5 from 1 vote
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
55 mins
Žemlovka (aka zemlbába) is a deliciously sweet and fruity, mildly-spiced custard and bread-based dish from the Czech Republic.
Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: Czech, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Nicole Le Strange
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
  • cups whole milk
  • 3 apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg , freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ lb day-old bread or brioche
  • ½ cup quark or cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (for the topping)
  1. Place raisins in a small bowl, pour over the cold water, and soak for 20 minutes to rehydrate.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. In the meantime, grease an oven dish with 2 Tbsp butter, and set aside.
  4. While the raisins are soaking, warm the milk over a low heat in a medium saucepan, then add the remaining butter, and stir until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Peel and slice the apples, and place in a bowl with the lemon juice, making sure each slice is coated. Set aside.
  6. Add the eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla to a mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. Stir in the milk and butter, and beat again for another minute or so, to thoroughly incorporate.
  7. Drain the raisins, and discard the water.
  8. Slice the bread, and dip each slice into the custard. Gently squeeze out, and place a layer (including crusts) on the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle the raisins over the bread, then a layer of cheese, and then arrange the slices of apple on top. Pour over the lemon juice.
  10. Next, add another layer of dipped bread, and pour any remaining custard over the top. Sprinkle over 2 Tbsp of brown sugar.
  11. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
  12. Serve warm.