German-Style Cheesecake Using Quark
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Different countries, different cheesecakes. While American or “New York style” cheesecake is also becoming pretty popular in Germany, it’s got nothing on a slice of baked German cheesecake in my opinion. Comparing both recipes side by side, the biggest difference is that the American version uses cream cheese in theirs versus the German version uses quark, a dairy pretty much only found in Germany until recently. But guess what quark does to your cheesecake? It makes it fluffier and a lot healthier! Cream cheese has about 35 percent fat content, making the German version quite a bit healthier as well as quark’s fat content is very low (the kind I used being fat-free!).
Quark in the USA
It’s not an easy feat to find quark in the US, with only a few stores carrying it. Elli Quark is usually the only brand I can find, and they oftentimes don’t carry the plain version in the store that I would normally need to use to make a German cheesecake (click here to see if you have a store carrying Elli quark near you). I ended up using a zero percent lemon quark for today’s recipe, which would have been perfect for a plain cheesecake since I usually add lemon zest anyways, but this being a pumpkin cheesecake, it was a bit overpowering. If you can get plain quark where you are, I would highly suggest you using it instead.
While quark is not easy to find in the US, if you do find it, it tends to be on the expensive side. In Germany, you will spend $2 for the quark needed for this recipe. In America, you spend $10. You can make quark at home, but it’s a time-consuming process and I have never gotten around to trying it out, making the $10 seem like money well spent! When I do get to trying it out, I will be sure to report on my experiences and results, don’t you worry! I wouldn’t mind having some leftover quark, as it’s delicious for breakfast with fresh fruit and granola and makes a healthy snack any time of the day!
German Pumpkin Cheesecake Drink Pairing
This cheesecake calls for a special companion to help wash it down. You won’t regret getting your hands on a cute Jack O’Lantern-styled bottle of Mozart Pumpkin Cream Liqueur (I found it at World Market, but please check this link to see if Mozart pumpkin cream is available in your area)! It’s a flavor explosion in your mouth! Chocolate, Caramel, fresh pumpkin juice and spices including a hint of chili (!), combine to make this the perfect drink to sip on over ice while devouring a slice of pumpkin Käsekuchen!
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For the crust:
- 7 oz (200g) Leibniz Butterkekse (German butter biscuits, this is what they look like, you can find them at World Market (too expensive on Amazon), you can also substitute with honey graham crackers.
- 6 Tbsp (90g) butter
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the cheesecake mixture:
- 2 lb (1kg) quark (check here for availability in your area)
- 1 lb pumpkin puree (I made my own, but feel free to use canned pumpkin)
- 4 eggs
- 1 package vanilla pudding powder (please try to use this German brand, can also be found at World Market)
- 3/4 c (170g) sugar
For the glaze:
- 1 c (230g) sour cream
- 2 Tbsp honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prep a 10 inch spring form by putting parchment paper on the bottom, then secure the ring around it.
- Turn your butter biscuits into crumbs (easiest to do this using a mixer, but ours recently broke, so I filled the cookies into a freezer bag, and used the flat side of a meat tenderizer to make crumbs)
- Melt the butter and mix together with the cookie crumbs and spices.
- Press the cookie crumbs onto the bottom of the spring form using your hands or the backside of a spoon, let sit in the fridge while you prepare the cheesecake filling.
- Prepare the cheesecake filling: Using a whisk, combine the quark and pumpkin puree. Add in eggs, vanilla pudding powder and sugar. Whisk together until combined.
- Pour the mixture on top of your cookie crumb crust in the spring form.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven (loosely lay some aluminum foil over the cake towards the last part of baking).
- Mix together the sour cream and honey, spread over the cheesecake and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
- Very important: turn off your oven, crack open the oven door, and let your cheesecake cool down in the oven. Then transfer your cheesecake to the fridge overnight.
- Decorate with marzipan and pumpkin seeds (as pictured) if you would like, although it’s beautiful and delicious without the added decor, too! Why not use some fun crust cutters like these??
- Guten Appetit! Please comment below with what’s your favorite cheesecake and let me know about your experiences using this recipe!
Sophie’s German Cheesecake Tools & Entertaining Picks
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Some Other German Cake Recipes I love!
I received compensation from Niche Import Co. in exchange for writing this post. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, thoughts and recipes are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may be compensated if you click certain links.