Kuchen (coogan) may very well be the equivalent of the Mexican tamale. The recipe varies by family as well as regions in the country of origin and as such, the tradition of making it, is handed down generation after after generation by keepers of the torch.

I am the self-proclaimed keeper of the torch, not because I’m all that and a bag of chips, but because food to me, is so much more than nourishing the body. As best as I can, I not only want to create food, but I want to share it with others and hopefully, hand down these traditions to future generations.

I attempted Kuchen very ambitiously (and haphazardly) from my grandmother’s very vague recipe. It was ok, but I wasn’t happy with the crust at all, and it was certainly not what I remembered. Granted that was 36 plus years ago. My dad’s cousin (Lillian) who is 93, graciously agreed to give me a hands-on Kuchen lesson. As it turned out, there were many lessons I learned, not just the making of the ever elusive Kuchen dough:

Lessons from the master Kuchen maker:
1) Go slow. This is an all day project and you can’t hurry yeast. You can’t hurry a lot of things.
2) Don’t roll your dough too thin. You can’t expect your dough to support the filling if it’s too thin.
3. In order to touch the dough, see the texture, smell the cinnamon, your senses must be present.
4. You are a part of a legacy. It doesn’t mean you have to swallow it whole; take the good parts and add your own. Your great grandmother didn’t have shortening.
5. Thurn women may be tiny, but we are fierce. We make do. We think for ourselves, outside the lines. For as much as we are fierce however, we give generously; of our time, our talents, and our resources.

I now give you the actual recipe with the caveat that no tutorial or step-by-step YouTube video can teach you how to do this. It is experienced.

Dissolve 1 package of yeast in 1/2cup warm water
3/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shortening
Approximately 5 cups flour

Beat eggs. Mix warm water, shortening, sugar, salt, then flour. Knead well. Let rise in greased bowl covered in wax paper for 1 1/2 hours. Knead down. Let rise another hour.

Grab about a handful and roll out dough to a 9 inch circle. There is a handy plastic board (by Tupperware) which gives you the measurements and it is so much easier to peel the dough off this surface to place in the pie tin. Use tin pie tins that have been greased and place dough in pie tins, making sure the sides are well covered.

The filling:
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
* you can also add a carton of cottage cheese, but I’m not a fan of the cottage cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Lillian says she doubled this recipe and it made 6 Kuchen. She also made it ahead of time and kept it refrigerated.

To assemble: take the unbaked crust in the pie tin and lay your fruit of choice in the bottom, just enough to cover the bottom. We made peach, blueberry, prune, and apple. I would bake the apples first and cook prunes prior to using for filling. Ladle about a cup of the filling over the fruit. It should be only half full and the crust should be high enough in the pie tin to accommodate the filling. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake @350 for about 20 minutes. The middle should be jiggly (I did use that word) but set.

Cool on wire racks.







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Categories: Traditions


Diligent seeker of health and nutrition, Paleo follower, and creative culinary practicer...


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