Baking| Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry Sauce … Happy Mothers Day

“I firmly believe that kids don’t want your understanding. They want your trust, your compassion, your binding love and your car keys, but you try to understand them and you’re in big trouble.”
Erma Brombeck

Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry Sauce Happy Mothers Day to all you rocking mothers out there! It’s the toughest job in the world, frightening at the worst of times, yet rewarding when you least expect it.  These charming little Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherries are to celebrate what we’ve been doing for days, months, years!!CherriesI love Erma Brombeck, and her words hit a home run each time I read them. “I interviewed sitters for six months. It’s depressing when you realize no one wants to be paid for what you’ve been doing for years for nothing.Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry SauceWe are a family that lives for dessert. Dessert in every avatar, from simple stewed fruit like apples or peaches to a good baked cheesecake, it’s the end of the day which brings the ‘sweet teeth‘ together! These little cheesecakes were the perfect delicious end that day.Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry SauceCherriesOh did I tell you CHERRIES are finally here? They are indeed!! Loads of them. Yay for summer. I ♥ stonefruit!!Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry SauceAfter the wonderful verdict on the Vanilla Quark Cheesecake {Vanilla Quarktorte} with Roasted Balsamic Strawberries, I knew that quark was going to appear on my menu often … and I wasn’t wrong. My next batch of quark as ready and I was itching to experiment yet again.Cooking with quarkSome found it’s way into a warm potato salad, and more in these North African inspired preserved lime stir fried chicken for wraps. I had a whole batch to play around with, and while it was draining in the fridge I had a brainwave. I really loved the biscuit like base of the Daring Bakers Armenian Nutmeg Walnut Cake. It was easy to make and seemed a versatile base for bakes.Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry SauceSo these little cheesecakes were inspired from the Daring Bakers challenge of May and my recent Vanilla Quarktorte. It made sense somewhere in my head to try and bring the two together. This time around, I went with what I enjoy most – petite fours, or small individual desserts.

petit four is a small confectionery generally eaten at the end of a meal or served as part of dessert and has an interesting history. The name is from the French petit four, meaning “small oven“. Petits fours were traditionally made during the cooling process of coal-powered brick ovens in the 18th century. This was due to coal’s high burning temperature, relative to wood, and its expense at the time. Wasting the heat produced was not an option.Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry SauceThere are two different categories of petits fours. Petits fours secs that include a variety of small desserts, and Petits fours glacés are iced or decorated in some way. There are also Petits fours salés  which are bite-sized salted appetizers.

I used a similar cherry sauce topping in this Bittersweet Chocolate Marquise with Crème Chantilly & Balsamic Cherry Sauce about a year ago, last Mothers Day! This morning, I got cards from the kids, and an ‘errands‘ booklet {I can ask him to brush the dog 100 times, entry into room etc} from the pre-teen, and a little poem too. I like his poem ‘Trouble‘ the best!Mothers Day PoemMini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Summary: Mini baked vanilla quark cheesecakes, cooled then chilled overnight. Serve topped with a delicious balsamic cherry sauce! Makes 12

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Crust
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 40g brown sugar
  • 90g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
  • Filling
  • 470g quark cheese (I used homemade full fat quark}
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 30g cornflour
  • 130g (90g+40g) Castor sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp kirsch
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Balsamic Cherries
  • 500g cherries
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kirsch {optional}

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, and grease lightly. Grease 12 3″ dessert rings {you could use 8″ spring form tin too and make 1 big cheesecake}
  2. Biscuit Crust
  3. Place the flour and almonds in the bowl of your processor and pulse until the almonds are ground {4-5 times}.
  4. Add the brown sugar and pulse a couple of times to mix.
  5. Now add the chilled butter and process until you get a breadcrumb like mix. {You can do this by hand too, but a processor is far quicker and easier}
  6. Divide between the 12 tins and pat firmly to create a base.
  7. Place tins on the foil lined baking sheet.
  8. Divide filling equally over the bases {not more than 2/3 full}, and bake at 180C for 35 minutes, until firm. They will puff up towards the end of baking, and then settle back in while cooling.
  9. Allow to cool completely in oven, leaving the door ajar.
  10. Cover well and chill before serving, preferably overnight. Serve topped with balsamic cherry sauce.
  11. Filling
  12. Place the quark cheese, egg yolks, cornflour, 90g Castor sugar, scraped vanilla bean, cream, kirsch and vanilla bean powder if using into the bowl of your food processor and run on medium speed till smooth. {Thermomix: Speed 6, 10 seconds}
  13. Beat the whites with the remaining 40g sugar to firm peaks. Gently fold this through the quark cheese mixture.
  14. Balsamic Cherry Sauce
  15. Place ingredients other than kirsch in a non reactive pan and simmer until the cherries release their juices and begin to get soft and hold their shape, about 4-5 minutes. {Don’t overcook or the cherries will break down and lose shape}
  16. Remove the cherries to a bowl. Place pan with the liquid on medium high heat and reduce the juices to about a third, nice and thick. Stir in the kirsch if using. Cool completely and chill until required {Can be made 2-3 days before}.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

{Baking} QUARK CHEESECAKE WITH FRESH CHERRY PIE TOPPING

“The world belongs to the energetic.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Yes, I made quark again because the little Cherry and Matcha Cheesecake Pots I recently made were very enticing. I thought I must make the dessert a second time as it was absolutely delicious… that thought changed when I stumbled upon a comment by Magdalena from Tasty Colours on David Lebovitz’s French Tomato Tart. I set off to check her blog. Such a fun discovery. A great blog  with pretty pictures, with recipes that made me wander deeper and deeper. Magdalena,  who was born in Krakow,  is a food blogger living in Paris, and she attempts to take the best of Polish food and present it keeping with current culinary trends.

