Quark Vanilla Panna Cotta with Star Anise Cranberry Compote and Spiced Pecan Brittle

Quark Panna Cotta Cranberry Compote (01) by MeetaK

Maybe it's just that time of year - but I am addicted to spices. After spending a Saturday afternoon playing around with various spices and flavors in the kitchen, the entire house is suffused with a mixture of sweet and sharp fragrances. It's almost like living in a spice store!

I even have small oranges spiked with cloves adorning my Fall tabletop decorations. So, as I relax on the couch to go through my notes, there is that sensational sweet, tangy and clove-y aroma that lingers in the air.

A little while back when I made homemade quark, I think it hit all the right food tones with you. I received several emails after that post with questions and help shouts. It was exciting to accompany a few of my blog friends as they made homemade quark from that specific post.

So once the quark is made what can you do with it? - a few wanted to know. If you too are looking for inspiration you can turn to a selection of quark recipes provided by yours truly.

Maybe your tastebuds will find pleasure in my newest creation. A delightful dessert somewhere between a light and fluffy mousse and a creamy panna cotta. Looking at the method it indeed is prepared like any panna cotta recipe, however with the addition of quark, the dessert takes on a whole new dimension. The quark panna cotta becomes lighter with a slight tangy flavor, it's still rich but airy at the same time.

Very much en vogue, cranberries provide a beautiful flavor balance to the sweeter quark panna cotta cream. The cranberry compote is spiced with star anise and a hint of cinnamon, which is found again in the spiced pecan brittle. The pecan brittle is a delicacy in itself, but adding a lovely texture to the entire quark panna cotta and cranberry compote. Spiced with ground cardamom, cinnamon and a touch of allspice, you'll find not nibbling on them before the guests arrive extremely arduous!

This is a perfect make ahead dessert. The quark panna cotta can be made 1-2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, the cranberry compote will keep up to a week if stored in an air-tight jars in the refrigerator and the pecan brittle can also be made a day ahead, then stored in a dry air-tight container. All you need to do is assemble the individual components just before serving. 

Quark Panna Cotta Cranberry Compote (02) by MeetaK

I am just about wrapping up my Holiday menu idea with this post. Next week I have one last treat in store for you. Something for "après dinner", when the boys are watching football and we girls want to indulge in something more sophisticated. LOL!

Don't Forget

MM low-sugar sweet treats

This month the team over at the Daily Tiffin are hosting the Monthly Mingle. We are all looking forward and eagerly awaiting your ideas and creations to this session's theme - Low-Sugar Treats. Come on over and share your healthy treats.

The deadline is December 8th, 2008. See you there.


Recipe: Quark Vanilla Panna Cotta with Star Anise Cranberry Compote and Spiced Pecan Brittle

Printable version of recipe here.

Quark Vanilla Panna Cotta

300g heavy cream
250g quark
75g sugar
2 sheets gelatine
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved

Start Anise Cranberry Compote

350g fresh cranberries
100 - 150 ml cranberry juice
2-5 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
1-2 whole star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 whole allspice

Spiced Pecan Brittle

250g pecans, dry roasted
4-5 tablespoons sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


Quark Vanilla Panna Cotta

In a saucepan bring the sugar, cream and vanilla, including the pod, to an energetic boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat and discard the vanilla pod. Squeeze out the gelatine and dissolve in the hot cream mixture.

In a small bowl whisk the quark until smooth and creamy. First stir in 2 tablespoons quark into the warm cream mixture, then pour the cream mixture into the quark. Stir to incorporate.

Fill 6 individual serving bowls or one large bowl with the quark panna cotta. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Start Anise Cranberry Compote

In a large sauce pan add sugar, fresh cranberry and juice. Stir until ingredients have incorporated. Turn heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the spices, then reduce to medium and allow to simmer until the cranberry mixture has reduced and resembles a thick jelly-like consistency. Taste for sweetness.

Discard whole spices and set the cranberry compote aside.

Note: If making ahead the cranberry compote can be stored in sterilized jars for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Spiced Pecan Brittle

First you need to make a caramel like mixture by adding the sugar and water in a saucepan. Mix with a wooden spoon, then turn up heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the caramel turns a amber color. This will take 8-10 minutes.

Continue in medium-low heat until the mixture has reduced into a thick syrupy consistency.

Prepare a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. In a bowl large enough to hold the pecans, mix together the ground spices.

Once your caramel mixture is thick and sticky (the mixture is ready when a small amount dropping in a cup of cold water becomes brittle) add the pecans, stirring quickly to coat the nuts with the sugar. Then add the warm sugared pecans to the bowl with the spices and toss quickly. Turn out the pecans onto the waxed paper and allow to set.

Once set, coarsely chop the pecans.

Serving: If you are serving the quark panna cotta in individual bowls, once set, add a tablespoon of cranberry compote on top and sprinkle generously with the pecan brittle. Alternatively, if you have made one large bowl, dip a large tablespoon in warm water and scoop out separate portions onto a plate. You can serve the cranberry compote on the side or decoratively around the quark panna cotta portions. Sprinkle with the spiced pecan brittle.



Quark Panna Cotta Cranberry Compote (03) by MeetaK

Conclude any dinner with this creamy elegance and you'll have your guests begging for more. Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts and I have often made several variations, however, with the addition of quark this dessert became a whole new experience. The star anise spiced cranberry compote brings fruity flavor and the spiced pecans a luxurious texture to the entire dessert. The warm spices are soothing, yet tantalizing rounding off your meal perfectly.

I hope I was able to inspire you just a bit with this Holiday menu idea. Maybe you will be able to integrate a few aspects from the menu for your own Holiday meal. If you have any questions let me know either in the comments sections of this post or simply email me.

