Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kuchen, South Dakota special

Kuchen comes with a variety of fillings.
Kuchen is the South Dakota state dessert and if any are "the" kuchen, everyone says you'll find them in Eureka. Recipes for it were brought here by German and Russian German immigrants in the 1870s.

Basically, a cake-like custard pie, kuchen can have a variety of fillings, usually custard and/or fruit, fresh, canned or dried and plumped.

This version is from the Germans from Russia cookbook available for sale from the Eureka Pioneer Museum.

Minnie Keim's Kuchen
2 cakes yeast
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter or shortening
3 eggs
2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water.

Scald milk. As it cools, add shortening. When cool, stir in eggs and salt. Add flour and mix well. Add water with yeast and sugar.

Mix to an elastic dough, adding as much flour as necessary (3 cups won't hurt) to make it soft and pliable. Set in warm place for 45 minutes. While waiting, make the filling.

Filling. You may use any kind of fruit, remembering to add plenty of sugar if fruit is uncooked. A wonderful tangy blend is 3/4 scalded rhubarb and 1/4 raisins. Or you may use prunes, cooked and pitted. Another excellent combination is 3/4 cup cottage cheese blended with 4 TBSP. sweet sour cream, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup sugar. One favorite is made of even parts of butter, sugar, and peanut butter with 2 parts of flour.  

Knead dough after 45 minutes and put in back in warm place for 30 minutes. Knead again, place on well-floured board and roll to thickness of about 1/4 inch (not thin).

Line well-greased cake tins, bringing dough about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the tins. Brush with melted shortening and place in warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until pastry is raised.

Topping: Whatever filling you use, the topping must consist of one egg and an equal amount of sour cream, stirred well together. Pour this gently over the filling. Powder liberally with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 375 degrees.

Alternative version, Microwave filling
2 cups cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 TBSP. corn starch
1 TBSP. vanilla
Mix together in microwaveable bowl. Microwave 5-8 minutes until thick, stirring as it begins to thicken.
Add favorite fruit filling on crust (canned cherry or blueberry pie filling, prunes, peaches, raisins, etc.)
Pour custard on top of fruit and sprinkle with cinnamon. Add chopped nuts, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

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