This recipe is for a cake, a German cheesecake to be presise. Germany is big on cakes. I have never been to a country with so many delicious cakes on offer in some many bakers and cake shops. They are also a large part of their birthday celebrations. If you have never been to a German birthday party, let me suggest you find yourselves a German friend and get invited to one! If you like cakes you will not be disappointed.
A birthday party is also a great way to relax, meet friends and family, catch up on people’s lives and share experiences. It is an occasion to meet people face to face and spend quality time with them. This is equally true in the home or work environments. In fact with the increased stress and pressures in the work environment, I believe it is very beneficial to take a few minutes out and celebrate someone’s birthday.
It was with disappointment, but I guess with little surprise, that I read that the killjoys in the UK are at it again….. A recent article on the BBC News website stated that “Office cake culture is a ‘danger to health’ ” and then they go on to say “Having cake at work to celebrate colleagues’ birthdays, engagements……… is a danger to health” according to a senior dentist.
I know we should try and keep somewhere near the optimum weight and take care of our teeth. I also know sugar can have a detrimental effect on both. However if we were to actually follow the advice of all the specialists out there, we could probably only live off water, and then only in moderation! I believe that one of the key negative factors to our health is the level of stress we are subject to. The constant bombardment of advice on what we can and can’t eat is certainly doing nothing to reduce the levels of stress in our lives and can certainly detract from our enjoyment of a good meal.
I am always keen on promoting exercise, eating in moderation and a balanced diet….. but food should be far more than calorie counting and a long list of prohibited foodstuffs. Yes we need food to fuel our bodies, but the stoking of our internal fires can be a very enjoyable process too. We ought to be enjoying our food instead of constantly looking over our shoulders worrying about every little bit of food we put into our mouths!
Anyway, back to the recipe, which for once is a little more complex than what I normally publish. It is not that difficult however and I do hope I can convince you to give it a try.
Firstly, the pastry base. If you are not familiar with making pastry you could buy ready made frozen pastry. If you do want to give it a try though, the good news is that this is an easy pastry to make. If you struggle to get it into the tin then no problem either, as any holes can be easily filled by pressing in a little more dough to cover the hole. Secondly the circle does not have to be perfectly round, in fact an uneven edge looks just as good.
As for the vanilla sugar, I always have a jar filled with sugar and a couple of vanilla pods. After a few weeks the whole jar of sugar is infused with vanilla. The other alternative of course is to use ordinary sugar and a little vanilla essence.
The original recipe uses cranberry jam from a jar. I chose to make my own, and from red currants, as I have plenty in the freezer, but jam works fine. I made my jam a bit sharp as it counters the sweetness of the cheesecake. If you make your own jam, just add sugar a little at a time until it is how you like it.
As for the rest, although there are quite a few ingredients all you have to do is beat them together!!
Käsekuchen mit Preiselbeerkonfitüre
Serves 8 people
1 Small egg
125g Red Currants
350g Cream cheese
125g Quark (Queso Fresco)
75g Vanilla sugar
25g Ground wheat semolina
1½ tsp Cornflour
Use an 18cm diameter loose based round tin.
Take the butter, eggs and cheeses out of the fridge so that they can come up to room temperature.
Lightly butter the mould.
Measure the base ingredients, with the exception of the egg, into a bowl then using your fingertips rub the ingredients together until they form a loose breadcrumb-like mixture.
Beat the egg then tip a little into the dry ingredients. Using the back of a knife, make cutting movements through the dry ingredients, turning the bowl slightly each time. In this way the breadcrumbs will start to come together and form a pastry dough.
Keep adding the egg, a little at a time, until the dough has just come together. You will probably need around half the egg. Too much egg will make the dough too soft and difficult to roll out later. It needs to be pliable but not brittle nor too soft!
Warp the dough in cling-film and leave in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the fruit sauce. Put the fruit and sugar in a small saucepan.
The fruit can be fresh or frozen. Heat gently until the berries start to pop. Mash gently with the back of a fork.
Mix the cornflour with a small amount of cold water. Tip about half into the fruit mixture and gently boil stirring gently until the cornflour is well mixed into the berries and the sauce has started to thicken. Continue adding more cornflour, little by little, heating and stirring, until the sauce has thickened to a jam-like consistency.
Take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool.
Meanwhile weight the filling ingredients into a bowl and beat until well mixed and smooth.
You may want to start off with a wooden spoon before finishing off with a balloon whisk. I find it easier to beat together the drier ingredients together first then add in the eggs right at the end. It all depends how soft your cheeses are.
Using the loose base of the mould as a measure, roll out the pastry until it is 3cm wider all around the edge. i.e. to a diameter 6cm greater than the mould base.
This pastry needs to go into the mould to line the bottom and part way up the sides. The easiest way to achieve this is to take the base out of the mould, lay it on the work surface then cover with the prepared pastry. Gently fold over the edge of the pastry towards the middle of the base.
Gently lift up the base and pop back into the tin.
Unfold the pastry gently pressing it up against the sides of the mould.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (Fan assisted 150°C)
Spread about two-thirds of the fruit sauce over the bottom of the pastry base.
Peel and small dice the apple. Cover the jam layer, using most, if not all of the apple.
Pour in the cheese mixture. Place small spoonfuls of the remaining fruit sauce over the cheese mixture then swirl in with a fork.
Bake in the lower part of the oven for 45-55 minutes.
When fully baked, leave to cool on a wire rack before removing from the tin.
Last but certainly not least I wanted to thank Ursula and Roland, not only for sending me this recipe, but for all the recipes they have sent in mails, magazine and books. They give me an opportunity to practice my German whilst trying out delicious local dishes. THANKS!
So as I said earlier, a more complex recipe but I do hope you give it a try, it is well worth the effort. As always, let me know what you think or drop me a line with any questions you may have.
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
Imperial to Metric Measurement:
1 oz – 28g
1 lb – 16 oz – 454g
1 gill – ¼ pint – 142ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge