Summer has finally started (not just on the calendar but also the weather) and that means that cakes for which you don’t have to turn on the oven are the preferred solution for dessert. Although this recipe is tagged “baking”, it doesn’t require any actual baking.
Kwarktaart is a typical Dutch kind of cake: a crust made from dry biscuits (often “Bastogne” biscuits are used) and butter, and a thick layer of quark and cream that is set using gelatin. As cherries are in season, I decided to make a version with cherries. Cherries love almonds, and so I decided to use Italian amaretti cookies for the crust, with a bit of almond extract thrown in for good measure. If you can’t get quark, use cottage cheese or ricotta instead.
The result was absolutely delicious and certainly to be repeated! Here is what I did…
For a 24 cm (9″) cake, 8-10 servings
500 grams (1.1 lbs) cherries
500 grams (1.1 lbs) quark (or cottage cheese or ricotta)
250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream
250 grams (1 1/4 cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 sheets gelatin (or enough gelatin for 1 litre/4 cups of fluid)
100 ml (7 Tbsp) cherry juice or cranberry juice (I used 50 ml leftover syrup from amarena cherries diluted with 50 ml water)
For the crust
200 grams (7 oz) amaretti cookies, or other dry biscuits
100 grams (7 Tbsp) butter, melted
1 tsp almond extract
25 grams (1/4 cup) slivered almonds, toasted
more cherries (1 for each serving + 1 for the center)
Turn the amaretti into crumbles. A practical way to do this, is to put the amaretti in a ziplock bag, closing the bag, and then crushing the biscuits with a rolling pin. That way, the crumbles won’t end up all over the place.
Put the crumbled amaretti in a bowl and add a teaspoon of almond extract.
Add 100 grams of melted butter.
Stir until the butter is mixed in.
Line a 24 cm (9″) springform pan with parchment paper. Put the crust mixture in the pan and press down with a spoon to create en even layer. Refrigerate to allow the butter to firm up.
Meanwhile, pit 500 grams of cherries. You can do this with a knife, but there is a special tool for this that actually does a very good job.
Many gadgets don’t work, but this one actually does.
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for a couple of minutes until they are soft, then squeeze the water out.
Heat 100 ml of juice until it is lukewarm in a saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the squeezed out gelatin.
Stir until the gelatin has dissolved.
Combine 500 grams quark, the pitted cherries, 225 grams of caster sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract in a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Add the gelatin mixture, and blend briefly to incorporate.
Whip 250 ml of whipping cream with the remaining 25 grams of sugar until quite firm.
Combine the quark mixture and the whipped cream…
…and stir gently until well mixed.
Now pour the mixture onto the prepared crust.
The mixture will be very thin. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
When the cake has set, remove the springform and garnish the cake with slivered almonds and cherries.
With some practice, it is possible to pit the cherries and keep the stem on.
We enjoyed this cake with a Rosenmuskateller (Moscato Rosa) from Südtirol (Alto Adige). A black muscat from California would also be an excellent choice.
Pasta with raw vegetables, in this version zucchini and tomatoes, is a perfect dish for the summer. The vegetables are combined with aromatic herbs and tossed with the cooked pasta with olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmigiano. It sounds simple, and it is, but it has great flavor and it is perfect for summer.