My German Cheesecake with Red Currants
by eat in my kitchen
This cheesecake calls for Quark, the famous German cheese which is neither like ricotta, nor cottage cheese or fromage blanc although it’s often compared to them. Quark is unique, it’s soft, white and fresh with a slightly sour taste, it feels a bit more dry and thicker than yoghurt and although the texture is similar to ricotta it’s less heavy. Quark is great for cheesecakes, strudel or Danish pastry or as a savory dip on dark bread, mixed with linseed oil and fresh radish or cucumber. I also use it for my Tzatziki although my Greek-German brother in law doesn’t agree on that at all, but he still loves it when I make it for him! I will share that recipe with you next week, then you can judge yourself!
Back to the sweets, this recipe has been with me for as long as I can remember. My mother used to bake it for us, and I still eat it as passionately as I did then. This cake isn’t as heavy as a New York cheesecake, the base is made of a crumbly shortcrust and the topping is fluffy, light and lemony. Sometimes I add raisins soaked in brandy but this has to wait for now, it will come later when it gets a bit colder. For now, I keep it fresh and add a few sweet and sour red currants on top.
I know that in some places of the world it’s hard or almost impossible to get quark and although I try to write about recipes with ingredients that are easily accessible, there is no alternative for this fresh cheese. You can’t use ricotta (at least I’ve never tried it with this recope) or cream cheese, you just get this fluffy cheesecake result when you use quark.
German Cheesecake with Red Currants
This recipe is measured for a 30cm / 12″ springform pan. The one that I use is 26cm / 10″, so I bake some of the leftover cheese filling in a small baking dish and scope it out with a spoon when it’s still warm and fresh out of the oven, it’s delicious!
For the topping
red currants, a big handful
For the short crust base
plain flour 250g / 9 ounces
sugar 50g / 2 ounces
a pinch of salt
cold butter 125g / 4.5 ounces
organic egg 1
Combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter into the flour with a knife until there are just little pieces of butter left. Continue with your fingers and work the butter into the flour until combined (there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter left). Add the egg and continue mixing with the hooks of your mixer until you have a crumbly mixture. Form a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F top/ bottom heat.
Roll out the dough between cling film, big enough to come up 2/3 of the rim of the springform pan. Line the pan with the flat pastry, prick it with a fork and blind-bake in the hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
For the cheese topping
quark (low fat) 750g / 26.5 ounces
organic eggs 5
cornstarch 80g / 3 ounces
baking powder 1 teaspoon
sugar 150g / 5.5 ounces
milk 125ml / 4.5 ounces
zest of 1 lemon
a pinch of fresh vanilla
Turn the oven down to 175°C / 350°F.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt for a few seconds, add 50g of sugar and continue beating until stiff.
Mix the quark, egg yolks, cornstarch, baking powder, 100g / 3.5 ounces of sugar, the vanilla and lemon zest until well combined and creamy. Mix in the milk and gently fold in the stiff egg whites with a wooden spoon.
Fill the cheese mixture in the springform pan on top of the baked short crust, if there’s too much of it fill the remaining mixture into a separate baking dish. Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let it cool in the springform for 10 minutes before you take it out. Serve warm or cold with red currants.