of boots, the ogre immediately put his feet in the boots that he could not remove. The shepherds then rushed to him to slaughter him. As he was unable to flee, the ogre surrendered and said to them:
“Please spare me and I will teach you how to make the most of the whey from your goats and ewes”.
He gave them the recipe and that would be the origin of brocciu! Not satisfied, the shepherds insisted on wanting to kill him, but the ogre made them new promises: “I will then teach you how to make wax with the last milk that was used to make the brocciu”
In the meantime, the ogress said to her son, “Do not give this recipe, because you will not escape death”. And they were both killed. And we will never know the recipe for this wax!
Originally from northern Corsica, fiadone has for ancestors the Italian fiadoni (flans), present in cookbooks since the sixteenth century.
Originally, fiadone was the Corsican family cake par excellence, and especially in the region of Corte, Haute Corse. It was especially prepared during the end-of-year or Easter holidays, or at baptisms, communions and weddings.
Today, it is consumed on all occasions and can be found in all the pastry shops on the island. In the region of Ajaccio, it is called imbrucciata.
For having visited the island of beauty many times, where the traditional cuisine is excellent, I highly recommend the brocciu omelet, a recipe typical of all Corsican homes also available in most restaurants of the island. Its taste is excellent and inimitable. The Corsican tradition is that you combine the cheese with fresh mint. A pure delight! You will find excellent brocciu omelets in Corte to enjoy before a beautiful hike in the beautiful gorges of the Restonica Valley or the port of Bastia.
Accompany this omelet with torta di ceci. It is simply a kind of socca, made from chickpea flour, which can be enjoyed as a hors d’oeuvre or an appetizer. Spread this hot delicacy with brocciu, it’s a treat!
Back to our fiadone, which despite the lack of flour is still quite close to the Polish sernik for which Mike had made his own cheese! And we did not have to use the boots full of tar for him to share with us the secrets of its preparation! Yes but Mike is not an ogre, he’s just our resident devil!
Please do not skip on the organic and very fragrant lemon for this excellent fiadone recipe to add to the delicate taste and texture! I just loved it!
This recipe is validated by our culinary expert in French cuisine, Chef Simon. You can find Chef Simon on his website Chef Simon – Le Plaisir de Cuisiner.
- 16 oz. brocciu
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup sugar (set aside 1 tablespoon for the end of the recipe)
- Zest of 2 large organic lemons
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (for the mold)
- 2 tablespoons myrtle liquor (mirto) or brandy
- Preheat the convection oven to 320 F.
- Beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes.
- Crush the brocciu with a fork and add the zest of the lemons and the brandy.
- Mix both preparations and whisk again for 10 seconds. The result should not be perfectly smooth and some small lumps may still be present.
- Butter a springform pan and pour in the mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The fiadone is cooked when the top begins to brown, and the preparation is just slightly wobbly.
- As soon as it is out of the oven, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on the top of the fiadone.
- Once the fiadone has cooled, keep it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before unmolding.
- Serve cold.