La Vuelta Gastronómica – Quesada Pasiega, A Cantabrian Cheesecake… Without Cheese

Quesada Pasiega

A series to pay homage to the biggest cycling event in Spain: La Vuelta a España. You can join this tour without a bike, but not with an empty stomach. For more Spanish recipes on this series, follow this link.

You can’t say this gastronomic tour is not giving  you enough time to let the food settle. Two weeks since the last stage, and we are still meandering through the green scenery of Northern Spain, still caught between the Cantabric Sea at our left and  the slopes of the Cantabric Mountains at our right, as we finally leave behind the Asturian region to enter neighbouring Cantabria.

I am a firm believer in the “when in Rome, do as the Romans” maxim, so now that this little virtual tour is taking us to La Tierruca – as Juan Jose Cobo and Oscar Freire would put it – I think we should do just as any of these two renowned Cantabrian cyclists would. Don’t worry, I am not talking about trying to keep Chris Froome on a leash, in a nail-biting Vuelta duel up Peña Cabarga. Nope, there’s little exertion required for what I have in mind. Instead, let’s leave the bike aside for a moment and join Oscar and Juan Jose for dessert. As you are about to discover, you can prepare a “cheesecake” without cheese, but you’ll not find a real Cantabrian – cyclist or otherwise – prepared to go without their most popular dessert: Quesada!

Quesada Pasiega is actually a type of pudding – a not so distant cousin of creamier flan, but with a thicker consistency. Miss Pasiega got her last name from the region in Cantabria where the recipe originated: el Valle del Pas. The first name, on the other hand, comes from the Spanish word for cheese (“queso”), and this why you can often seen her responding to the name of Cheesecake in recipes that have been translated from Spanish to English. Ironically enough, the traditional recipe does not include cheese among the ingredients, but milk and cuajada (milk curds) instead. As usual, there are many variations to this recipe, and some of them do include fresh cheese or ricotta instead of cuajada, in an attempt to pay better honor to her name. For this recipe today, though, I am substituting with yoghurt, which is also a very common variation.

Quesada Pasiega Slice

Difficulty: If this was any easier you would be riding a motorcycle

Time: 5 mins (preparation) + 45-60 mins (oven)

To avoid flat tires: use the single-serving yogurt container to measure the rest of the ingredients in this recipe.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 single-serving plain yoghurt
  • 2 measures sugar
  • 2 measures flour
  • 4 measures milk
  • 75 g butter, melted
  • 1 lemon zest, grated
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Pour into a mould, previously oiled with butter.
  3. Bake in oven at 375F for 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. Let cool and deflate – it will rise quite a bit in the oven, but will flatten when cool.

2 thoughts on “La Vuelta Gastronómica – Quesada Pasiega, A Cantabrian Cheesecake… Without Cheese

    1. Thanks, Kathy! Let me know how it goes! I see that you are in Spain, so you should have it easier to find some of the ingredients. Hope my home country is treating you well, culinary (and other) wise.

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