Recently I was honored to be challenged by a friend to make a traditional German plum kuchen. My friend remembered this kuchen to be a special, seasonal treat made with delicious, fresh and tart plums. A kuchen can either have a cake like crust like this one, or more of a yeasted crust like a pizza crust. Then, fresh, seasonal fruit is placed on top. Sometimes sugar and/or streusel can be placed on top before baking. Sometimes, powdered sugar is sprinkled on top after baking.
I am so very lucky to have my parent's orchard to pick from when it comes to seasonal fruit. They have some amazing plum trees and these are from a very small, new tree that happened to bear enough fruit to make a few kuchens this year.
For quite a while I had some photocopies of a very old cookbook that my mom has that happened to have a small chapter on kuchens. One local lady had a wonderful dough recipe that I will share with you here. I plan on sharing my gluten free/dairy free kuchen recipe soon as well as a yeasted kuchen and other fillings as well.
Here is the recipe for a traditional plum kuchen with streusel. Enjoy!
Cake-Like Kuchen Dough: (Enough for one 9" round kuchen)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter (cut into small pieces, then worked into the dough)
1-2 tablespoons cream
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, sea salt and baking powder together. Then, sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour mixture. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers as you would pie dough, forming a coarse meal.
Then, add in the egg and mix again with your hands. Add 1 tablespoon of cream. If the dough comes together into a ball at this stage, no more cream is needed. If however, it is still too dry to stick together into a ball, add one more tablespoon of cream.
Place the ball into a round 9 inch pie tin. Make sure you have a bowl of extra flour on hand to flour your fingers with as you pat out the dough. Pat out the dough into the pie tin to make sure it covers the bottom of the tin as well as the sides.
Place the dough shell into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the plum filling and the streusel.
About 2 cups plums, or enough to cover the dough completely. Cut the plums in half, remove the pit, then cut each half into 3 slices. Or, you may leave them in halves as in the photo above.
1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixed in.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons melted butter
Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl with a whisk. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and use a fork to mix it together.
Once your kuchen shell has been frozen for 15 minutes, fill it with plums, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the plums and sprinkle the streusel over it.
Bake the kuchen at 375 F for 30-40 minutes or until the sides of the pastry are golden brown and the fruit in the center is bubbling.
Huckleberry Ginger Variation:
Follow the directions for the streusel shell, cinnamon sugar and streusel.
Mix 2 cups of huckleberries (or blueberries work well for this too) with 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger. Sprinkle the fruit with the cinnamon sugar and the streusel and bake as directed above.
I hope that you enjoy these seasonal kuchens!
If this post made you hungry, pass it on to a fruit-loving friend!