Quark: Quark Kuchen

I’ve only ever found decent quark in Germany and, to everyone’s disgust, shun the stuff I find anywhere else simply because it’s not German fresh cheese; quark is made by warming soured milk to a specific temperature and then it’s strained through a sieve. How can a fresh cheese be fresh if it’s flown half way across the world or even made outside Germany? It doesn’t taste the same because German milk tastes completely different to any other milk. Most importantly, it’s not the same as cottage cheese. Not even nearly.  Most cottage cheeses are made with rennet but

real quark isn’t; it’s soft, pure white and not aged (almost like fromage fraiche) and it’s not made like ricotta which is made from scalded whey and has a much higher fat content than quark. So if you thought ricotta was the least fattening of cheeses. Think again. Also quark is salt free. Of course in Germany you get Magerquark, Früchtequark and Sahnequark but then in Germany you find almost everything in varying degrees of fat content. I’ve even seen Philadelphia cream cheese in a fat free variety and, let me tell you, it was delicious. Nur in Deutshcland.

Ingredients

  • 125 ml flour (sift it before measuring because it needs to be loosely packed)
  • 50 ml ground toasted almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 80 ml caster sugar
  • 1 extra large egg, whisked
  • 80 g organic butter
  • 1 small un-waxed lemon, grated zest only

Method

  • Sift the flour and the baking powder into your processor with the egg, the sugar, the butter and the lemon zest, process until it has all combined and remove, knead by hand for a few minutes, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate.

Filling

  • 250 g freshest quark that you can find
  • 250 ml thick cream
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs, separated – you’ll need the whites stiffly whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small lemon, finely grated zest and fresh juice (make very sure that you use only the zest & that you miss all the pith)
  • 4 tbsp Maizena (cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C and grease your cake tins well.
  • Line the tin with the pastry, make sure you have all the sides an equal thickness (there’s nothing more irritating that quark tart with an uneven crust) and prick the pastry with a fork every now and again to make the ventilating holes – return to the fridge.
  • Combine the quark and the cream (keeping a tbsp to mix with the Maizena), whisking well until it’s smooth and then add the sugar, the vanilla extract, the egg yolks, the lemon zest and the lemon juice and then mix well.
  • Mix the Maizena with the tbsp of reserved cream and stir that into the quark m ixture with the baking powder and mix well.
  • Finally fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and pour this into the pastry shell, making sure that it’s evenly filled (use a spatula if you need to adjust the level – I always make a little mound in the middle so that it doesn’t fall to flat when I take it out).
  • Bake for about 45 minutes until the cake is golden brown & it doesn’t wobble anymore.
  • Allow to cool a little before you remove from the tin – I always flip off the sides and leave the bottom for later.

Enjoy.

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