Let us rewind to Monday before last when I was sitting on a London Overground Train with my Mother after a stressful day of flat hunting. I was checking through my emails on my phone, and I saw I'd had one from Lake District Dairy Co. Quark to ask if I wanted a hamper of their Quark, along with some other ingredients and recipes so I could play around with it in my cooking. While usually I'm totally down for things like this, I was about to say no because to be honest, I've been rushed off my feet recently and the last thing I need, even if it is kitchen related is more work to do. However, the reason I said yes is because my Mother promised me she'd help me make the recipes. Therefore, everything onwards was going to be her fault.
Let us fast forward to a few days later at my parents house, while when we were having breakfast there was a knock on the door. I was still in my pyjamas and my Dad's phone rang, so my Mum went to get what turned out to be the courrier delivery. Now, what you have to understand is my mother is very, very small. Big things come in small packages and all that jazz. So, when this giant picnic hamper comes around the corner that is almost as big as my Mother and suitably hiding her from view, you can imagine she was very, very apologetic for the amount of work she had created for me (well, for us both now) because even she had not contemplated how big it would be! I quickly forgave her when I opened it up, however.
Whoever packed the hamper really had thought of every single ingredient I could possibly need to make the two recipes intended; this strawberry mousse cake (it was actually meant to be a cheesecake, but we all decided a better description is a mousse cake) and healthy breakfast muffins. I had eggs, milk, baking powder, sugar, flour, fresh strawberries, everything and in a beautiful hamper I can't wait to use for picnics on the beach. I'm always down for all types of alternative breakfast foods, and the cheesecake recipe and ingredients really bailed me out as my Aunt was due to arrive and while I'd decided to make Mustard Milanese from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for dinner, I had yet to decide on a dessert.
I'm not going to lie. This blog is mostly about food that anyone can easily achieve in their own kitchens, and while I did want to go ahead and post this recipe as I do really like it, I would only try it if you are used to baking and making your own desserts. As you can see, even me and my mother had a little trouble getting this out of its tin and onto the stand. However, if you do want to try this it is really worth it. I'm sorry, but because Quark is pretty hard to source in the USA I've only used English/ European measurements this time around. I have changed the recipe for the bistuit base a little, hopefully to make removal easier.
- 175g Digestive Biscuits
- 85g Unsalted Butter
- 225g Fresh Strawberries, plus extra for decoration
- 75g Caster Sugar
- 5 Small Gelatine Leaves
- 500g The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark
- 100ml Whipping Cream
- 1 Egg White
Cover the base of a 20cm cake tin with a removable base and spring release with a ring of baking parchment. Crush the biscuits in a bowl. Melt the butter and mix it into the biscuits. Pour the biscuit mix into the tin and press down so it forms a base over the bottom of the tin. Refrigerate, then get started on the strawberry bit. Hull and quarter the strawberries, and add them to a saucepan with about 2 tbsp water and 25g of the sugar. Stir over a medium heat until the strawberries have softened. Remove from the heat, and blend into a smooth sauce in a food processor. Press back into the saucepan through a sieve to remove all of the seeds. Set on the side of the heat to stay relatively warm, but not boiling while you soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 mins. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and stir them one by one into the warm strawberry mixture, removed from the heat, until they have all dissolved. In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to whip the cream, the rest of the sugar and the Quark together until they are smooth. Beat in the strawberry mixture. In a third bowl use the electric mixer to beat the egg white until it stands in soft peaks. Fold the egg white into the strawberry mix. This should take about 5 minutes, so be patient with it! It may seem like it is never going to all be combined, but I promise you it will be eventually! Pour over the biscuit base and chill for at least 6 hours until the cheesecake has set, but preferably overnight. When it is time to serve, run a sharp, thin knife that you a have run under a cold tap for a few minutes around the edge of the tin to release the cheesecake, and once it is on your desired plate or stand, decorate with sliced strawberries.
What was the last special dessert you made for yourself, your family, friends or a crowd?