I can eat the whole cake on my own, as no one is interested in sharing in my gluttony of savoring one more mouthful of childhood joy. This super simple baked quark and semolina cheesecake was often made as I was a child, and I loved it every time. It would often be made to accompany a light meal like soup, to make it more of a meal. The golden crust, crunchy from semolina and butter, was always my favorite part, and the inside would be silky, lemony, soft like marshmallows.
This would have to be the dish that creates the feeling of home for me the most. With every bite I instantly see myself standing in front of the warm oven door, looking in, waiting, mixing bowls and beaters licked clean, and the smell of soup on the stove in the small warm kitchen. Sometimes mum would throw in a handful of sultanas, or a finely chopped apple. But I didn't care either way. I was always allowed to help, to fold in the egg whites at the end, or to pour in the sugar while the eggs and butter were being creamed together, or to "clean up" the bowl, spatula and beaters. Perhaps I just want to taste that sweet innocence of accomplishment, of putting that baking dish in the oven and watching it expand, grow, firm and get that glorious crispy tan.
It was disappointing when mum reported that she couldn't get the quark cheese at the supermarket anymore, and quark cake was no longer a regular feature on our weeknight meal roster. It took another 20 years or so for quark to become available again in our area, and this was the first thing that I made when I was able to get a container, there was no question about it. The recipe features as number 1, the first recipe that I recorded when I moved out of home and wanted my favorite home recipes from my mother's kitchen to guide me through the challenges of becoming a grown-up. And it still has that place in my mind, I think because it represented that sacred mother-daughter time where it almost felt like we were equals, accomplishing something. Those rare moments were formative in setting the foundation of my understanding the nature of creation, work and harvest, and framed my perspective on so many things in life. I am ever grateful for my mother's patience and embrace to work together in the kitchen.
Baked Quark Cheesecake
- 4 eggs separated, at room temperature
- 60g butter, at room temperature
- 500g quark cheese
- 80g fine semolina
- 80g white sugar (more or less to your liking)
- Grated rind of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Handful of sultanas or a finely chopped apple if desired
- Pre-heat the oven at 180 Degrees Celcius, and line a baking dish with paper, approx 20cm dish either square or round
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, and add the egg yokes one by one
- Add the lemon rind and quark and beat until combined
- Add in semolina and baking powder with the optional ingredients if you wish
- Beat the egg whites until stiff, pour in the quark mixture and gently fold until all egg whites are combined into the quark mixture
- Pour into the baking dish and bake for approx 40 mins or until the skewer comes out clean