German cheesecake is lighter than American cheesecake because it relies on quark – a product that is generally lower in fat and higher in protein than other dairy products – rather than cream cheese. The crust is not too sweet, and no extra toppings are needed for this zesty, mouthwatering classic.
Makes: Whole cake (8-10 slices)
Pair with a fruity Riesling, such as Dr Siemens Serringer Herrenberg Spaltete Trocken 2008.
For the crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
½ cup cold unsalted butter
Extra butter and flour for the pan
For the Filling:
1 kg of lean quark
4 heaped tbsp starch
5 eggs, seperated
A Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Zest from one organic lemon
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Seeds from one vanilla pod
Powdered sugar for dusting
For the crust, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in the cold butter, add the egg and then knead with your hands until you get a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease and flour a 10″ springform pan with butter.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In one bowl, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until stiff.
In another, mix the egg yolks, quark, starch, sugar, vanilla seeds, lemon juice and zest.
Gently and gradually fold the egg white mixture into the quark mixture in portions.
Remove the crust pastry from the fridge, roll it out and then drape it over your prepared springform pan. Press the dough into the base and up the sides of the pan. Fill it with evenly with quark mixture, and then bake for 1 hour.
Once the cake is done, leave it to cool on the rack before dusting with powdered sugar.
Madhvi Ramani writes articles, essays and fiction. Her work has been published by The New York Times, Washington Post, Asia Literary Review and others. She grew up in London and currently lives a thoroughly bohemian lifestyle in Berlin. Find out more at www.madhviramani.com or follow her on twitter @madhviramani.