With a big tub of quark in my fridge, I wanted to do something special with it. Quark is low in fat and high in protein, and it is a very versatile baking ingredient because it is stable in the oven (although it is good when eaten plain, too). I decided to turn mine into a pie, a variation on cheesecake.
This pie has two layers of quark cheesecake sandwiching a sweet filling made with cherries. I used jarred cherries, but frozen and defrosted cherries will work very well, too. Compared to a regular cheesecake, this pie is very easy to make. It takes minutes to mix it up and doesn’t have a long baking time. There is no need for a water bath or any of the other precautions that you might take with a cheesecake to get the pie to turn out well. Plus, quark is low in fat so you can feel pretty good having seconds when the pie is ready to eat.
Flavor-wise, the pie tastes like a cherry pie cheesecake, with a rich consistency and a very creamy texture. It’s not as heavy as a cheesecake because quark has that slight tang to it, much like plain yogurt or sour cream, that gives it a slightly fresher taste. It also makes it a great background for the fruit filling, allowing the great flavor of the cherries to stand out. The pie is good at room temperature, but I preferred it when it had been chilled before serving.
Quark is a bit of an unusual ingredient in the US, and while you might be able to find it at some specialty stores in your area (especially if they have a lot of gourmet/European baking ingredients), you also might not be able to find it. If you can’t, fromage frais would work pretty well as a substitute, although it may be slightly thicker than quark typically is. If you live in Europe, you probably won’t have a problem finding quark. Otherwise, keep an eye out because this low fat cheese is great for baking and will probably catch on even more in the US over the coming months.
Quark Cherry Pie
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust, prebaked
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 cups jarred cherries (or frozen and defrosted)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, cream together quark, sugar, vanilla and salt until well-combined. Beat in egg until mixture is smooth.
In a medium bowl, stir together cherries, brown sugar and allspice. Let stand to 5-10 minutes.
Spoon half of the quark mixture into your pie crust. Spoon the cherry mixture into an even layer on top of that. Carefully spread the remaining quark mixture over the top of the fruit, lightly covering the whole pie.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until pie is set and only jiggles slightly when the pan is gently shaken.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the pie until ready to serve.