Liptauer – where have you been all my life?

Silky smooth, light yet rich, hot mustard tempering sweet caraway. Liptauer cheese spread – where have you been all my life?

For Nigella you’re a deli-counter treat from childhood, for others find you in Austrian, Hungarian or even Slovakian taverns. My friend Kate remembers you on a Lois Daish menu many years ago.

But for me you are a new friend at pre-dinner drinks, perfect for tastebuds jaded by insipid hummus or looking for an alternative to Kiwi onion dip.

There are oodles of variations. Some use butter, others cottage cheese, gherkins sometimes replace capers. The common elements in all are caraway seeds, shallot and sweet paprika.

This recipe comes from Patricia Michelson’s Cheese. I used extra caraway cos I love them so.

Liptauer cheese dip

150g cream cheese, softened
100g quark, or other low fat soft cheese
100g unsalted butter
1 tsp hot English mustard powder
1 tsp sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian, not Spanish smoked
1 tsp baby capers, not in brine, rinsed
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry, chopped very finely
1 shallot, diced very finely
1/2 tsp caraway seeds – I used about 3/4 tsp
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl cream together the cream cheese and quark, then beat in the butter until smooth.

Beat in the mustard powder, paprika, capers, anchovies, shallot and caraway seeds, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill for a day to let the flavours develop. Serve with rye bread, vegetable crudités or thin crackers.

If you want to add a little retro panache serving it as a mould. Stand the bowl in hot water for 30 seconds and turn the cheese out onto a serving platter. Garnish the mound artfully with curly parsley and a wry grin.

Or serve it gussied it up with radishes for a great canapé. 

4 thoughts on “Liptauer – where have you been all my life?

  1. You can also make it by using bits of old hard cheese (? Cwmglyn cheese) and grating them up and softening them with butter or cream cheese before adding the other stuff…….

    Happy days,

  2. I have a question concerning the availability of quark. My beloved Liptauer recipe asks for much more than 100g and I have so many more recipes up my sleeve asking for quark. Where can I get some in NZ? I just moved from Europe to Dunedin and I am already thinking of turning my home into a dairy industry to fill the gap…

    1. Good question about Quark. I can get it at some supermarkets in Wellington. Is there an organic shop in Dunedin? Karikaas is a brand you might be able to find. Check out their website- they call it kwark.

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