Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Quarkkeulchen with Cranberries and a Cinnamon Blueberry Compote - A German Specialty

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0118) by Meeta K. Wolff

The icy grip of winter holds us firmly. Just as I was thinking we were going to get the mildest winter in years, things took a turn and we are now facing the coldest winter in decades. It totally amazes me how we are at the mercy of Mother Nature.

The temperatures have dropped drastically and the record was -20 degrees C, which I noted yesterday morning as I left to work. At such temperatures it’s hard to get out of bed and face the cold. Each day we are facing new issues that the arctic cold brings with it. Frozen water-pipes, flocculation of diesel fuel in Tom’s car, coughs, fever and the sniffles.

I am taking it in good stride as I am gathering new experience with each hurdle. Our frozen pipes are getting the luxury warmth treatment - wrapped in blankets warmed with their own little heater called … wait for it “the frost guard”.  I wish I had my own personal frost guard warming me every time I go out.

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0128) by Meeta K. Wolff

Unfortunately though, I tried to brave the fever and sniffles both Soeren and Tom have carried around for the past week and alas - it looks like I am coming down with it. First Soeren who was out for a whole week and then Tom came home from Stockholm feeling feverish and weak.

It’s been lots of heartwarming soups and comforting stews around here lately topped off with plenty of Vitamin C. And special little treats - because how better to get them smiling and fit again than with divine sweet desserts. 

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0130) by Meeta K. Wolff

One of Soeren’s favorite treats are the nostalgic and traditional quarkkeulchen. He’s been asking me for several months to put up the recipe on the blog and share it with my readers. He does not do this often but every now and then he is convinced you all will enjoy a recipe and suggests that I put it up.

We made these the week he was at home ill. He had lost a lot of his appetite and I really needed him to get some nourishment into him as he was surviving on liquids, antibiotics and cough syrup!

“Oh no!” he exclaimed looking at the menu planner for the school cafeteria for the day. “I am missing quarkkeulchen at school today!”

That was all the motivation I needed. Quarkkeulchen are easy to make with simple pantry ingredients. They are soothing and satisfying and I knew Soeren would devour them.

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0124) by Meeta K. Wolff

Tom’s family comes from the German region of Saxony and quarkkeulchen are one of the specialties of this region. I adore Tom’s grandmother’s cooking, who at the awesome age of 90 still lives alone, baking and cooking some incredible dishes. She has a wonderful knack of serving Saxonian specialties, like lentil soup with hearty sausage or dumplings made of yeast and served with stewed cherries (also something I have been told several times to share) and quarkkeulchen smothered with cooked prunes. 

It’s always an attraction for me to watch her cook. Her silver hair gleaming in the sunlit kitchen and her small hands kneading or chopping as she tells stories, sometimes happy but often sad, of how they fled the Nazis during the second world war. Both Soeren and I can listen for hours, my eyes often welling up at the courageous lady standing in front of me making one of her specialties for her great grandson and me.

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0140) by Meeta K. Wolff

 Quarkkeulchen are typically made of boiled potatoes, quark cheese, flour and raisins and served with generous dollops of applesauce. Fritters, flat dumplings, pancakes - they have been called all sorts of names but they are and will always be quarkkeulchen and there is no mixing them with the other dishes. They are generally eaten during lunch time or as a afternoon snack.

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0121) by Meeta K. Wolff   

My recipe is based on Tom’s grandmother’s recipe with a few of of my minor adjustments. I prefer adding dried cranberries or cherries to the quarkkeulchen and usually make either fruit compote or stewed fruit, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg. I also hang the quark overnight to make it thicker and cheesier, which gives the quarkkeulchen a great consistency.

Soeren and I wish you Guten Appetit.

Recipe: Quarkkeulchen with Cranberries and a Cinnamon Blueberry Compote

Printable version of recipe here

 Quarkeulchen with Cranberries by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: approx. 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g jar of blueberries in own juice
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 120g potatoes, boiled
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 80g sugar
  • 150g quark, hung overnight in a cheesecloth
  • 50g all-purpose flour
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • Zest of one organic lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter

    Method:

    1. Place a sieve over a small saucepan and pour the blueberries, allowing them to drip, making sure to reserve the blueberry juice. Add cinnamon stick and icing sugar to the juices and simmer for approx. 5 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in a tablespoon of water and then pour it into the blueberry juice. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, then add the blueberries and allow to warm through. Steep and keep warm, making sure the compote does not cook. Discard cinnamon stick before serving.


