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Quark Cheese

by Marcel Biró & Shannon Kring Biró

Quark is a smooth, soft German cheese with a light, tangy flavor. We use it in a variety of sweet and savory applications, including as a topping for our crispy tarte flambées, and in delectable ice creams, cakes, and pies.  

More and more stores are carrying quark these days, and to find one that carries it in your area, or to order quark online, click www.germanfoods.org, a great not-for-profit website that links consumers with their favorite German products.   You can also make your own (see below).


Quarktorte with Spanish Almonds

This recipe, excerpted from our forthcoming cookbook, SpanAsian Cuisine: From Ó, a Biró Restaurant (Gibbs Smith, July 2007), adds Spanish flair to the traditional German quarktorte, or cheesecake. 

Vanilla sugar is sugar that has been scented with vanilla.  If it’s not available, make your own by placing a vanilla bean in 1 cup sugar.  Store in a sealed container for at least 48 hours.  Remove the bean before using. 


Makes one 11” cake

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking form
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Breadcrumbs for dusting

2 ¼ cups quark
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs, separated
Zest of 1 washed lemon
¾ cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, sliced in half
1 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup toasted Spanish almond slices

  1. To make the crust, mix together the butter, granulated sugar, egg, vanilla sugar, flour, and baking powder by hand or in a stand mixer until well combined.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the filling, combine the quark, flour, egg yolks, zest, and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Butter your baking form, and dust its bottom and sides with the breadcrumbs.  Press the chilled crust mixture into the bottom and up onto the sides.   Pierce the crust with a fork.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Heat the vanilla beans and seeds, milk, and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts.  Pass through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing the liquid from the seeds and pods with the back of a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to extract all the flavor.  Add this mixture to the quark mixture, and mix well to combine. 
  6. Whip the egg whites to the stiff peak stage.  Carefully fold the whites under the quark mixture.  Spoon over the crust. 
  7. Bake the torte for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, and sprinkle with the almonds.  Bake 30 additional minutes, until firm and the almonds are deep golden but not browned.  You may wish to check the torte after 15 minutes, and if the almonds are beginning to brown, cover it with aluminum foil or finish baking it with the oven door open. 
  8. Allow the torte to cool in the form until room temperature.  Carefully loosen the edges with a sharp knife, and remove it from the pan.


This torte is excellent served at room temperature with coffee or hot chocolate. You may wish to garnish with fresh berries and a dusting of ground cinnamon or bittersweet chocolate. 
Beverage Pairings

Huget Cava Grand Reserva Brut
Penedès, Spain

Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega
Casta Diva Cosecha Miel
Alicante, Spain


Quick Tip: Making homemade quark
You will need a large ovenproof baking dish with lid, a large colander, and cheesecloth for this recipe. 

Makes about 1 cup

1 gallon buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Pour the buttermilk in a large ovenproof baking dish with lid. Cover, and place in the oven overnight.
  3. In the morning, line the inside of the colander with the cheesecloth. 
  4. Pour the buttermilk into the cloth, and cover the top of the buttermilk with the ends of the cheesecloth.  Place in a colander, and allow the buttermilk to drain for about 6 hours.


© 2007 Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró. Excerpted with permission from the forthcoming SpanAsian Cuisine: From Ó, a Biró Restaurant (Gibbs Smith, Publisher), by Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró.  All Rights Reserved. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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