Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kuchen with Aunt Elizabeth

For as long as I can remember, I have been searching for a recipe for Kuchen (pronounced "cookin" or "cuca" in my family). Not only was it the most delicious pastry from my childhood, but it came from the sweetest lady, my Great-Great Aunt Elizabeth, who I also called Memom. This wonderful lady could cook up anything without a recipe, donuts, noodle soup and various German dishes - comfort food at it's best. Memom was like a Grandma to me and I will always remember her kind, easy personality and gentle soul. She smiled with her eyes, loved with all her heart and taught with the patience of a saint. 

Memom would often visit us and come into the kitchen, cook up a cherry kuchen and fill the house with her warmth. She passed away when I was 12 years old and was the first person I was close to that died. Her spirit lives on though through the cross stitch pictures she left behind that grace my home, the impressions she made on me as a young girl and her name lives on in one of my daughters. I can still feel her spirit when I cook something she would have cooked while in the kitchen. That is probably why I have always wanted to find the recipe she used to make kuchen. 
Here's Memom playfully holding me as a baby. 

I was delighted to find a couple recipes for kuchen in the new bread book I bought recently. One used a yeast dough and the other did not - I went with the non-yeast recipe first. Here is my attempt at kuchen this weekend. I used the fruit I had on hand, peaches and cherries and I have to say there were many similarities, but this still was not the recipe my Memom used. This recipe had a crust to it, which hers did not, making me wonder if she used the yeast dough. Don't worry - I'll try that one next! But this one did have a custard top and her recipe definitely had that. While it was cooking. a very similar aroma, filled the house and it smelled so good! I knew I was on the right track! Memom used lots more cherries in her kuchen so next time I will have to make sure we have at least a couple cans of cherries on hand (I use the ones canned in fruit juice). This one was very yummy though and Jeff thought the crust was his favorite part. 

Lots of sewing going on here as well - a few things for mama (yay! I rarely sew for me) and some for others (Mother's Day gifts) as well!


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