Wow. It’s been a hot minute… When you think you are where you’re supposed to be, life most certainly has other plans. I was never really able to let go of this blog, but also not able to publish the gazillionst recipe for cheesecake in the whole world wide web. I don’t have to tell you what a shitshow 2020 was, we’ve all had our fair share of breakdowns, anxiety, anger, projects, online meetups and what-not, but we all kept going one way or another.
I can’t remember where I first read it, but “If you’re going through shit, keep going!” is clinging to me. I am not one to walk away from problems or people easily, even though I often wish I could, but it gives me peace and actually helps me to remind myself that I just have to keep going, no matter how fast or how long. Eventually I will get through, no matter what it is.
When I feel the weakest I often think of my friend Kerby. She is a go-getter, always finds the right words to brighten up my day and can even make Iowa the most fun place on earth. Kerby, you bring so much joy, hope, support and empowerment to my life, I can’t thank you enough! Yet I try, as always with a little recipe that hopefully helps you to thrive.
Happiness is a piece of cake. And so is quark.
One thing I have learned the hard way when I visited her in Iowa, was that it’s borderline impossible to find Quark at all or at least for a reasonable price. That’s kinda annoying when you like Spundekäs and Käsekuchen (the German cousin of Cheesecake). I am not particularly a fan of cheesecake, but it seems to be a favourite among all people in my close circle, so I’ve been perfecting my recipe for a quite while now. In honor of Kerby and in order to cater the constraints of quark-availability, I have started a series of experiments and proudly share the results with you today. Brace yourself for a fluffy version of German cheesecake with greek yoghurt….
For the pastry:
- 200 g flour
- 60 g sugar
- 100 g butter (at room temperature)
- 1 egg
Sift the flour into a bowl, mix with the sugar, then add butter and the egg. Mix until it just comes together, you don’t want to over-knead your pastry. Roll out between 2 sheets of parchment to a large round. It should be bigger than your tin so you can also cover the sides with the pastry. Let it chill for at least 30 minutes. I line my tin with parchment, because a cheesecake getting stuck in the pan is my personal nightmare. But you can also just grease and lightly flour your tin. Transfer the rolled out pastry into your tin, make sure it’s even and the sides of your tin are covered. Poke your dough with a fork, then put in a large piece of parchment and weigh it down with blind baking beans. Bake at 180° C for 10 minutes. In the meantime prepare the filling.
For the filling:
- 1 kg FAGE greek yoghurt (10%)
- 4 eggs
- lemon zest and vanilla extract to taste
- 150 g sugar
- 150 g oil
- 40 g cornstarch
Separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites with a little sugar until stiff peaks form. Make sure to not go full speed so the egg whites remain silky. In a separate bowl, whisk the yoghurt until smooth, then add the egg yolks, lemon zest and a dash of vanilla extract. Slowly add the sugar while mixing. Last add the oil and sift in the cornstarch. Mix until combined, then fold in the egg whites.
Remove the blind baking beans and the parchment from your crust and reduce the temperature of the oven to 140°C. Pour the filling into the pastry shell and bake for 1-1.5 hours. If you ask me a German cheesecake should be as pale as my legs are in winter. If the top starts to brown before the baking time is over, cover it up with some parchment. Also it’s best to keep the oven door shut at least for the first hour of baking, it reduces the risk of cracks in the surface. You can test if it’s done by jiggling the tin a little. The contents should wiggle a little but not too much. Leave the cake in the oven after the baking time, keep the oven door a tad open with a spoon and let the cake rest there for another 30 minutes. Then you can leave it to cool completely in the tin.
This recipe is a great base for a loot of cheesecake variations. If you’re ever sick of plain cheesecake you can always spice it up by tossing some rum-soaked raisins in the filling (coat with a little flour before so they don’t all sink down), scattering 2 diced apples on the pastry before pourling the filling, spreading a poppy-seed cream filling as a base layer or covering everything with Streusel. Enjoy and let me know how it goes 🙂