Pickings are processed and preserved, days are decreasing in daylight, so what now here in the edible landscape?
Make and bake with all that mellow fruitfulness, that’s what!
To start: a real Franconian classic: cheesecake, or Kaesekuchen…
Kaesekuchen has been sweetening Saturday and Sunday afternoons in Franconia for nearly 300 years, ever since multiple 16th century recipes for a sweetened cheese cake appeared in cookbook published in Nuremburg in 1733…
This recipe comes from “Gscheitgut (Volume 2)”, published in 2014 – a great culinary read combining regional background, restaurant guide and make-them-yourself recipes, by kind permission of the publisher, Michael Müller Verlag GmbH (details below).
Prep. Time: about 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves 12 (1 x 28 cm tin)
Flour 250 g
Sugar 325 g
Cherry schnapps 2 cl (optional)
Butter 125 g
Low fat quark or
cream cheese 1 kg (replace 200 g quark with mascarpone if you want it even creamier)
Vanilla sugar 3 tsp
Cornflour 50 g
Baking powder ½ tsp
Butter and flour for
Optional: your choice of
preserved fruit 150 g
- For the base, place the flour in a bowl and rub in the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Separate 2 of the eggs and set the egg whites aside. Place the egg yolks, 125 g of sugar, cherry schnapps and a pinch of salt in the well and work in to the flour mixture to form a smooth dough. Shape into a ball, cover and chill for 1 hour.
- Grease the tin with butter and dust with flour. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to form a circle about 38 cm in diameter. Use to line the base of the tin, pushing the edges up to a height of about 5 cm.
- Heat the oven to 180 °C. For the filling, separate the remaining eggs. Beat all 6 egg whites until stiff and then chill. Combine the quark or cream cheese, the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar and the vanilla sugar in a bowl and mix together well. Fold in the cornflour and the baking powder, and then the egg whites. *
- Spread over the pastry base and smooth the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes, covering with a piece of foil after 20 minutes to prevent it becoming too brown.
- Use a skewer to test whether the cheesecake is cooked through (the skewer needs to come out clean). When cooked through remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before taking it out and leaving it to cool completely on a cake rack. Served dusted with icing sugar if you prefer.
* This is where I fold in 150 g of preserved cherries (be it the Cherries in Syrup, the Cherry Preserve with Brandy, or the Cherries in Red Wine…) or 150 g of preserved wild plums or 150 g of preserved mirabelle plums… You can also add the zest of 2 untreated lemons with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to give the cheesecake a lemony note…
I also make mini versions of this cheesecake in muffin tins – perfect for picnics…
The term “Gscheitgut” is Franconian and roughly translates as “downright good”. For those lacking that handy smattering of German, there is me – the Culinary Scribe – who happily translates this fine Franconian fare into English for you!
© Copyright German original: Michael Müller Verlag GmbH and the Café-Brennerei Geist-Reich in Weingarts: http://www.michael-mueller-verlag.de/de/reiseportal/gscheitgut/reportage__kunreuth__cafe-brennerei_geist-reich.html