Not to be confused with minuscule subatomic particles… quark is one of dairy’s best-kept secrets. If you haven’t heard of quark, it’s a soft fresh cheese which has been popular in Europe for hundreds of years. We like to think that it’s something like the lovechild between yogurt and cottage cheese – it’s absolutely delicious, nutritious, and full of protein.
Quark’s supple, creamy texture and delicate flavour make it a splendid substitute for thick cream, crème fraiche, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or other dairy staples. This subtle, yogurt-like flavour, neither sweet nor sour, gives it the versatility to enrich sweet or savoury dishes alike. You can enjoy quark by itself adorned with fresh fruit and honey or bake a cake with your new-found secret ingredient. Quark is fresher than sour cream and lends a lovely silky-smooth texture to cakes.
While we’d all love to eat creamy, indulgent food all day every day, we know that it doesn’t take long before we start feeling the effects, as well as feeling our pants get tighter and tighter! This is where quark’s benefits shine even brighter. Naturally low in calories and fat, quark packs a hefty protein-fuelled punch – for example, one serving of our Bio-dynamic Low Fat Quark contains 20.7g of protein! Not to mention less than half a gram of fat. It also contains probiotics, so it’s a friend to your gut-health as well!
Each tub of our lovingly crafted South Australian quark contains billions of probiotics – about 1.5 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) per serve, to be exact. Eating probiotics encourages a healthy gut flora, which may improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. Like all dairy, quark is a good source of calcium, with enough in one serve to hit about 20% of the Recommended Dietary Intake. It is also stocked with Vitamin A, which helps to support eye and skin health, and B12; which helps to support our nervous system and brain function.
But what are some of the best ways to eat quark? How can you factor quark into your diet? Some prefer straight out the tub with fruit and granola for a high-protein, low-fat breakfast option, or spread on crunchy crackers with smoked salmon and dill for a delightful snack in a pinch. And when it comes to cooking or baking, quark is a nutritious go-to for many sweet and savoury recipes calling for a creamy dairy staple.
To give you some inspiration, here are six of our favourite ways to use this quintessential dairy ingredient in your cooking…
1. Quark Cheesecakes
Cheesecake has been around almost as long as cheese, with some records suggesting they were served to athletes during the first Greek Olympic games in 776 BCE! Classically made with varieties of fresh cheese, many similar to quark, the modern cream cheese we know as a cheesecake ingredient only emerged in 1872.1
Quark was one of the top choices in Germanic cheesecake varieties and remains the mainstay in German Cheesecake recipes to this day. Used in place of cream cheese, it gives a slightly less sweet but equally creamy flavour with the firm texture needed to cut a perfect slice (or two!). It’s almost as indulgent with plenty of health benefits thanks to quark. So why not try substituting quark in your next cheesecake? It gives the same delicious, rich and creamy flavour as cream cheese, with enough nutrition and protein to strengthen the first Olympians!
2. Quark Dips
If the bio-dynamic cheese on your platter is looking a bit lonely, bring another dairy friend to the table and use quark to make a fresh dip! Quark makes a great base to throw together a light and tasty dip with a healthy twist – with less fat and more protein than some other creamy or oil-based dips.
You could mix quark through finely chopped cucumber and mint for a refreshing, low-fat twist on tzatziki. Or blend with fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice for a summery herb dip, delicious combined with colourful fresh veggie sticks.
3. Quark Cakes
Quark can be used in place of other dairy in many cake recipes and offers a delicate texture without masking the cake’s flavour. It’s a perfect option for lemon cupcakes, where too much butter can cover the zesty lemon flavour you’re striving for. For an idea of how to use quark throughout various recipes, it has a very similar moisture content to sour cream, with a fresher, less tangy taste.
Recipes prepared with quark are typically higher in protein and lower in fat and calories, making it a great option to enjoy those baked dishes you love with a bit less guilt!
4. Quark Pasta
If there is one thing that’s notoriously hard to cut when we’re trying to be good, it’s those sinfully indulgent, creamy and cheesy pasta dishes… but quark can help!
Swapping in quark for your other commonly used dairy ingredients may help to lower the fat content while still producing a lovely smooth finish. Try using it in a creamy pesto pasta, or add as a substitute for béchamel in lasagne – simply season well and it gives a lovely rich finish.
5. Quark Mousse
Few things make a diet quiver in fear like chocolate. Chocolate mousse can be deceptive, it tastes so light and fluffy, but can often be swimming in sugar and calories. A soft-set cheese may seem like an odd choice to make chocolate mousse, but trust us, it works.
Quark can be used to make an almost fat-free fluffy chocolate mousse in record time.
Simply get out your whisk and whisk away! Whip up your quark until it gets nice and fluffy, and stir through half the amount of melted dark chocolate. Leave in the fridge to set, and you’re all set. Add a pinch of cinnamon to finish it off if you’re feeling fancy.
6. Quark Curries
Who doesn’t love a rich, creamy curry? They’re such a great comfort food, but if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, this is where quark shines!
If you feel like a korma or butter chicken, but are watching your portions, quark can help reduce fat content while adding protein – helping you feel fuller, for longer. Instead of adding cream, yogurt or butter, stir through a good helping of quark towards the end of cooking for that rich, creamy finish.
So, there you have it! Quark. It’s not just a noise a duck with a sore throat makes, its one of dairy’s best-kept secrets. An exceptionally versatile soft-set fresh cheese which makes a perfect substitute for so many other dairy products, with a protein punch that will leave you feeling fuller for longer
Looking for a delicious quark to try in one of these recipes? Paris Creek Farms Bio-Dynamic Quark is made from 100% certified bio-dynamic milk from coddled cows grazing in lush South Australian pasture. But don’t just take our word for it, try some quark for yourself! Check out our range online and find a retailer stocking quark near you.
Paris Creek Farms. Love the land, love the cows, love the flavour!
- cheesecake.com, The Rich History of a Favorite Dessert, cheesecake.com/History-Of-Cheesecake