Cherry Streusel Cheesecake

Wine and cheese afternoons during working hours are fine and classy, but not worth attending if they are not crowned with a nice cheesecake. That will be my contribution to the party, it’s all about cheese after all.

Cheesecake is a Science in its own right. There are so many ways of making it as cultures involved: New York style, British style, cuajada-based, baked, twice-baked, refrigerated only… even the Japanese have a trendy variety.

I’m starting with a German cheesecake, which typically uses quark and a fresh dough base instead of buttery crushed cookies. Quark is cheese curds, i.e., the proteins that coagulate when enough acid is added to milk.

This new recipe series (look for cheesecake on the right!) is not intended to be a rigorous comparison, we would need a controlled, blinded studyfor that, and cheesecake is good, yes, but in moderation. Let’s instead record the results as case studies, and maybe in a little while we fancy a nice retrospective analysis base on literature data.

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Cherry Streusel Cheesecake

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  • 1 egg
  • 300 g flour
  • 150 g butter
  • 80 g sugar

Combine the ingredients until the dough is homogeneous.

Wrap in cling film and let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan.

Roll the dough and place on a 30×20 cm baking tray lined with backing paper.

Bake for 15 minutes, and increase the oven temperature to 180°C fan once the tray is out..

For the Streusel

  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 g flour

Put the ingredients in a bowl and rub them using your index finger and thumb until the consistence resembles breadcrumbs.

Let cool in the fridge, covered.
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For the filling

  • zest of one lemon
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 180 g sugar
  • 750 g quark, 0.1% fat
  • 4 eggs
  • 80 g butter
  • 75 g wheat semolina
  • 1 tsp backing powder 
  • 1 pack of vanilla pudding powder (37g)
  • 350 g sour cherries (pitted)

Mix the quark, sugar, egg yolks and lemon (zest and juice).

Add the melted butter.

Combine the vanilla pudding powder, backing powder and semolina and mix with the quark.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed and fold into the quark filling.

Finally fold in the cherries (drained and lightly dried by tapping with paper tissue).

Pour the filling on the shortcrust pasty and extend carefully.

Finally sprinkle the streusel on top and bake at 180°C fan for 30 to 35 minutes.

Let cool and cut in squares.

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Lebkuchen

On the evening of the 5th of January, the Three Kings come by to bring presents to all well-behaved kids. Here they were welcomed with sweets, in a clumsy attempt to gain their favour and encourage them to leave one present or two amongst the coal. The sweets were German, just in case Christkind decided to pay a belated visit as well, the more the merrier!

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Lebkuchen

  • 70 g sugar
  • 20 ml water
  • 200 g honey
  • 1 egg
  • 0.25 tsp vanilla extract (or 5 g vanilla sugar)
  • 160 g rye flour
  • 160 g white flour
  • 30 ml milk
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 1.5 g bicarbonate of soda
  • zest of half a lemon
  • Ground spices (Lebkuchengewürz)
    • 10 g cinammon
    • 2.5 g clove
    • 0.5 g allspices
    • 0.5 g nutmeg
    • 0.5 g cardamom
    • 0.5 g ginger
  • Dark chocolate
Boil the sugar with the water and stir in the honey, then let the mixture cool down to 30 °C.
Whisk the egg with the spices until foamy.
Add the honey and egg mixtures to the flour and combine thoroughly.
Dissolve the baking powder in half the milk and the bicarbonate in the other half, and then incorporate each one to the dough separately.
Wrap the dough tight in clingfilm and let cool overnight in the fridge.
The following day, roll the dough to 0.5 cm and cut out the cookies with your favourite cookie cutters. Place the cookies in a greased baking tray and brush them with milk. Bake for 15 minutes at 160 °C fan.
Let the cookies cool in a wire rack and then melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water and dip their bottom in it. Place on clingfilm, chocolate side down, until it solidifies.
The cookies will be a bit tough when just made, but they will get softer if left for a couple of days in an airtight container.
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Herrencreme in Cookie Cups

Herrencreme is the typical German Christmas day dessert (at least in my photographer’s house…), and this version comes from his father’s bag of culinary wonders.

Fans of eating even the plate as we are, we considered pimping the Herrencreme up with a chocolate cup, it did the Eaton Mess justice after all… But since the Herrencreme already has some chocolate, we tried a new variation.

