Janie and her 14 year old daughter, Victoria, were invited to make the trip to Namibia this last winter to teach the staff at a Cheetah Conservancy to make cheese. (See our blog article) While she was there, she ran into a problem and we decided to ask you if you have any ideas:
In the German speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Quark/Topfen is highly recommended as a compress to alleviate inflammation. I don't know how it works, but it does work. Say you strain a muscle, slap some on, then wrap a towel or plastic wrap on it. The injury will improve. Those are those old wonderful remedies that are slowly lost to buying an over-the-counter "pill" instead.
Elizabeth Reisch's Quark/Topfen Strudel
Makes 2 Strudel
1/2 C unsalted butter
¾ C sugar (or you can cut down on this if you're watching your sugar)
5 egg yolks
16 oz (1 lb) Quark/Topfen
Pinch of salt
Grated lemon peel from one lemon (only yellow part of the rind)
½ C sour cream
1/3 C raisins (soak overnight or lightly boil them for a few minutes in spicy rum, like Captain Morgans)
5 egg whites
Grab some phyllo dough from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. When you use this dough, brush some butter between the individual layers of dough. For each strudel, don't be shy, use about 5 layers.
Whip sugar, butter, salt and grated lemon peel until creamy. Blend in the yolks, one at a time. Add the raisins, sour cream and the Quark/Topfen. Then gently fold in the egg whites. Start by first folding in about 1/3 of the whites. Then fold in the rest.
Spread the mixture on the filo dough about ½ inch thick. Don't spread all the way to the edges. Leave about 1.5 inches or more free. Then roll your filo dough into what looks like a baguette, folding under the tips of the loaf (so the filling will not come out). Place onto a greased cookie/baking pan with the edge of the filo dough side down (so the filling won't ooze out). Brush with a bit of beaten egg, poke some holes in the top with a fork or tooth pick, and bake at about 350 F for about 50-60 min. If the dough expands too much and the filling comes out, relax, it still tastes great.
Variation: Baked Quark/Topfen Cake
Sometimes, I don't want to make 2 Strudels. So, I make one Strudel and one cake. I take half of the mixture, pour it over a graham cracker crust (either in a pie form or in a round cake form that has a removable bottom) leaving room in the pan to allow the cake to expand upward, and then bake this for about 40 min at 350, or until golden brown on the top.
For the cake, remove from the oven and immediately take a knife to loosen the cake sides. Let cool. This cake will hold in the refrigerator for a week. You can also make a sweet pastry dough bottom, bake it for 12 minutes, then pour the mixture on top and bake for another 40 minutes or until golden brown.
I think these dishes taste even better on day 2 and day 3, but usually nothing is left after day 1.
These will be better than anything you can get in the world's best pastry shops in Vienna. Remember, things made from scratch always include better ingredients than any pastry/bakery would be able to afford to use.