Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And now for a short break in Germany!

I’m getting ready to hightail it out of town tomorrow for the States for a spot of book promotion and won’t be around for several days. I had planned on dovetailing my previous entry (confit de canard) with one of my favorite recipes: cassoulet, since it uses confit as one of its ingredients. Problem is, the recipe is rather long and involved (and somewhat difficult, truth be told), and I just don’t have time to get into it today. But I will, so stand by for that one!

Today, I’m going to share one of the Blechta family’s favorite summer recipes, Peach Kuchen. It’s a recipe we inherited from my mom, and I’m pretty certain that she got it from her mother. How far back it goes is anyone’s guess, but I’ll bet it’s pretty old.

Judging by the name, it must originally come from Germany where her people were from a few generations back. All of us make it at least a few times when those fantastic local, tree-ripened peaches show up. This just isn’t worth making with peaches that haven’t seen a tree for several weeks. Get the best peaches you can find. Usually, they’ll need a day or two on the counter to get to that perfect stage of ripeness.

My sister Lynette is the queen of this particular dish. There was one summer year’s ago when she seemed to produce one every night for about 2 weeks. Not that anyone complained! It turns out best when the peaches are really ripe. That way the skins come off easily. My suggestion is to use one of the thicker-skinned freestone peach varieties. That way they’ll skin easily and you’ll be able to pull the fruit off the pit with your fingers or with minimal knife work.

We generally serve this two ways: with vanilla ice cream or with whipped cream. Either way is quite nice, but some good homemade whipped cream tastes best in my opinion.

We’ve also shared this recipe with lots of people who love it as much as we do. Now it’s your turn. Do yourself a favor and make two!

Elsie’s Peach Kuchen
Makes 1 8-inch kuchen

2-4 peaches, depending on size
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 lemon rind, grated
1 egg, slightly beaten
2-3 Tbs dark brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

2. Dip peaches in boiling water for 3-5 minutes to loosen skins.

3. Skin and slice peaches into eighths.

4. Cream butter, then add sugar, and beat until fluffy.

5. Add flour, salt, baking powder, lemon rind, and egg, and mix well.

6. Press the batter into an 8" pie pan with a fork and arrange the sliced peaches on top. A spiral design really looks nice, but concentric circles are easier.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for another 15 minutes. Watch that the crust doesn’t get too brown. Let this cool a fair bit so it will set up, but it should still be slightly warm.


S. C. Gates said...

Hey Rick, this sounds like a great dessert,fresh decent peaches are now absent from our local markets. Do you think plums might fare well in this dish? Do you think the skins of the plums should stay on?

Rick Blechta said...

I suppose plums would be good. Pears might work, too. I should have done this recipe about a month ago, but time just got away from me. If you use plums, I'd leave the skins on, unless they're really thick. Let me know the results if you try it, please and thank you!