My ‘Famous’ Baked Cheesecake (with Rote Grütze)

I might be slightly exaggerating when I call my cheesecake famous, hence the inverted commas, but I have several friends who will travel halfway around the world to eat it. Well, two friends, one in LA one in South Africa (two is several, right?) and they don’t come to London especially for my cheesecake, but if they are in town, I have to bake it for them. So I reckon I can stand by my earlier statement.

The recipe has been in my family for decades and is a firm favourite at just about every family gathering. It is really easy to make and keeps well, though eating when it is still slightly warm is not to be missed. It is also easy to transport, so if you want to impress your folks – bring it along to the next birthday, picnic, party. It also makes an excellent present: by a nice cake tin, bake the cake and give it to the lucky recipient along with the recipe.

So, without further ado and as my Easter present to you all – here is the recipe.

  • 250g unsalted butter – make sure it’s soft
  • 300g sugar
  • 6-7 eggs (depending on size: 6 large, 7 medium sized ones), separated into egg yolks and egg whites
  • 1000g (4 tubs) non-fat quark – the original recipe calls for 500g non-fat quark and 500g full fat quark, but as I can only get the non-fat variety here, that’s what I use
  • 150g semolina
  • 1 unwaxed lemon (juice and grated peel)
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

Pre-heat your oven to 190C (I’ve got a fan oven).

With a hand mixer beat the butter, sugar and egg yolks and mix with the quark, then add the semolina, baking powder, salt and lemon juice and peel. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fold into the mixture. Fill it in to a greased round baking tin.

And that’s all there is to it, bar the actual baking.

Put the cake into the pre-heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (if you think it is getting to dark towards the end, cover the cake with some aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes or so). Switch the oven off, open the door and leave the cake sitting in the oven for another 15 minutes. Take it out and leave to cool.

Now, you can leave it at that (which I often do), but today I wanted it to be extra pretty for the photo shoot, so I decorated it with a few mint leaves, blueberries and raspberries and dusted it lightly with vanilla icing sugar.

Today I also served it with Rote Grütze, a traditional dessert from Germany’s North, consisting of almost every red summer berry you can think of – redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries. It is one of my favourite desserts and also goes very well with vanilla pudding or ice cream and custard. The secret is to make it not too sweet.

Here’s how to make it:

  • Red berries fresh or frozen (but defrosted) – I used about half a bag of a frozen red berry mix
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 shot of Crème de Cassis
  • 2 teaspoons of corn flour or alternatively sago

Gently heat the berries with 2 table spoons of sugar and a shot of Crème de Cassis. Mix two teaspoons of corn flour with a little bit of cold water until smooth. Take the berries of the hob and add the corn flour/water mix. Return it to hob and bring briefly to the boil whilst stirring. Leave it to cool.

Happy Easter!

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