Who’d have ever thought cheese could be made at home? And thanks to that one ingredient, a whole lot of desserts were within reach. Yes, cheese is easily available off the supermarket shelves these days in India. I’m not just talking about cheese spreads or block mozzarella here. I’m talking about soft cheeses like cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, quark etc. While these are available in conveniently-sized 200 gm and 400 gm plastic tubs, they cost a bomb! But these can be all yours for much less if you take some effort and a few hours of time snatched from here and there over a few days.
I first experimented with mascarpone sometime last year and was delighted to be able to make cheese as good (or shall I say better?) than store-bought ones. Next came ricotta. That too turned out beautiful. Now I regularly make mascarpone and ricotta, as well as cream cheese at home for various bakes and desserts that I prepare on order at Lotsa Lavender.
I was also dying to make quark for a really long time. I’d not come across many desserts that called for quark, probably because it is quite sour. But then the pictures of this cheese as well as some bakes on PAB were too tempting! I finally tried my hand at quark last week. It was a glorious rain-drenched evening when i pulled the freshly-made cheese out of the refrigerator. It was somewhat similar to cream cheese, but more sour.
While a chocolate-based dessert using quark playing on my mind, I ended up making something that was a cross between a trifle pudding and a full-on red velvet cake. I love small single serves and that’s how I served the Quark & Red Velvet Trifle. I reserved one for the picture, which I later gave to my 6-year-old nephew. He ate it quickly and ran off to play without saying a word. Just as I was thinking this dessert was probably more suited to adult palates, he ran back into the kitchen to say “Chitti, the cake and cream cup was very tasty,” before running out to play again.
I also have a potato-quark salad and savoury pie lined up, but that’s reserved for later!
Adapted from Passionate About Baking
Milk – 3.5 cups (see Note 1)
Cultured buttermilk – ½ cup (I used ¼ cup curd + ¼ cup water, well blended)
Bring the milk to a boil and let it cool completely
Add buttermilk and mix
Let it rest undisturbed for 24 hours in a warm corner of the kitchen
One full day later, line a sieve with cheesecloth (or a thin kitchen towel). Place this on a bowl with at least ½-ltr capacity to collect the drained whey water
Pour the curds into the lined sieve and secure. Pull the edges together and twist it up or secure with a rubber band
Place the entire apparatus in the refrigerator for 24 hours
Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Us eth whey water for making chapatti/roti/piranha or bread dough
Recipe calls for full fat milk. I used standardised toned milk that has 3% fat plus ¼ cup of fresh top milk cream (malai) that I normally save up.
QUARK-Red Velvet Layer Dessert
(Makes 6 small individual servings)
Quark cheese – ¼ cup
Whipped cream – ¼ cup
Icing sugar – 4-6 tbsp. (adjust to taste)
Dried cranberries – 1 tbsp
Mini chocolate chips – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp (for garnish)
Disposable single-serve cups in any shape or small glass bowls
Cut each cupcake into 3 layers
Place 1 layer at the bottom of each cup
Beat cheese with a spoon and fold in whipped cream and icing sugar
Add dried cranberries and chocolate chips
Spoon a bit of the cheese mixture on top of the cake layer
Place another layer of cake
Spoon some more cheese mixture and garnish with chocolate chips
Chill for some time and serve
PS: I also added some crumbled red velvet cake along the border
This post is for the A-Z series Blogging Marathon for the month of Sept. Alphabet – Q, Theme – Misc. Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 32
Logo courtesy : Preeti
For recipes from my fellow bloggers that start with Q, click on the link below: