Whenever I visit my parents in Germany, I beg my mom to make me her cheesecake. Every time I'd go to a Café anywhere in Germany, I'd order cheesecake. Because the German cheesecake is the best thing there is. Nothing else comes close. So why don't I make my own, you ask? Well, because I live in Canada now. And Canada has no quark. Quark is the main ingredient of cheesecake, and without quark, no cheesecake.
Years ago I tried to make my own quark, but the results were disastrous. A grainy, yucky mess. Then I tried to make cheesecake with cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese... you name it. None of it was working. I needed quark.
If you can find it, quark is very expensive in North America. A pound is around 12 dollars, which is absolutely ridiculous if you know that a pound in Germany is less than a buck. On the quest for the perfect cheesecake, I needed to find a way to make my own quark. But how?
Instant Pot to the rescue
A few months ago I purchased an electric pressure cooker. The brand "Instant Pot" came highly recommended, and despite the exorbitant purchase price, I haven't regretted buying it yet. I makes amazing stews, chilis, soups, rice... even pasta, and hard boiled eggs. This electric pressure cooker also has a yogurt setting. I tried to make yogurt a couple of times, but I failed miserably. Not sure what it is with me and dairy. HOWEVER, this particular yogurt setting will also make quark. By simply pouring 2 litres of buttermilk in the pot, gently heating it on the yogurt setting for 8 hours and draining it will give you fantastic quark. 2 litres of buttermilk give you 1-1/2 pounds of quark - enough for two small cheesecakes.
I had to convert my mom's recipe to a smaller spring form pan, because I really don't want to make huge cheesecakes. Just small ones, a few bites, and then I don't feel so bad eating it all. I halved my mom's recipe, found the proper ingredients, and fine-tuned the baking temperatures and times. And finally, after 18 years in Canada, I managed to make the perfect cheesecake. Not too fluffy, not too firm. Nice and brown on the top, and silky smooth on the inside.
The recipe? Well, I cannot share that with you. It's a family secret. Some things are just too good to be shared.