If you are looking for more Holiday menu ideas, join me over at FoodieView, where in my latest article - The Big Holiday Menu Planner, I have compiled an excellent list of appetizers, entrées, sides and desserts, from all around the blogesphere.

You might like these dessert varieties from WFLH:

BananaBriochePudding 07  CantucciniChessecake01 Lemon Meringue Pie 01
Banana Brioche Pudding with Baileys Caramel Cream Cantuccini Plum Cheese Cakelettes Lemon Meringue Pie

From around the blogs:


Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:


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  1. Bravo Meeta - this one has fabulous flavors! Can't wait to try it!


  2. This looks really great. I'm planning an entry for the low-sugar desserts Monthly Mingle (at last!) Perfect event for me.

  3. My quark is all gone but that's probably best since I'm traveling. Cranberry compote is totally perfect about now.

  4. This is more of a method than a recipe. It can be tailored with whatever floats out boat. Thank you!

  5. Wow what an explosion of flavours. It's amazing. I really like the photos too the backround so matches the recipe :) Well done

  6. My husband is a pannacotta fan this one is done well and amazing decked up... First time here Loved your work...

  7. I just wanted to subscribe via google reader but unfortunately couldnt do so...

  8. Just reading this recipe evokes the aromas of the holidays -- all the warm spices. Yum!

  9. Looks so beautiful and sounds delicious!

  10. It looks wonderful and so festive. Love the spices you used.

  11. This is just luscious Meeta! I love that sort of fresh, mild, white cheese and all its permutations! And I can almost smell the spices you used!

  12. I too have a spice addiction, haha :-)

    Such a beautiful dessert!

  13. Perfect for a Fall dessert. The flavor combinations sound fabulous.

  14. This recipe's title sounds like music to my ears...

    It must be a wonderful flavor combination... I'm addicted to your dessert!

  15. ive recently introduced some cooking class students to star anise and they love it. i made a really good drink out of it; but this dessert looks so decadent!

  16. I learn something new every time I come here. I have never heard of or eaten quark, but I am sure I will love it. The toppings and spices that you have used here, is glorious to day the least!

  17. Lovely, Meeta! Lovely photos as usual. Haven't used quark before.

  18. Thanks Meeta for sharing this wonderful recipe. I have successfully tried your cardamom-saffron panna cotta , but this one looks amazing. I am going to make it for Thanksgiving!!

  19. Hi Meeta

    Your blog is simply beautiful. I would like to know which is your favourite panna cotta from the ones that you have made ( becoz I want to try that one out, the chocolate one with mascarpone sounded delicious). Also what type of cream do you use , fresh cream or the canned one ???


  20. What an amazing array of flavours you have going on there - that's definitely a party in the mouth

  21. Hi Meeta!

    Fabulous! A delicious combination and photos..Meeta you've a wonderful taste and hand to do this amazing treats :)

    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

  22. I would imagine this to be really, really good, especially with the addition of the quark; it gives nice depth to almost any kind of foods.

  23. This is so beautiful! I love the vibrant red color and the star anise is the perfect garnish.

  24. That looks really good! Nice presentation.

  25. Wow, I love quark. I am so in love with the fact that you made it into a panna cotta. I bet this is fabulous.

  26. Thanks so much for all your comments!

    Smita - Hope you like it!

    Kalyn - Hahaha! Can't wait to see that entry.

    Tanna - It is! When you return give this a try. Happy traveling!

    Sug - Yes it can! However, this particular combination of flavors was darned good!

    SD - Thanks!

    Ramya - welcome to WFLH hope to see you around more often. I am sure he will like this! PS rdg. Google reader - try it again it works fine with me.

    Lydia - oh yes! I was inspired by the Holidays!

    Vera, Katie - Thanks!

    Joey - I too love creamy cheesy desserts. I know you will like this!

    VG - Thanks!

    Lynne - I am sure this would make a great dessert for Christmas too!

    Leonor - LOL! Glad I could addict you to this. Thanks!

    Bren - maybe your cooking class will enjoy this dessert too!

    Nina - making quark is very easy and after that you have so many possibilities to enjoy it. Like this dessert.

    Arfi - quark is great. I am sure you will love it. MY recipe is rather easy so please give it a try.

    Nissidhi - the saffron-cardamom panna cotta was so wonderful. glad you liked that. if you liked that i am sure you will really love this one.

    Maya - that is a difficult question. Each one was perfect for the mood and occasion and as you can see each one was slightly different. I liked the saffron-cardamom, strawberry and this panna cotta a a lot as the flavors and aromas were unbeatable. The chocolate panna cotta was decadent and simply luscious. I've got an idea - why don't you try all and tell me which you liked best. I always use fresh cream for my desserts.

    Cyn - hey glad you liked this party.

    Gera - thanks. I knew you would like this ;-)

    Emlia - yes exactly and it makes it creamier without really being heavy!

    Lynn & Kevin - Thanks!

    Pea - oh you have to try this. The quark works so well. I think I will use it in all my panna cottas ;-)

  27. What an absolute dreamy post Meeta...luxurious & beautiful. I am now the proud owner of a candy thermometer & am gonna check if I can possibly make quark...xoxoxo Deeba

  28. I love your panna cottas, and this one is no exception... Looks fab! Happy Holidays Meeta, I am sure you are guests are in for a treat!

  29. First time here Meeta...Those pannacotta's are fab..lucky guests..:)

  30. Quark Panna Cotta!(!!!) I seriously, seriously need to try this recipe. I've spent far too much time studying quarks and not enough time eating quark!

    As an aside, did you know that the the elementary particle is actually named after the cheese (via Finnegan's Wake)?

  31. Hi Meeta, I've been to your blog a few times, but it's my first time commenting. This looks great! Way to pretty to eat! :)

  32. Thanks everyone! Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving too!


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.