German Cheesecake

I have been living out of Germany for more than 7 years now. The longer I am away, the more often I crave typically German foods. There are German restaurants here in Dubai. A few weeks after we arrived, I stood in front of one and read their menu. Back then I decided I will never go to a Dubai restaurant to eat German food. I might do them wrong, but until today I have kept my word.
So home-cooking is the way out of the dilemma and the way into another dilemma: ingredients, or the lack of. For instance, certain meats prepared and cured in certain ways are simply not available. And there is not substitute for it. I got used to it.
However, other ingredients can be substituted. Like Quark cheese. It is a sort of fresh cheese, that is similar to yogurt or cottage or ricotta cheese in its taste and texture. It has got a low fat content, similar to yogurt. In Germany it is used a lot in baking. In fact, I have never eaten a cheesecake in Germany that was not made with Quark cheese. I love its lighter, fluffier texture, with just a little zing that comes from added lemon juice.
Now, one of my most frequent food craving is German cheesecake. Quark cheese is still not available in Dubai. But for a couple of  years, fromage blanc has been on the shelves which is a very good substitute. Please see my notes below how to substitute the Quark cheese or how to make it yourself.

PS: Don't be deceived by the rather healthy Quark cheese in this cake. The other ingredients make it a truly guilty dessert!

(Print Recipe)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup palm sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup butter (100g), at room temperature

1/2 cup butter (100g), at room temperature
1/2 cup palm sugar
4 eggs
750g/26oz Quark fresh cheese*
1/2 lemon, juice of

* Alternatives to Quark fresh cheese:
- fromage blanc
- three parts ricotta cheese and one part sour cream
- equal parts of cottage cheese and yogurt 

*How to make Quark fresh cheese at home:
Combine one quart whole milk with 1/2 cup buttermilk in a clean container, cover, and let the mixture stand at room temperature for two days. Gently cook the mixture for about 30 minutes. It's done when the curd has thickened slightly and begun to separate from the whey. Let it cool and pour it into a colander lined with several folds of cheesecloth. Put the colander into a larger container, wrap with plastic, and let it drain overnight in the refrigerator until the quark is reduced to the consistency of yogurt. Makes about 1 cup.
Yields one 9 inch cake
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line bottom of 9 inch spring form with parchment paper and grease the sides.

Combine flour, salt and baking powder. In another big bowl, beat together sugar and butter until creamy. Whisk in the egg yolk. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated. Roll out the dough. Make sure it is slightly bigger than the spring form. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the spring form. The dough should be 3cm/2 inches up at the sides. Prick the dough with fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven.

For the filling, whisk egg, sugar until creamy. Beat in the  butter until creamy.  Stir lemon juice into the Quark fresh cheese. Then add to the egg mixture. Blend until well combined. Pour the fresh cheese filling into the prebaked dough in the spring form. Bake at 180C/350F for 60 minutes.
If the top of the cake gets too dark cover with aluminum foil. Let cool in the form for 10-15 minutes before taking out.