My first taste of peach kuchen was in 1971 and it was love at first bite! I was a senior in high school and had a part-time job in the office of a local feed manufacturing company in Lodi, CA. There was a wonderful German bakery in town, Knutson's Cottage Bakery, and they baked peach kuchens that were absolutely delightful! It was a real treat when one of us would run to the bakery and buy a kuchen for the office "snack." It wasn't until 1981 that I managed to find a recipe that was close to Knutson's. The card my recipe is on was written by a German lady in Lodi and it is a treasure to me. While my kuchens have never been quite as good as Mrs. Knutson's, they have become my daughter's favorite Christmas pastry. I've seen many variations on this recipe, especially in recent years with all the recipe sites online. Some of them are not a yeast crust, they are more like a cake crust. And some of them have an evaporated milk custard instead of the sour cream. I've not tried any of those, yet!
½ Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup lukewarm Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 – 5 Cups Flour
½ Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 envelope Dry Yeast
Place all ingredients in bread machine in order listed; process on the “dough” setting. Or, if you don’t have a bread machine, mix first 4 ingredients together. Stir in 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast. Mix well. Add remaining flour gradually, kneading dough until smooth and elastic. Place dough in buttered bowl and cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch dough down, divide into 6 equal portions. On floured board, roll each portion into a 9 inch circle and fit into greased 9 inch pie or cake pans. Let rise about 30 minutes.
1 Large can sliced peaches, thoroughly drained
3 Cups Sour Cream, room temperature
4 Eggs, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Arrange peaches on dough, do not allow slices to touch each other or overlap. Mix remaining ingredients together. Use a ladle or large spoon to evenly distribute sour cream mixture over peaches, spread to within ½ inch of the side of the pans (leaving a “rim” of crust). Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
Notes: Instead of peaches, use canned sliced pears, apricots, or prunes. Instead of fruit, use cottage cheese and the dish is now called Kase Kuchen . Use about ½ to ¾ cup cottage cheese for each pie, the custard step is the same as for fruit and you will still sprinkle with cinnamon.
Baked Kuchen freezes very well for several months. Wrap well with plastic wrap or seal one cake in a 1 gallon size freezer bag.