Tasty Tuesday and Tuesday Tunes: German Kirschkuchen & B-Tribe

Tuesday Tunes: B-Tribe

Today, for me was full of surprises. As I was preparing to write about one of my all-time favorite world music groups, B-Tribe aka The Barcelona Tribe of Soulsters, I was more than a little shocked to find out who these artists really were.

This is a group whose music I have enjoyed for over ten years. Their soulful sound is a fusion of flamenco guitar, mellow electronica and ambient grooves. Although, there isn’t one lead singer, on albums like “Fiesta Fatal” and “Sensual Sensual” the various lyricists will sing in Spanish or English but never in German. Which is why I blown over to find out that founding members are the German born Claus Zundel, Markus Staab and Ralf Hamm!

No matter where these guys are from their music makes me feel all groovy and relaxed inside. It’s the best kind of music to write to, create to or just day dream to. I hope you enjoy it.

Tasty Tuesday: German Kirschkuchen

I love German cheesecake. I have since I was a kid living in Germany. The texture is cakeier than New York style cheesecake and it is traditionally made with a layer of sour cherries on the bottom.

Since I am on a gluten-free diet, I thought my biggest adjustment for making this cake would be using gluten-free flour over wheat flour. I was wrong.

I thought I had all the ingredients needed in the fridge or cupboard already… eggs, check, butter, check, vanilla, check, cherry preserves, check, quark… QUARK… what the heck is quark? And what about the cream cheese?

It turns out, German cheesecake doesn’t use cream cheese. It uses quark. Which is a kind of cheese. It’s sort of a cross between a farmer’s cheese and a cheese spread. I definitely did not have this in my American kitchen. I thought about running to find some at one of the many Chicago grocers that I knew would have it, but alas, laziness prevailed.

I still made the cheesecake, just not with quark. Here’s the authentic recipe:

* 1 cup flour
* 2 tsp. vanilla
* 2 tbs. butter
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
* 4 tbs. cherry preserves (to taste)
* 3 eggs separated
* Pinch salt
* 2 1/4 cup quark
* 2 tsp. vanilla
* 3/4 cup sugar, divided
* 3/4 stick of butter
* 4oz heavy cream
* 1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch

For the crust:
Mix together with spoon, adding a little bit more flour if necessary. Knead in the bowl until smooth and silky. Oil and let rise 1 hour in the refrigerator.

For the filling:
Beat egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 pinch salt slowly over egg whites while beating. When soft peaks form, stop beating and move to a separate bowl.

Mix quark, egg yolks and the rest of the sugar until well blended. Add butter and cream and continue mixing. Sprinkle in cornstarch and stir until well blended.

Add a third of the egg whites to the quark mixture and stir by hand until mixed and light. Fold in the remaining 2/3 egg whites by hand.

Assemble the cake:
Roll out the dough into a circle and line an 9-inch spring form pan. Press the dough into and up the sides.

Spread the cooled cherries on top of the dough.

Spread the quark batter on top of that and smooth the surface.

Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes on bottom rack, or until batter appears set. Turn off oven and let cake cool in oven until lukewarm before serving or refrigerating.

There are loads substitutions for Quark. One is farmer’s cheese, another is to purée cottage cheese until creamy, or you can combine eight-parts ricotta cheese with 1-part sour cream in a food processor or finally you can drain the moisture from a quart of plain yogurt using cheesecloth.

Final product with fresh whipped cream. (I used a loaf pan)

What did I do? I used 2 packages of regular cream cheese (it was what I had on hand) and added a bit of gluten-free flour until the texture seemed about right. It was delicious!