Sweet Merry Christmas!

Herrencreme in cookie cups

Herrencreme in Cookie Cups

Herrencreme is a mixture of vanilla pudding (kindly provided by the German backing superhero Dr. Oëtker), whipped cream and dark chocolate, with a good splash of rum… lecker!

For the Sugar Cookie Cups

  • 225 g softened butter
  • 130 g sifted powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 270 g sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp NaCl

Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and salt at low speed until combined. With a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 1 cm disk in between two plastic wrap layers. Seal the corners with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min (until firm).

Cut out 5 cm circles and place them on the greased back of the cups of an overturned 12-cup muffin tin, leaving empty cups in between. Gently press each round over the top of each muffin cup and down the sides about a couple cm. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Bake at 130 °C fan for 20 min, until golden brown. Let the muffin tin cool slightly on a wire rack and then lift each cookie by sliding a knife under the edge (don’t wait too much or they will become fragile, but not to worry, freeze the broken ones, there’s plenty we can do with them…). Makes around 20 of muffin-tin back cookies.

For the Herrencreme

  • 0.5 l milk
  • 3/4 packet of Vanilla Pudding Powder (around 30 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 150 ml whipped cream
  • 50 g dark chocolate shavings (or more…)

Mix well the milk, egg and pudding powder and then add the salt and sugar. Heat until it thickens and let cool, mixing every couple of minutes.

When the pudding is cold, mix in the rum and fold in chocolate and whipped cream.

Spoon the Herrencreme into the cookie cups and enjoy!

 

It’s not difficult to break one cup or two when attempting to lift them from the tray, but not to worry, we tested the crumbled cookie+Herrencrem combination and it got our quality control stamp.

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Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte Centenary!

The Black Forest Cake is 100 years old today. Viel Glück zum Geburtstag!

It seems that it was baker Josef Keller who first decided to mix cherries, kirsch and cream in a cake and, although he was born near the Black Forest in Germany, he first served it in the Café near Bonn where he worked at the time.

I couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating the day than with an attempt to reproduce the recipe at home.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

This recipe comes from Chefkoch.de, so it’s the proper German version!

For the cake

  • 5 eggs
  • 175 g sugar
  • 10 g of vanilla sugar (I used a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead…)
  • 125 g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g cornflour
  • 15 g cocoa powder

Line the bottom of a 23 cm round tin (don´t grease the edges or it won´t rise!) and preheat the oven at 160 °C fan. Whisk egg whites, together with two tablespoons of the sugar, until stiff. Beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and vanilla. Fold the egg yolks into the egg whites. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and cornflour, sift and fold into the egg mixture.

Spoon into the tin and bake 25 to 30 minutes.

For the cherry filling

  • 350 g cherries in kirsch
  • 250 ml of the kirsch cherries juice
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 25 g sugar
  • 3 tbsp kirsch liquor

Drain the cherries. Mix the cornflour and sugar and add 4 tbsp of the drained kirsch juice to make a paste. Bring the rest of the kirsch cherry juice to boil, remove from the heat and slowly add the cornflour-sugar paste. Mix with a spoon until the paste starts to thicken, bring back to the heat, add the drained cherries and continue to mix with the spoon until properly thickened. Add a little bit of extra kirsch liquor now if you want it more intense. Remove from the heat and let cool down.

Kirsch Cherries

For the cream filling

  • 800 g double cream
  • 40 g sugar
  • 10 g vanilla sugar (or a bit of vanilla extract…)

Mix all ingredients and whip the cream.

I was researching online which is the best method to get really stiff whipped cream, and apparently using a hand-held blender seems to be the answer… So that’s what I did, no gelatine or oder additives.

For decoration

  • Chocolate shavings
  • Glacé Cherries (I wanted to save every single one of the kirsch cherries for the filling…)
  • (Plus some of the cream above mentioned)

Once cold, cut the cake in 3 tiers and sprinkle some kirsch liquor over them. Add the cherry filling over the first tier, and then whipped cream. Place the second tier, spread more cream on top (no cherry this time, this cake is a cream-lover paradise!) and finish with the third tier. Cover the cake in cream and decorate with chocolate sprinkles and cherries.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

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Guten Appetit!