Ralph from Madison, WI (2017 Week 9: Pie)




Madison, WI

Baking Challenge


Give your pie a clever name – and tell us about your crust and filling.

Käsekuchen in C-Minor
German K√§sekuchen (trans. "cheesecake") is a fabulous thing. It is bigger than its American relative but lighter in texture (not taste). As a kid, I would beg my mom for a slice when when it came out of the oven on a Saturday afternoon, and it is now the first thing I get at an airport bakery when I travel back. I can do with American bread but I miss quark, and I am not speaking about the particle here. I mean the type of fresh cheese that is so common in Europe but almost unknown in the United States. Quark (often in a low-fat varietal) is the main ingredient in German cheesecake, which I tried to replicate for this challenge. I am not aware of a Wisconsin dairy that would make quark. And this is the dairy state, isn’t it? I had to make do with quark, well "quark" from outside of Wisconsin. It was painful but there was a challenge to complete. The quark had a sour cream like consistency and wasn’t as dense as quark is supposed to be. I went ahead anyway, whipped up my 7 egg whites (which are responsible for the light texture of the cheesecake) and made the custard (quark, yolks, sugar, grated lemon peel) and poured everything into my blind baked shortcrust. The filling rose beautifully and did not sink. Am I happy with the result? Well, it’s not the German cheesecake I know (hence the c-minor) but we enjoyed the Wisconsinized version so much that we devoured half of the cake in one sitting.

Was your pie underbaked, overbaked or just right? What was your favorite part of the process?

I would think that the bottom quarter of the cake was a tad underbaked because the custard was not as thick as I expected. My favorite part is always the moment when I incorporate the meringue into the custard. So light, so satisfying to pour into the pan.

How did you add a Wisconsin touch to your flavors or decoration?

Since I did not find Wisconsin quark (that will change soon, right?) I cooked a compote of local cherries to go with the cake.

How did you do?

Pleasantly satisfied.