    2. Peel boiled potatoes, discarding the skins and mash finely with a potato masher or using a potato ricer. Place mashed potatoes in a mixing bowl, add quark, sugar, egg yolks, flour, cranberries, lemon zest and mix with a wooden spoon to a silky smooth batter.

    3. In a separate clean bowl whisk egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff. Make sure not to overbeat the egg whites. Using a metal spatula gently fold the egg whites into the quark batter. Allow the batter to rest n the fridge for 20 minutes.

    4. Melt some butter in a pan. Using two tablespoons drop about a tablespoon of batter into the hot pan and gently flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry the quarkkeulchen on each sides for 2 minutes until they are a gorgeous golden color.

    5. Serve the quarkkeulchen with the warm blueberry compote.

Verdict 

Quarkkeulechen with Cranberries (0143) by Meeta K. Wolff

Make double portions of these because I guarantee you, plates will be licked cleaned and you’ll be begged for more. They freeze easily and can be quickly defrosted in the microwave or in the oven on a low heat. Hanging the quark overnight makes the quarkkeulchen creamier, and adds a lovely tangy note to the dish. Quark is very much like fromage frais and with the consistency of cream cheese.The Saxonian quarkkeulchen however are not to be confused with the quarkkeulchen from Berlin. What gets sold in Berlin as quarkkeulchen is something quite different to the quarkkeulchen from Saxonia. They still contain quark, but there's no potato in the dough and they are deep fried as balls. The result is more like a donut.

My blueberry compote provides the perfect sweet balance adding a fruity highlight and the cinnamon provides a wonderful sweet warmth.

Hope for all those also fighting the icy frost - stay warm and stay well. For those who are basking in the summer’s sun - send us some of that warmth mate ;o)

Our Plate to Page workshops are designed not for the instructors to impose their style on others, but to help participants hone their own skills. We believe that all who attend Plate to Page are talented in their own right, even if they are personally feeling uninspired or in a creative rut.  Often, inspiration is just waiting to be unleashed and all that is needed is the right environment, guidance, push and motivation. To give you an idea of the fantastic work produced on the workshops, we would like to present some of these assignments. Hope you enjoy a wonderful piece, an excerpt from what was produced by Marta Majewska and Elizabeth Pizzinato when asked to produce a foodie article and pictures in the style of a gossip magazine like Hello: Ciao Bella Contessa - a peek inside a Plate to Page assignment.

In April I’ll be in Dubai and giving a two day food photography and styling workshop at the stunning Nasimi Beach at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai. If you are in the area and have always wanted to improve your food photography and styling skills come and join me.

Details as follows:
When: Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th April
Where: Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Your Instructor: Meeta K. Wolff
Your Host: Sally Prosser
Workshop Website
Thank you to the awesome people at the Atlantis for sponsoring this event.

You might like these sweet ideas from WFLH:

Lingonberry Dark Chocolate Buns Saffron and Cardamom Doughnuts with Pistachios Spiced Chocolate and Orange Bread


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

    36 comments :

    1. I know nothing about German cuisine and I love when you post such recipe. So much to learn!

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    2. It's no where near as cold here is it is where you are but sometimes I would like my own frost guard to keep me warm wherever I go. Keep warm and feel better soon!

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    3. Dear Meeta,
      your words make me a little bit sentimental but in a good way. My grand-grandmother had made Quarkkeulchen for me, even when I felt sick. A tiny but so strong woman from Silesia, with so much to tell about harsh treatments during expulsion from home. But in every story there was a little sunshine - the part of how she managed to get food. And so Quarkkeulchen came to me, mostly with apple compote and sugar. Thanks for sharing Meeta, warmly, Sandy

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    4. Hope you all feel better now!

      Love the story and the pancakes too! I would love to try this Meeta.

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    5. Wonderful pancakes and German speciality! I am a big fan of Quark. Here in Switzerland we use it a lot.

      Cheers,

      Rosa

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    6. I have never had something like this, it looks perfect for the weather we are having here too.
      Wishing you all a speedy recovery inculding the car and the water pipes.

