German Cherry Streusel Cheesecake

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There are all sorts of different cheesecakes in the world, the German variety being my favorite. Living in America since 2009, I have been quite deprived of this kind because it’s made using quark, a fun word and German dairy product that is somewhere in between Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese and sour cream… let’s just say it’s not really super similar to anything else you can easily find at stores here! There is a newer brand called Elli that brought quark to the U.S. market a couple of years ago, but it’s not easy to find (you can go on their website and locate stores that carry it), and it’s pretty expensive compared to what you pay in Germany.

One of my next challenges is to make my own quark (it’s takes some patience), but for today I ended up buying some vanilla bean quark at a local Hy-Vee grocery store, so I could make my streusel cherry cheesecake, that in itself already takes a while to make. This particular cheesecake has a yeast dough crust – the kind I have been craving for a while now. It’s not as sweet as most cheesecake crusts and it’s nice and fluffy.

The cheesecake filling is also a bit lighter than American cheesecake due to Germans using lowfat quark compared to Americans using cream cheese. By using quark, you end up with a creamy and airy consistency, which I so so love!

I want to warn you that I wasn’t patient enough to let this cake cool properly, which prevented it from setting up the way it should have. What was even worse is that we had a BBQ to go to that night, and I brought this cake that looks like a masterpiece on the inside, but cut it open, and it looks like a mudslide. This is why you don’t see any pictures of an actual cut slice (I was too ashamed to take one!). I made some notes in the recipe below, so that you won’t make the same mistake, and once I make it again and have enough time to let it cure like it’s supposed to, I will post a picture of a beautiful slice as well. Deal? 😉

If you don’t have a spring form, you can also prepare this cheesecake on a baking sheet (notes on that below). I should have started with that kind because it bakes quicker and sets quicker, but oh well, I didn’t.

I’ve got another little surprise for you! Because baking is truly a science and requires accurate methods to measure, and because I don’t like the added stress of having to convert grams to spoons and cups while I enjoy baking in the kitchen, the company Ozeri was generous enough to let me give away 5 kitchen scales to 5 lucky winners (they come in white, red and teal – you pick the color!). Hop on over to my Instagram page (@dirndl_kitchen) to enter starting this Wednesday! Good luck!

Also, if you love German cooking and baking as much as I do and want a chance to win cool kitchen gear (more WÜSTHOF knives to come soon as well), PLEASE SUBSCRIBE at the bottom of this post! ????  Danke! ❤️‍


Ingredients for the yeast dough (1 recipe for 9 in round spring pan, double for baking sheet):

  • 2 Tbsp & 1 tsp (35g) butter
  • 2 oz (60ml) milk
  • 1/2 package(4g) dried yeast
  • 3.5 Tbsp (50ml) warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 c (210g) flour
  • a sprinkling of salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lemon peel

Ingredients for the quark filling (1 recipe for either spring form or baking sheet):

  • 7 Tbsp (100g) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c (100g) sugar
  • 2 1/2 c (500g) quark, room temperature
  • 1 package vanilla pudding mix (even better with this German kind, but I used an all-natural JELL-O brand vanilla pudding mix)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 8.8 oz (250g) fresh, pitted cherries

Ingredients for the streusel topping(1 recipe for either spring form or baking sheet):

  • 7 Tbsp (100g) butter, melted
  • 1 2/3 c (200g) flour
  • 1/2 c (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method:

    1. To make the yeast dough (single recipe): Melt butter on low temperature and slowly pour in warmed milk. In a small bowl, combine the dried yeast, warm water, add 1 tsp of sugar and let stand until the yeast starts to activate and bubble (about 5 minutes). Add flour, sprinkling of salt and 2 Tbsp sugar to a bowl (if you have a stand mixer, use the one it comes with). To the flour, add the egg, the yeast and butter-milk mixture and the lemon peel, and knead until the dough is smooth and firm. Follow double recipe for baking sheet.
    2. The dough should peel away easily from the bowl; if not add a little bit of flour (or water if too firm) to achieve the desired consistency.
    3. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit /200 degrees Celsius.
    4. In the meantime, prepare the quark mixture: Whisk the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in quark, vanilla pudding powder and 4 eggs.
    5. Half and pit the cherries (or use out of a jar if wanting to save time or if they’re not in season)
    6. To make the streusel topping, add together the flour, sugar and cinnamon and pour in the melted butter. Whisk together with a fork until you get little crumbs, or streusel.
    7. If using a spring form, butter the bottom and cover in parchment paper. Then clip the round side tight, using your hand, spread a thin layer of butter on the insides and dust in flour (or use non-stick baking spray). Evenly distribute the yeast dough onto the bottom and sides. Then add the quark mixture, then cherries, and finally the streusel topping. Let rest for 15 minutes. Bake
    8. If using a baking sheet, using your hand, spread on a thin layer of butter, then the bottom in parchment paper. Dust the dough in some flour, and using a rolling pin, carefully and evenly roll out onto the baking sheet. Then add the quark mixture, then cherries, and finally the streusel topping. Let rest for 15 minutes. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn off the oven and let stand in the oven with the oven door opened tipped open for 60 more minutes. This way the cake will set up properly and the “roof” runs less a chance of collapsing. For best and most rewarding results, let cool for several hours in the fridge before cutting into it.
    9. Then add the quark mixture, then cherries, and finally the streusel topping. Let rest for 15 minutes. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. This one does not have to set up afterwards and can be enjoyed immediately.
    10. Happy cake and coffee time!


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