There I found a Polish cheesecake recipe which used a Polish curd cheese, twaróg, and this was what I wanted to make - Kraków Style Cheesecake. My fascination with soft curd cheese continues; I had found a new one to obsess about! I left Magdalena a comment, and the day wound up with the sweet girl and me mailing each other into the night. She was ever so helpful and forthcoming, offering me plenty of suggestions and substitutes, mainly because our ingredients are poles apart. So was the Polish curd cheese which Madga said was much firmer than quark, and unlike quark, could be sliced too. That recipe would then have to wait, but I did have cheesecake on my mind.
So I made my own version of cheesecake, to be served with a fruit topping {Quark can be a little tangy, so it pairs well with fruit}. I think I overbrowned my cheesecake a teeny bit in my general enthusiasm. That because electricity was back after an 8 hour outage, and thereafter I was possessed to keep baking! Phew… the extra browning didn’t do much harm though, and tasted very nice!  Upon tasting, the daughter immediately gave it a high five and pleaded for another slice … testimony to the fact that it was good!! Never easy to please a teen!!

Quark Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Pie Filling
Biscuit base
200gms graham crackers or digestive biscuits
50gms dark chocolate, grated {optional}
4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
Filling
500gms quark {recipe for homemade quark here}
100ml softly whipped top of the milk cream, or melted butter
180gms vanilla / granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsps flour
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 quantity fresh cherry pie topping {recipe here}

Method:

Biscuit case
In a bowl, mix the cookie crumbs, grated chocolate {if using} and melted butter till it clumps together. Turn into the base of a spring form tin, and smoothen out to make a base, working a little up halfway up the sides if you like too. Use the base of a glass tumbler to smoothen it out. Place if freezer for 10 minutes, while you prepare the filling.
Filling:
Put the sugar, scraped vanilla bean and quark in a mixing bowl, and beat till smooth.
Add the cream / butter, eggs, vanilla extract and flour and beat again for a minute.
Turn into the chilled biscuit case, and bake at 150C for 1 1/2 hours, until set. {A knife inserted into the centre should come out clean}.
Leave to cool in the oven, and then cover the cheesecake {left in the baking tin} with foil, and chill overnight.
Take out of tin, place on serving platter, top with fresh cherry pie topping. Chill until served!
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

Quark Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Pie Filling made the Foodbuzz Top 9 today! The Foodbuzz Top 9 is a photo-driven collection of top-buzzed posts within the Foodbuzz community. Congratulations and thanks for being a part of Foodbuzz!

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

GETTING CREATIVE WITH DARING BAKERS-MULBERRY CHEESECAKE!

“Marge, it’s 3 AM. Shouldn’t you be baking?”
Homer Simpson
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. We’re back again & with another great challenge. It’s the Daring Bakers time of the month again, & this time it’s CHEESECAKE!! What caught my attention about this month’s challenge was the announcement : April 2009 Challenge – Time to get creative! The real challenge this month is to take this basic recipe and play with it. Make it unique. Make a showstopper of a dessert. Add flavor, sauces, decorations – dress it up and show it off. I tried!!For this month’s challenge, Jenny has picked a basic cheesecake recipe, courtesy of her friend Abbey T., who has tweaked and played with this recipe. She has made many variations, and anyone who knows Abbey, knows to ask her to bring a cheesecake!
Was surprisingly quick on the challenge this month; surprised myself too. Actually had these beautiful mulberries that the fellow who works for me brought home one evening. We chomped some, then some more, but there were far too many. Mulberries, one of a clutch of Indian berries, are a sign of Spring, but have a very SHORT shelf life. They just drop off the tree once ripe, making a royal mess of the place. They are beautifully coloured, & are plump & juicy.Checked the Daring Bakers forum that morning, & saw the challenge. Yippee, time to put the mulberries to some productive use! Followed the recipe as is, except for the cream cheese, used curd cheese instead, & got a wonderful cheesecake, though not as rich & creamy as the original would have been. I used a blend of digestive biscuits & almonds in the biscuit base.I flavoured the batter with concentrated mulberry syrup. The syrup was quite difficult to make coz the berries don’t let go of their stalks easily. I macerated the berries for an hour with sugar & then pushed them through a sieve. Phew … tough work. In the end though, they didn’t lend a huge outstanding kick of flavour, just a gentle mild berry flavouring.
The cheesecake itself was easy to bake, with a set of clear cut instructions from the host. You can find the recipe for ‘Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake’ here @ JennyBakes.com. The water bath ensures that the cake doesn’t crack on top while baking. I lined the inside of my tin with double foil too to ensure that no water seeped in. It didn’t, but resulted in an uneven side, so I covered the sides with slivered almonds to get rid of the flaw. My base got a bit soggy; suspect that was because of the mulberry syrup … The recipe itself – a WINNER!!!I did the top with a mirror glaze coz I remembered seeing a really old DB post at Meeta’s @ WFLH for a Strawberry Mirror Cake. More than anything else, I thought it just added to the finish & general appearance of the cheesecake, & gave me a chance to experiment. I love the contrast the ‘mirrored’ look offers. All in all, it was a fun challenge … & I did procrastinate typing out the post. I was so excited that I completed the challenge well in time, yet kept postponing putting my words down. Here I am, on D day, editing pictures & typing madly. Sigh…
Thanks a million Jenny, for such a fun & creative challenge, and for making ‘Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake’ famous, & very popular indeed!

Check out what delightful creations the rest of our Daring Bakers have been serving up this month here.

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