Showing posts with label Kwarktaart (Dutch Quark Pie). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kwarktaart (Dutch Quark Pie). Show all posts


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.

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!