Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kwarktaart

Last week, we made kwark, a dairy food that has a key role in the Dutch kitchen. Whether used as a base for savory dips, nutritional snacks or in cooking, kwark is healthy, light and pleasant. So what better than to whip it up with some good old cream, add a pleasing dose of sugar, throw in some cookies and butter, load the whole thing up with fresh, seasonal fruit and make ourselves a traditional old-fashioned Dutch kwarktaart? Exactly, not much. If a little bit is good for you, a lot is better, right? Right :-)

The kwarktaart is a traditional choice for dessert, for birthday celebrations or for any other celebration for that matter, whether it's made up or real. We do love a party, and any excuse will do! The taart can be served plain or flavored (usually with fruity flavors such as lemon or mandarin orange), but don't let that stop you. Nobody says you can't make a lovely chocolate kwarktaart so if that's what you're craving, go for it!

Summertime especially is a great time for kwarktaart. Served chilled, with a good cup of coffee, and adorned with seasonal fresh fruit, it is a pleasant reminder of the goody good goodness that Holland has to offer.

Kwarktaart
10 cookies (approx. 1 1/2 cups when crumbled)
9 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons (75 grm) butter
1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla essence (or 1 envelope vanilla sugar)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1 envelope gelatin (or 3 sheets)
2 cups (500 ml) kwark*

Put the cookies in a plastic bag and roll into crumbs with the help of a rolling pin. Add to a bowl. If you selected fairly bland cookies, like tea biscuits or Maria cookies, mix in 2 tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon. If the cookies you picked are sweet and flavorful on their own, like Bastogne, speculaas, or Oreos, you can skip the sugar and cinnamon. Melt the butter, pour it over the cookie crumbs and mix until the crumbs are wet and soaked through.

Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of a spring form pan. Press the buttery cookie crumbles in the bottom and flatten with the back of a spoon, so that the layer is fairly even. Put the pan in the fridge so the cookie bottom can harden.

Gelatin Powder: mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with the contents of the gelatin envelope in a bowl. Bring the cup of milk to a boil and pour over the sugary mixture. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved.

Gelatin Sheets: soak the sheets in a bowl of cold water, for at least ten minutes, but longer is better. Warm up the cup of milk, squeeze the water out of the sheets and stir them into the warm milk. Stir until they've fully dissolved.

Whip the heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla. Stir the whipping cream into the kwark, and carefully fold in the last tablespoon of the sugar, if needed, for extra sweetness. Taste first!

When the warm milk has cooled down, carefully stir it into the kwark and whipped cream, until it's a smooth, creamy liquid.

Pour this into a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan. Tap the sides carefully to pop any air bubbles, cover the pan with plastic film or aluminum foil, and place the pan back in the fridge. Let rest overnight for best results, preferably 24 hours, but at least a good four to six hours. Test the consistency before you pop open the spring form: if the mixture has not set, leave it a couple of hours longer to set. 

Carefully slide a knife along the rim to loosen the cake. Spread with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges or any other fruit you may like.



I made a quick puree from the leftover strawberry trimmings (cut up, and simmer in a small saucepan with a tiny bit of sugar until it has reached jam consistency, then cool) and spread it over the top of the cake before layering it with the fruit. It's a great way to use up all the scraps and contributes to the strawberry flavor. You can do the same with any other fruit you may use.

*If there is no quark available, or you don't want or can spend the time making it yourself, try using plain Icelandic skyr instead. Whole milk plain yogurt works as well, as long as you can suspend it for a couple of hours so that the whey can drain and the product thickens. If the yogurt has any kind of gum, starch or anything else besides bacteria and dairy (read the label), the whey will probably remain suspended in the yogurt and not drain. Check before you buy!

20 comments:

  1. Just found your blog looking for a recipe for Arretje's Cake, because a friend in Brazil asked for it...
    I am Dutch, but I live in South Africa since 2008. I did not have any idea that Holland has it's 'own' kitchen. Really NO idea. When people here in South Africa ask me about the Dutch cuisine, I say: "Hmm, we don't really have our own kitchen. Everything is stolen from other countries." The only thing I could come up with so far is hutspot, which I make every year on Heritage Day when people come to our house and everyone brings a traditional dish of their own country.
    Reading your blog, I think I can make something different next Heritage Day... Thanks a lot.
    Rinette

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  2. My girlfriend (chef)and Me (assist) are going to try this!

