Tag Archives: cheesecake

What’s Been Cooking? “First month in Münster” edition

Hello there! Long time no blog, I know. My excuse is that F and I were moving countries. After a wonderful 6.5 years in London, we decided it was time for new adventures in a smaller place with a less hectic pace of life, so we moved to Münster, Germany at the end of May. It was hard to leave our friends and communities in London but we are glad to be in Münster, where we already have a good network thanks to F’s friends from his university days.

Part of moving into a new flat in Germany required buying and installing a kitchen. No, not just the appliances – an entire kitchen. Apparently it’s a thing in Germany. Kitchens are seen as “furniture,” and most flats come unfurnished, so…no kitchens! (Or at least they aren’t a guarantee.) Once a kitchen is installed in a flat or house, if those tenants move out they can either take the kitchen with them (yes, people do that) or they can sell it to the new people moving in.

Anyway, designing and buying a kitchen was a new experience for both of us. They are not cheap, but ideally we’ll be in this flat for the next 5-10 years so it’s a worthy investment and we both enjoy cooking and baking. We ended up at KüchenTreff Münster and had a great experience from designing through installation. I’d recommend them if you’re in the Münster area and in the market for a kitchen.

All that was a long-winded way of getting to the point of this post: what F and I have been cooking (and baking) in our new kitchen over the past month! Here goes, in no particular order:

I made our favorite Käsekuchen (German cheesecake) for F’s birthday in mid-June. He returned the favor for my birthday two weeks later by making our now go-to cherry pie from Stella Parks at Serious Eats.

June was Spargel-Saison in northwestern Germany. Spargel is white asparagus, which I never came across until visiting western Germany and Belgium in May/June. It’s a thing, and for many – like F – it’s something to be enjoyed in multitudes for a short time every year. It tastes completely different from green asparagus – milder and sweeter, to me. Peel it, then wrap it in a foil packet with butter and salt and roast it in a 200C/400F oven for 45-60 minutes. Yum.

Back to baking, the first thing I made in our new oven was a batch of my go-to granola. Needless to say, more batches have followed.

Anita Bean’s lentil-stuffed peppers from her Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook made for a tasty and light dinner on a warm summery evening.

We don’t usually celebrate the Fourth of July (American Independence Day), but F wanted to have friends over for a barbecue and he asked if flag cakes are actually a thing. I wasn’t sure, but I checked smitten kitchen and – lo and behold – she had a recipe for one. A classic yellow cake base (it stayed quite moist, maybe thanks to buttermilk) is slathered with cream cheese frosting and topped with berries in the shape of the American flag. I think it’s one of the most patriotic things I’ve ever done or made… It was a hit with our German friends and I’d definitely make the cake again, with or without the flag design.

What have you been cooking recently?

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Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

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On a quiet weekend a few weeks ago, F and I teamed up to make this chocolate peanut butter cheesecake from smitten kitchen. It was a fun project to do together. I won’t reproduce the recipe here because we did exactly as Deb said. The only differences were that we used a combination of “plain” and extra-dark chocolate, our crust used chocolate digestive biscuits half-covered in chocolate (no plain chocolate wafers here), and we didn’t make the extra ganache for the top.

The cheesecake turned out just as Deb described it. She does warn that it’s rich — F and I agreed that everything together was a bit much. So delicious, but a few bites are enough to saturate. He loved the chocolate crust with bottom fudge layer on its own, and I loved the peanut butter cheesecake filling on its own. That worked out well! If I made this again, I’d either leave out the fudge layer or make a crust from plain (non-chocolate) wafer cookies.

Recipe: Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake)

Updated 13 June 2019

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This Käsekuchen is one of F’s specialties and favorites. It’s a baked, German-style cheesecake that he introduced me to some years ago. When we first made it together back in 2013, we splurged on a food scale and a springform cake pan in order to make it, because the recipe F used has grams rather than cups.

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This is no American-style cheesecake. The only cheese in this Käsekuchen is quark, a tangy, very low-fat fresh cheese common in Germany. It tastes a bit like yogurt, but has a thicker, spreadable consistency and is technically cheese. Instant pudding — use custard if you’re in the UK — acts as a thickening agent for the filling. The combination of quark and pudding lends a pleasant tang to the final product, and it’s not too sweet.

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Another difference between Käsekuchen and American-style cheesecake is the crust: in the States, cheesecake crust is usually some kind of crushed graham cracker or cookie deal; Käsekuchen requires a proper dough that smells and tastes almost like a sugar cookie. Delicious.

have some

Nutritionally, you could do much worse than Käsekuchen. Yes, there’s sugar and butter and cream, but the quark is virtually fat-free and you can use mostly semi-skimmed milk to keep things leaner. It makes a great breakfast or afternoon snack with a cup of Kaffee!

Käsekuchen (German Cheesecake) (adapted/translated from this recipe)

Ingredients

  • Crust:
    • 330g white flour
    • 130g granulated sugar
    • 130g unsalted butter, slightly softened at room temperature
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Filling:
    • 1kg quark (if in Germany use, Magerquark, the very low fat version)
    • 300g granulated sugar
    • 2 packages instant vanilla pudding (use instant custard if you’re in the UK – I can’t tell you exactly how much because we ballparked it)
    • 100mL sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
    • 150mL single cream
    • 350mL semi-skimmed milk (use any combination of milk products adding up to 500-600mL)
    • 4 large eggs
    • Optional: zest of 1 lemon

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
  • Make the crust: Flour a flat surface. Put all the crust ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an electric hand or stand mixer until the butter forms small balls. Use your hands to finish forming the mixture into dough. Roll the dough out on a floured surface, then press it into the bottom and sides of a springform cake pan.
  • Make the filling: Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and blend with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the cake pan with the crust.
  • Carefully slide the cake into the oven and bake for 75-90 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and the middle is mostly set — you may have to cover it with foil about halfway through so the top doesn’t get too dark.
  • Let cool for at least two hours and preferably in the fridge overnight. You can speed up cooling in the freezer if you can’t wait to try a piece.

Enjoy!