Perhaps it is the same in other countries, but Dutch supermarkets seem to offer an ever growing number of what I'd like to call "cooking kits". You buy a box containing several sachets, containing spice mix, sauce mix, marinade mix, rice, condiments. On the box it tells you which fresh ingredients to add and how, and in this way you too can cook anything from chicken teriyaki to bobotie. Except the resulting dish doesn't usually really resemble the original.

I don't like these kits. Not only do they reduce lovely foreign dishes to packets of sauce powder, they are also quite the ripoff. You pay several euros for what is essentially a box of herbs, spices and additives. And most of the time, cooking the original dish from scratch isn't even that much more difficult!

The first time I found out about this, is when I wanted to make a kwark pie. Kwark pie is a bit like cheesecake, only it doesn't need to be baked. Our supermarket offered a Dr. Oetker kwark pie kit, containing: one sachet of gelatine with sugar and artificial flavouring. For a complete pie, you had to add a pie crust, kwark and whipping cream. That's almost the complete pie you still have to add! I decided I could do better than that myself and made up my own pie. The result is the following recipe that I've made often over the years and always turns out well.

For this recipe you will need kwark*. If you can't buy this where you live, firm (greek-style) yoghurt will work just as well. Just don't use the thin kind that you can pour.

There are several options for the crust. You could use a baked sweet pie crust (ready-made or homemade), or make one with cookie crumbs and butter, or with graham crackers. What I personally always do is to buy a pound cake, cut it into slices (1 to 1.5 cm thick) and layer the bottom of a 24 cm springform pan with those.

Then, for the filling you will need:

  • 500 g kwark (or 500 ml yoghurt)
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • Enough gelatine or agar for 500 ml of fluid
  • 4 limes
  • Sugar. I use about three to four table spoons of sugar, but then I like the contrast of sour filling and sweet crust. Adjust according to your own tastes.

Whip the cream and add it to the kwark. Mix.

If you use gelatine that needs softening (read the instructions): put it into a bowl of cold water. If you really like limes, you could zest one or two of them and add the zest to the kwark mix. Squeeze three of the limes and heat the juice in a small pan. For more lime taste, use three and a half limes. Cut the remaining (half) lime into thin slices, these are for decoration. When the lime juice is warm, squeeze as much water as possible out of the gelatine and add the gelatine to the lime juice. Mix until the gelatine is solved. Add the sugar to the mixture and stir again until solved.

Now add the juice mixture to the kwark mixture and mix well. Pour the filling over the crust and bang the pan on the work surface a few times to even out the filling. Put the lime slices on top in a aesthetically pleasing way and place the pie in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

When the pie has firmed up enough, you can serve it. Use a knife to cut along the sides of the pan, so that when you open the pan the filling doesn't stick to it. Cut into slices and eat!

Of course, many variations on this recipe are possible. You can add different flavours to the kwark mix, like lemon or orange, or vanilla , or even non-juiceable fruit like strawberries (whizz them up in a blender and mix them through) or passion fruit, or whatever else strikes your fancy. I find that generally sour or tart flavours work best. Enjoy!

*Kwark is a Dutch word, it's been noded under quark.