The name is derived from the German name Liptau for the region of Liptov (Hungarian: Liptó) in northern Slovakia, a former county in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Similar to the Bavarian Obatzda, it is a part of the regional cuisines of Slovakia (as Šmirkás, a form of the German Schmierkäse for cheese spread), Hungary (as Liptói túró or Körözött), Austria(Liptauer), Serbia (Urnebes salata, “chaos salad”), Croatia, Albania (liptao) and Italy (especially in the province of Trieste).
Liptauer is the deli-counter delicacy of many children across the midwest and eastcoast. As I’m from neither of those regions, nor did I have a Jewish grandmother provoking me to slather on more schmear at every meal, this concept was slightly new to me. However, as I thought about the utter uniqueness of toasted caraway seeds, the tangy goodness of little baby gherkins and caper berries, spiked with paprika, my mouth began to water. All whipped up into a yummy cream spread…oh my.
The next question ~ on what do I dare slather this spread?
The obvious answer would be toast or crackers. Poppyseed toast, I believe.
However, I like to make things challenging. We don’t consume much in the way of bread in our home. So, the next best thing: cute little corn cubes (polenta).
This delightful combo is rhapsodically unbeatable.
Liptauer and Polenta Cubes
1 cup polenta meal
2 1/2 cup water
sea salt and pepper
1 Tbs. butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
2 Tbs. capers
1 Tbs. toasted caraway seeds
1 Tbs. stoneground mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
extra virgin olive oil and paprika for garnish (and maybe some poppyseed bagels) and gherkins.
For the polenta:
Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1/2-1 tsp. of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Transfer to an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish or loaf pan and allow to cool before cooking into square.
For the liptauer:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the cheese is smooth, but small gherkin chunks remain.
Slather over the mini corn cubes of polenta and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika.