When I moved to Germany as a teen, I lived with a few different German families. Each family was delightfully different but one constant is that they all had little cups of delicious dessert quark in their fridge. I was already a yogurt fan (Germany has the best yogurt) and quickly become obsessed with smooth, creamy, rich dessert quark!
Quark is one of those things that I loved eating in Germany but just never thought I could eat here in the US. I was so wrong – German quark is super easy to make at home!
What is Quark? Cheese!
I always thought quark was a type of yogurt but it’s actually a fresh, non-aged cheese.
Quark is high in protein like greek yogurt, and you can eat it sweet or savory. Plain quark is delicious spread on toast and topped with sliced veggies or fruit or in German quark cheesecake. Mix in whipped cream and jam and you’ve got an amazing dessert!
Where to Buy Quark Cheese?
Quark is super easy to find in Europe but less so in the US. I’ve seen quark at German delis, Whole Foods, and at Target but it’s often expensive. And, to be honest, I’ve tried Elli Quark a few times and I just didn’t like it. While they offer a variety of quark flavors, it just didn’t taste like the quark I get in German.
So, instead of buying it, check out the recipe below to learn how to make quark cheese at home!
How to Make Quark
First I’ll show you how to make plain homemade quark cheese. Then I’ll show you how to whip up a batch of blackberry dessert quark.
First, the plain quark. Start by bringing 6 cups of milk to a simmer over medium low heat. Take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of cultured buttermilk. Pour into a bowl or jars and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave in a warm place for 12-36 hours. I’ve used both glass and plastic jars and both worked fine.
It only took about 12 hours for my quark to set this time (it was a warm day) but when I’ve made it previously it’s taken as long as 36 hours. So, if it’s not thickened at 12 or even 24 hours, just let it sit out longer. On cold days, I’ve found it helpful to set the jars on the warm stove after I’ve baked something in the oven.
The next step is to drain off the whey. The easiest method is to place muslin, cheese cloth or a clean tea towel over a strainer that’s resting on a large bowl (or the sink if you have a large strainer). I tried some cheese cloth that I bought at Target but the quark just oozed out of the holes, so I now use a thin, clean towel and that works great.
Pour the quark onto the cheesecloth.
Then, gather the cloth or towel corners and use a rubber band to secure the towel to a large spoon over a bowl. Place the bowl in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) so the whey can continue draining off the quark.
Once the whey has drained, you have quark! When I made quark, 6 cups of milk yielded 2 cups of quark.
If your quark seems too thick, just mix a little whey back in. If you’re going to make dessert quark, I recommend keeping the plain quark thick because it will thin out when you add the whipped cream.
Now that you have a fresh batch of plain quark cheese you can make delicious dessert quark!
How to Make Blackberry Dessert Quark
To make 2 portions of dessert Quark, whip 1/2 cup Quark with 1/4 cup heavy cream until thick. If you have already whipped cream, you can simply fold that into the Quark.
Then add 1 tablespoon of blackberry jam and whip until blended. Of course, you can use whatever flavor jam you’d like!
You can also add a little vanilla extract or vanilla sugar. Adjust everything to your preferred taste.
Chill the Quark in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Place in serving bowls and garnish with fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Quark Cheese Recipe
You'll love this simple rich, thick, and creamy dessert!
- 6 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups cultured buttermilk
- 1/2 cup Quark (plain)
- 1 Tbsp blackberry jam
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
Heat milk to a simmer, then take off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk buttermilk into milk. Pour into a bowl or into glass or plastic jars. Cover with a clean tea towel and let sit on the counter for 12-36 hours.
When the Quark has thickened, pour into a clean tea towel (or muslin or cheesecloth). Gather the corners and use a rubber band to hang the Quark from a spoon placed on a large bowl. Let it sit in the fridge for several hours (or overnight).
Whip Quark and heavy cream until thick. Optional: a few drops of vanilla extract or a spoonful of vanilla sugar.
Add blackberry jam and whip until blended. Chill in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Garnish with fresh fruit.
Click here to see more delicious German dessert recipes!
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