June 20, 2013

No-Bake Mini Quark Cheesecakes with Crystallized Flowers

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Clearing and rearranging storage cabinets produce yummy stuff. My mini cheesecake pan hasn't been used for ages so I made no-bake cheesecake with the freshly made quark cheese I had in the refrigerator. These cakes have the consistency of a mousse but without gelatin. I added just a little mascarpone and also whipped heavy cream and for flavor I used rosewater for half of the mixture and lavender water for the other half. You are free to use your favorite flavoring such as lemon, orange, or almond. The cheesecakes are very light and creamy with very subtle floral flavors.

Quark cheese is a very light German-style fresh cheese. I haven't seen them being sold in our local stores which is fine because it is easy to make at home. I made them several times following the recipe from a Spanish cookbook and always got good results with slightly sweet smooth cheese which is thick but spreadable. The recipe doesn't have anything added to the milk and doesn't specify the temperature of the milk. I read some recipes adding buttermilk to warmed milk. I tried that this time although I used cold milk and dried cultured buttermilk and it set quicker overnight, after about 14 hours. The consistency is almost like soft tofu before draining the whey. You can use regular low fat cream cheese for the mini cheesecakes but they won't be as light and airy, although just as delicious.

Quark Cheese
adapted from THE CUISINES OF SPAIN by Teresa Barrenechea. 

Pour 4 cups of whole milk in a sterilized glass jar, cover with a towel and leave on the kitchen counter for 48 hours. The milk would have set and ready to be drained on a muslin or cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth, twist, and tie with a string. Place the bundle on top of a sieve and place the sieve on top of a bowl. Weight down the cheesecloth. Or hang it on the kitchen faucet and let the whey drain. The soft solid in the cheesecloth is the quark cheese. Salt may be added to flavor the cheese. Transfer into a container and refrigerate immediately. It will last for a few days. 

For a quicker process, stir in 2 teaspoons of buttermilk solids into 1 cup of milk. Stir into the rest of the milk and leave for 12 to 24 hours on the kitchen counter overnight or until set. Pour off some of the whey on top  then transfer onto a sieve lined with coffee filter set over a bowl. This will take about 3 to 4 hours; refrigerate if your kitchen is warm. Cheese should be thick and creamy. Transfer cheese into a measuring cup. Yield is less than 2 cups.   

No-Bake Mini Quark Cheesecake
1½ cups freshly-made quark or low-fat cream cheese
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar, more or less to taste
2 teaspoons rosewater
1 cup whipped heavy cream
2 cups butter cookies, crushed
½ cup toasted almond flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
optional: crystallized rose petals for garnish, lavender water*, crystallized lavender
  • Process cheese, honey, sugar, and rosewater in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Transfer into a large bowl and fold in whipped heavy cream. Set aside. 
  • In the same processor pulse together crushed cookies, almond flour, and butter. Press onto a 7 inch spring form pan or press 1 tablespoon on each of the mini cheesecake wells. Pour the cheese mixture and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Garnish with crystallized flowers if desired.
crystallized edible flowers
1 well beaten egg white
untreated and cleaned edible flowers

unsprayed and washed small rose flowers and lavender from my garden
  • With a brand new (unused) small painting brush, paint petals or whole small buds with egg white. Spoon sugar all over. Leave to dry for 10 minutes. Use immediately as they don't keep long.
*To make lavender water: Add 1 tablespoons crushed unsprayed fresh and cleaned lavender blossoms to 1½ tablespoons boiling water, cover with plastic film and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and discard blossoms. Add a few drops of lavender water at a time just to flavor the mixture. Add more or less to suit your taste. Discard leftover water.


Winnie said...

A M A Z I N G !!
I loved the fact that you made your own cheese :) and more so that you didn't use gelatin.
Personally I wouldn't change your choice of flavors - lavender :)

Kim, USA said...

Wow this is amazing!! My lavender is in blooms right now and I have five patches I am already thinking what to do with it. Thanks for the water lavender recipe I will try this one. ^_^


maiylah said...

wow!!!! i wish the ingredients are readily available here!
everything looks so dainty and very very tempting!

thanks so much for sharing and linking over at Food Friday, Ms. Oggi

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