Quarkkeulchen with Cranberries and a Cinnamon Blueberry Compote

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

I adore Tom’s grandmother’s cooking, who at the awesome age of 90 still lives alone, baking and cooking some incredible dishes. Her silver hair gleaming in the sunlit kitchen, her small hands kneading or chopping, she tells stories—sometimes happy, but often sad—of how they fled the Nazis during the second world war. Both Soeren and I can listen for hours, my eyes often welling up at the courageous lady standing in front of me making one of her specialties for her great grandson and me. She has a wonderful knack for serving Saxonian specialties, like lentil soup with hearty sausage and quarkkeulchen smothered with cooked prunes. 

Nostalgic and traditional, quarkkeulchen are one of Soeren’s favorites. He’s been asking me for several months to put up the recipe on the blog and share it with my readers. We made these while he was at home ill, surviving on liquids, antibiotics and cough syrup—I really needed to get some nourishment into him! And to make matters worse:

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I adore Tom’s grandmother’s cooking, who at the awesome age of 90 still lives alone, baking and cooking some incredible dishes. Her silver hair gleaming in the sunlit kitchen, her small hands kneading or chopping, she tells stories—sometimes happy, but often sad—of how they fled the Nazis during the second world war. Both Soeren and I can listen for hours, my eyes often welling up at the courageous lady standing in front of me making one of her specialties for her great grandson and me. She has a wonderful knack for serving Saxonian specialties, like lentil soup with hearty sausage and quarkkeulchen smothered with cooked prunes. 

Nostalgic and traditional, quarkkeulchen are one of Soeren’s favorites. He’s been asking me for several months to put up the recipe on the blog and share it with my readers. We made these while he was at home ill, surviving on liquids, antibiotics and cough syrup—I really needed to get some nourishment into him! And to make matters worse:

“Oh no!” he exclaimed looking at the menu planner for the school cafeteria for the day. “I am missing quarkkeulchen at school today!”

That was all the motivation I needed. Fritters, flat dumplings, pancakes—they have been called all sorts of names—quarkkeulchen are easy to make with simple pantry ingredients. Quarkkeulchen are typically made of boiled potatoes, quark cheese, flour and raisins and served with generous dollops of applesauce. They are generally eaten during lunch time or as a afternoon snack. (To note, they freeze easily and can be quickly defrosted in the microwave or in the oven on a low heat.) Soothing and satisfying, I knew Soeren would devour them.

Tom’s family comes from the German region of Saxony, and quarkkeulchen are one of the specialties of this region. My recipe is based on Tom’s grandmother’s recipe, with a few of of my minor adjustments. I prefer adding dried cranberries or cherries to the quarkkeulchen and usually make either fruit compote or stewed fruit, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg. (My blueberry compote provides the perfect sweet balance adding a fruity highlight and the cinnamon provides a wonderful sweet warmth.) I also hang the quark overnight to make it thicker and cheesier, which gives the quarkkeulchen a great consistency.

Make double portions of these because I guarantee you, plates will be licked cleaned and you’ll be begged for more. Soeren and I wish you Guten Appetit!

Method:

  1. Place a sieve over a small saucepan and pour the blueberries, allowing them to drip, making sure to reserve the blueberry juice.
  1. Add cinnamon stick and icing sugar to the juices and simmer for approx. 5 minutes.
  1. Dissolve the cornstarch in a tablespoon of water and then pour it into the blueberry juice. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, then add the blueberries and allow to warm through. Steep and keep warm, making sure the compote does not cook. Discard cinnamon stick before serving.
  1. Peel boiled potatoes, discarding the skins, and mash finely with a potato masher or using a potato ricer. Place mashed potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add quark, sugar, egg yolks, flour, cranberries, lemon zest and mix with a wooden spoon to a silky smooth batter.
  1. In a separate, clean bowl, whisk egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff. Make sure not to overbeat the egg whites. Using a metal spatula gently fold the egg whites into the quark batter. Allow the batter to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  1. Melt some butter in a pan. Using two tablespoons drop about a tablespoon of batter into the hot pan and gently flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry the quarkkeulchen on each side for 2 minutes until they are a gorgeous golden color.
  1. Serve the quarkkeulchen with the warm blueberry compote.
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