    Thanks alot for the information,

    Best Regards,
    FM.

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  3. This looks divine . Please tell me what is 'kwark'. Is it something like cheesecake ? I' would love to try it.Regards Annette Els.

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  4. Constance MacDonald.February 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Hoi,

    Ik heb als Canadese ruim 25 jaar in Nederland, Den Helder, gewoond en ben nu weer terug in Canada, Halifax N.S, sinds ruim een jaar. Mijn nederlandse man en ik verwachten nu samen onze eerste kind, ik zelf heb 2 uit een vorige relatie, beide geboren in NL, en we zijn erg gek op nederlands eten. Ik kook en bak erg veel zelf en kwarktaart is een van de lekkerste dingen die ik zo mis. Alleen kan ik niet ontdekken wat de engelse naam voor kwark is. Als ik het op google vertaal krijg ik cottage cheese maar dat is zo klonterig en lijkt er totaal niet op. Wat is dan de juiste vertaling hier voor? Mijn man en kinderen (en ook ik zelf) zullen je zeer dankbaar zijn!
    Alvast hartlelijk dank, Constance.

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    Replies
    1. Curd cheese
      of Fresh cheese. Het is kaas maar dan net voordat het kaas is ;)

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    2. Just stumbled on this. I too make a Dutch Kwark taart "to die for". Am Dutch, but live in the US since 1978. I use SOUR CREAM as the base in my kwark taart. Soooo delicious and very light eating, not heavy like the traditional American style cheese cake.

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  5. Kwark in english is cottage cheese xox

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  6. Constance MacDonald-RademacherFebruary 15, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Thank you so much. After reading up some more on your wonderful site i found how to make the kwark at home. I am going to try this asap and will let you know how it came out. Again, i am soooo loveing your site! A++++!!!

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    Replies
    1. Constance, thank you so much for your kind comments, it is much appreciated! Kwark is called "quark" in English, oddly enough as it is not really available in this market, and is closest to a "fresh cheese". Cottage cheese, although similar in production, is known as Hüttenkäse in The Netherlands, and is obtained through a different method.

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  7. Cottage cheese is crumbly, use cream cheese which is smooth for cheese cake.

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  8. Quark is available in some (american) supermarkets. Fairways has it. Also www.Amazon.com has it. Just Google it. As a Dutchy in new york I do miss some dutch products like rookworst, Magere yoghurt, ontbijtje en swimming broodbeleg. Ook een rundervink ofzo. Hellas kennen ze dat hier niet. Dus erg fijn dat er veel online te bestellen is bij nederlandse winkels verspreid over amerika. De kwarktaart moet ik maar eens proverbs met quark, had ik nog niet gedaan. Kus lonneke

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    Replies
    1. Oh, ha ha engels toetsenbord. Ik bedoelde ontbijtkoek en sommig broodbeleg.

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  9. Kwark is similar to fromage frais which is easily available in the UK.
    Ria Lloyd

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  10. I use sourcream or plain yoghurt (canada) when asked to use kwark.

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  11. I am trying to find a molded cold dessert made with quark, anyone have some. I am searching on internet but so far nothing. Not a cake, cheesecake or pudding, but a cold jellied mold made with quark

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  12. I loved this dessert but never wrote a recipe, my mother in law was actually Belgian/Duch and they were such delicious desserts

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  13. I am trying to find a molded cold dessert made with quark, anyone have some. I am searching on internet but so far nothing. Not a cake, cheesecake or pudding, but a cold jellied mold made with quark

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  14. Here in Canada we can get Skyr - which is the Icelandic version of Kwark - in grocery stores.

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  15. Could I use Greek yogurt as a substitute for kwark?

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  16. Hello Marianne, you can use Greek yogurt or skyr instead of kwark. As there are so many different types of consistency with a commercial Greek yogurt, I would recommend using 3/4 cup of milk, instead of a full cup, to make sure the pie maintains its creaminess.

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