Oh lord, I am in a spin about the challenge this week. My old friend Iain is visiting for the weekend and I have barely had a chance to think about what to do, never mind the demands of playing Mein Host this weekend. Bread for breakfast and a pudding for dinner are required, but what can I make that will mean I am not tied to the kitchen but will still stretch me a little? Well so far I have got little further than feeling I want to stay in Germany more for sentimental reasons than any other.
So pudding first. I do love a baked cheesecake and you will be relieved to know that I will not be waxing lyrical about the joys of German on this one. Kaesekuchen most boringly translates literally back into Cheesecake in English. However Cheesecake does have the potential for much Ooooh Matroning over the essential wobble that is needed if you are not to over bake it. Now I have done a few of these so why take this on as part of the challenge? Well there are two things I have never tried before: baking in a pastry case rather than on a biscuit base, and using Quark rather than cream cheese. Both of these are more typisch Deutsch and both are new so I think meet the baking challenge criteria.
The pastry case has always intrigued me as I have wondered how on earth to avoid the soggy bottom. The sides of the pastry case have to be a few inches high so the normal blind baking technique would only work with a kilotonne of baking beans, so a bit of googling is needed on that one.
Quark is the traditional German ingredient for Kaesekuchen and from what I have read it makes for a cheesier taste – always a plus for me. Quark is a sort of cottage cheese and is getting more available than it used to be, but I need the high fat variety for a fuller more rich flavour which may be harder to find. The supermarket aisles will need a little hunting and I only have tomorrow to do it. Hmmmmmmm……
So onto the bread. Now German bread is superb. Go to a Baeckerei in Germany and you will see a gorgeous variety of breads and the Germans do love their bread. After all this is the country that call supper Abendbrot – literally Evening Bread – a repast of bread cured meats and cheese. I possess a German bread cookbook but it has always flummoxed me a little as the author forgot I was going to be doing my shopping in England, but I am going for it and making a Heidebrot. It has caught my eye because it uses an interesting knotting technique similar to a pretzel, a first again, and it has an interesting name – “Heide” in German means either Heath or Heathen or Gentile so I am now intrigued to know the origin of this one. So that’s it. I have 3 hours on Saturday morning to get everything going and finished before Iain turns up …. and oh yes I forgot to mention trying out the new oven which arrived this week to replace the rust bucket my home steaming method has turned our oven into.
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I baked blind a cheesecake with pastry about 2.5 inches and lined the pastry with greaseproof and put a slightly smaller cake tin inside and then I only needed baking beans to slot in the gap. Worked a treat. And when you take the smaller cake tin out, the beans fall into the middle so easy to get out.
Well, breaking in a new oven with its possibly different heating characteristics is anoher variable so there’s a lot that can go wrong ith the cheesecake. I’ve used the same technique as Ciarán and it worked for me too. After last week’s triumph I am thinking of booking a regular spot on Sunday for sampling! Good luck.
can i put in a request for zwetschgenkuchen and zwiebeltorte? two of my all time German favourites. oh, and can we come and taste? loving your
Oh yes – that could definitely go on the list