Chances are, if you were born in North America, as were both of your parents, you have no idea what quark is. Kind of sounds like a noise a dog-duck would make, right? Really though, quark is actually a light, creamy cheese – very similar in texture to a Greek yogurt or sour cream. It’s much lower in calories and fat than cream cheese and higher in protein. There are lots of wonderful uses for quark and baking with it is one of them. Say hello to Käsekuchen, the German cheesecake.
Quark used to be all but impossible to find in The USA unless you were in a major city. These days, you can find it – you just might have to do a little looking. There are a few mainstream brands, but you’re more likely to find it locally made at a specialty cheese shop. If all else fails, you’re still in luck. Quark is very simple to make – it’s actually a great introduction to cheese making – and you’ll find plenty of recipes & tips online. I’ll blog about it one day soon, I promise!
A traditional German cheesecake is made with a pastry style pie crust. I forgo that for two reasons. First, it’s more work (shhhhh – I’m a lazy baker) and secondly, I absolutely love graham cracker crusts. The cheesecake is very simple to make, just a bunch of mixing and beating. Throw it into the oven and watch it do it’s magic. It turns a beautiful golden brown and puffs up all big and pretty like a souffle (it will depuff some after cooling). Let it rest for a few minutes in the oven with the heat off and the door ajar before moving to a wire rack to cool for an hour or two. From there, I let it cool for a few more hours (or overnight) in the fridge before removing from the springform pan.
The taste and texture of quark is much different than cream cheese, resulting in a much different cheesecake then most are used to. Much lighter and fluffier then a NY style cheesecake – it’s almost a mousse, custard-like texture. I love this lightly sweetened custard like cheesecake – it’s wonderful served with fresh fruits, fruit syrups, jams, candied nuts or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The nutritional content of quark makes this a much lighter, healthier, diet friendly cheesecake.
Hopefully one day soon you’ll see a tub of quark in your grocery store and you’ll be inspired to do some baking! Thanks for reading!
- For crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumb
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoon melted butter
- For cake filling:
- 5 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 pounds quark
- ¼ cup milk or cream
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350
- For crust :
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter.
- Press crumbs evenly into bottom of 9" springform pan.
- Bake for 7- 10 minutes. (Optional - your preference)
- Cool before filling.
- For filling:
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, mix together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Add quark, milk, flour and lemon juice. Mix until creamy and combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks.
- Fold egg whites into quark mixture.
- Pour cake filling into springform pan.
- Bake at 350 for 50 -60 minutes or until cake has puffed up, is set and a light golden brown.
- Turn off heat in oven, crack door and let cake rest in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Cool cake on wire rack for an hour or two. Move cake to refrigerator and continue to cool for a few hours.
- Release sides of pan, slice and serve. This cheesecake tastes great with fresh fruit, jams, candied nuts or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Enjoy!