One of the bonuses of being married to a Dutchman is that we make a trip to Europe every couple of years to visit family (and have a holiday of course). Mostly my husband is very happy for the beautiful food and produce we eat at home in Australia but he still needs his Dutch dairy fix every couple of years!
Dairy plays an important role in the economy and cuisine of The Netherlands. For the Dutch, cheeses, milk, yoghurts and other dairy products are not only staple foods but national cultural symbols, and a key agricultural export. While you may be familiar with Dutch cheeses like Gouda and Edam, dairy products like kwark are just as delicious and commonly eaten.
Kwark (also known as Quark and common in most northern European countries as well as eastern Europe) is a fresh, soft cheese. It is made from warming soured milk until it curdles, then adding lactic acid bacteria and finally straining to produce a firm soft cheese. It is used widely in both savoury and sweet dishes.
Kwark is high in protein and it also contains good amounts of fat, calcium, phosphate and a small amount of natural sugar (lactose). It is also very low in salt (usually much lower than other cheeses).
In The Netherlands, Kwarktaart is a traditional recipe and often the choice for celebrations. It’s also strawberry season so I’ve combined fresh, in season strawberries with kwark to make a traditional tart. Kwark (quark) can be found in supermarkets and specialist stores in Australia. The brand I like the best is Barambah Organics. I hope you enjoy this Dutch specialty!
100 grams rolled oats (choose gluten free oats for intolerances)
100 grams almond meal
5 medjool dates
2 tablespoons coconut oil
600 grams kwark/quark
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup milk of choice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
5 sheets of gelatine
3 tablespoons of raw caster sugar (or preferred sweetener eg raw honey, maple syrup)
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of a springform pan. Place ingredients for base in a food processor and blend until broken down and sticking together. Press the base mixture into the base of pan and place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool.
Soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Squeeze water out of gelatine sheets and add to saucepan with milk. Gently warm the milk and stir frequently to dissolve the gelatine. Stir 3 tablespoons of sugar (or other sweetener), vanilla, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest from one lemon into quark, and then add cooled gelatine mixture to kwark mixture. Pour this into springform pan. Cover and place in fridge for at least 6 to 8 hours.
Top with fresh strawberries, invite friends over and serve with your favourite tea or coffee!!