Friday, January 24, 2014

Apricot Kuchen

Something's kuchen in das kitchen
As the grey, blah days continue, my thoughts drift back to summer and idyllic days driving through vineyard-covered hillsides. One of our vacation destinations this summer was the Okanagan. Anyone who reads my column regularly will know that it is a regular haunt of mine! We stayed with friends, and they sent us home with a generous box of apricots from their garden tree. What a wonderful gift! Our hostess, Margie, made us a version of this Apricot Kuchen, which I absolutely loved. “Kuchen” means cake, and fresh-picked fruit plus cake equals a summer treat like no other.

Behold my bounteous orbs!
These tiny apricots were at the peak of ripeness. I had to be extremely careful not to squeeze them too hard or they would burst! The cake is a simple short cake – it is really easy and doesn’t have many ingredients. Lay the fruit on top of the batter and it sinks down ever so slightly into the cake. A light dusting of cinnamon and sugar on top creates a smoky, caramelized crust on the fruit. After baking, brush the top of the cake with a glaze made from melted apricot jam. In the end you get a fruity little coffee cake, to enjoy in the afternoon with tea, or as I have been doing — with breakfast. This Apricot Kuchen was even better the next day, as the juices from the cooked apricots and the glaze soaked into the top of the cake. Yum! 

Fruity wheel of awesomeness
To peel or not to peel?That is a personal preference, for sure. My personal preference was to not fuss over peeling 12 tiny apricots! The fruit was so ripe that the skins were practically non-existent after baking. However, if I were to make this with peaches, I would definitely peel them. You can make this cake with any stone fruit such as peaches, plums or nectarines. Try it with cherries — I recommend you use a cherry pitter so you don’t go crazy!

This was my second breakfast.
Click through for the recipe and instructions

Apricot Kuchen
Inspired by the fabulous Margie Phillips, and based on a recipe by Rolce Redard Payne and Dorrit Speyer Senior from the book ‘Cooking with Fruit’.
Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 small apricots, washed and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon apricot jam (optional)

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. Prepare a 9” springform pan by spraying with cooking spray and setting aside. (You could also use an 8” square pan). 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until incorporated. Beat in flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. 
  4. Lay the apricot slices in concentric circles on top of the batter, or in any manner that pleases you! Sprinkle slices with fresh lemon juice. Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over the apricots. 
  5. Bake for about an hour, or until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  6. Let cool slightly. Melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan or in the microwave (carefully, it will bubble up and be extremely hot!) and brush melted jam over the top of the whole cake. This step is optional — the cake tastes just as delicious without it. 
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or eat cold with breakfast. This would also be very tasty with caramel sauce, or a liqueur-enhanced whipped cream. Enjoy!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lemon juice listed in ingredients, but not utilized in the process?!?!

Lulu said...

Thank you for pointing out the error – the recipe has been corrected. You sprinkle the lemon juice on the apricot slices before you sprinkle them with the sugar. Hope that helps!

Bob Rasner said...

Been serving this to guest with morning coffee at our B&B, The Inn at 240 in Hudson, NY. Never any leftovers!

Lulu said...

Glad you and your guests like the Apricot Kuchen, Bob! It really does make an awesome breakfast, doesn't it? Thanks for reading :)