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    7. Oh my goodness, I haven't even eaten them and I know what they taste like already. What utter heaven

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    8. Even here in Mexico we're having a "chilly" winter. People think 10°C is extreme weather, hehe. We better start making Soeren's favorite breakfast to fight this cold weather :)

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    9. Hi Meeta,
      I loved the recipe, but I saw all-purpose flour listed in the ingredients. I did not see a use of All-purpose flour in the recipe. Cant wait to try this out.
      Guest

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    10. this, my dear, is so up my alley. i will be making it this weekend. hugs to grandma from me for her wonderful recipe.

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    11. Oh no! I hope all of you feel better soon. I should make this! the stain of the blueberries itself is making me crave these. Grandmothers are the best. And thanks to Soeren for pushing you to post this.

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    12. These look incredible and sound quite magical too "Quarkkeulchen!". Tom's grandma sounds like an incredible woman, it is so nice to be able to share that bond with someone who has a world of wisdom to share :)

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    13. Love the post.... so tasty and beautiful.... I feel like eating it straight out of the blog...

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    14. These looks so wonderful and tasty. Hug that beautiful boy for coaxing this post! I must try this (might have to make my own quark cheese though, not readily availble here.)

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    15. Never heard of quarkkeulchen before and it looks delightful!

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    16. Soeren's idea is brilliant!!! Love comfort food like this. I can't imagine how cold you all must be. It's so hard to fathom it when I've been sitting in front of a fan all day, trying to keep cool. :-)

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    17. That reminds me so much of something my mom used to make, only she called them crumpets, studded with sultanas. Happy memories... Don't think I could cope with minus 20, unless I am on a ski slope!! ;o)

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    18. Man I need to visit Germany for many reasons..especially for the cuisine! Love this recipe Meeta & sorry I have not visited for such a long time! I will visit often from now on! :) xx

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    19. Just the recipe I needed. Made my quark yesterday only. Would love to try these "german pancakes"

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    20. wow my kids will definetly love this for sure . like this version of yours :)

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    21. Loved the story of Tom's grandma..reminds me so much of my Husband's grandama who wld love to cook and was so meticulous, it was a pleasure to see her in action.

      loved the Quarkkeulchen ( love the name) !! thxs for sharing

      stay warm - its nasty out there :(

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    22. wow a german version of it. so what is the different between the others?
      okay no question i need to try this to figure it out for my self.

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    23. I had not seen a recipe for Quark for so long! This takes me back to my years of living in Germany. When I came home it was a baking product I really missed. Somehow ground up cottage cheese just doesn't work the same! These look delicious, btw!

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    24. Dear Meeta,
      I love these Quarkkeulchen. I often like the simple dish more then the really fancy stuff. It is a perfect thing for a nice evening at home with the family. Thanks for this recipe.
      Cheers,
      Jana

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    25. Meeta, I love this post! I am picturing Soeren asking you to post this recipe or that and I feel like I am getting a peek into your snowbound home as you make Tom's grandmother's recipe. So lovely! And what I would give to be spending a few days with you and coming down stairs in the morning in jammies and socks to find these hot and delicious on the table waiting. Gorgeous. Love the photos; they capture the very essence of these pancakes.

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    26. Dear Meeta,
      The Quarkkeulchen look much more better than the ones our canteen chef is offering from time to time. I really like your wonderful photos and the recipe, and I'm sure I will make them at home (hopefully in the near futur).

      All the best,
      Julia

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    27. These look absolutely delicious! They seem very light and sweet, and with just that little touch of cranberry and lemon, slightly fruity. Thanks for sharing.

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    28. This is great. The step by step procedure is so easy hope i can make a perfect copy of this :)
      thank you for sharing.

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    29. Hi,
      I am in India. We don't get bread flour here. We get pillsbury and ashirvad aatta. I tried baking bread with it. Could you help with a bread recipe.
      Thanks!

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    30. I don't even know what a Quarkgagugleheim (that's not right, is it?) is but it looks scrumptious!! Ps good luck with that cold winter. I hope it's starting to subside! I was going to say how crazy warm ours has been but I don't want to jinx us down here.

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    31. I was talking yesterday with my dad and he was saying he had never seen such a cold winter.

      I know a little about the German cuisine, but I have never eaten nor heard of Quarkkeulchen. They look and sound amazing Meeta!
      Stay warm!

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    32. Thanks for all your comments. One of the things I really enjoy is introducing new recipes to you and listening to your thoughts and feedback. Loving the fact that this is hitting all the right spots with you.

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    33. Great breakfast recipe! Your pictures convey tastiness of the food very well.

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    34. great recipe and easy to follow! thanks. :)

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    Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

    In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

    Hugs
    Meeta