What fun that I got to be Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes this month!! For me that is always a bit nerve wracking, because I want to pick something everyone will like. But also, it is fun to be the host, because it means everyone gathers in “your [virtual] kitchen” for a bread baking party!
As I considered all the possibilities of breads we could bake this December, I knew I wanted to do something special, but different. I thought about something difficult and labor intensive to finish off the year but knew that even I would have trouble with a challenging recipe. I wanted something, not necessarily “simple,” but a bread that would be delicious as breakfast or dessert. With all the holiday parties coming up, hopefully this can serve as a perfect dish to bring and share.
This recipe is with apples, but I will tell you the honest truth…if I had fresh cranberries around here, I would certainly be throwing in a couple handfulls to the apple mixture. If you want to try a different fruit, you are welcome to.
The Cream Cheese Topping is purely optional. I feel like having a sweet, creamy topping makes it more of a dessert and less of a bread. But I am just going to stick with my story that at least there’s yeast! And to be honest, the guests that enjoyed this said that the cream on top “made it.” It truly was delicious and a perfect blend of flavors.
Kuchen is said to be the German word for cake. Maybe someone more German than I can confirm that? There are several “types” of kuchen that can be prepared:
- Rolled - filled dough in a long spiral, baked & sliced to serve
- Custard - thick cake-y crust with sweet custard filling
- Cheesecake - yeasted crust with fruit and a cream cheese filling
- Coffeecake - cinnamon sugar streaks in a butter cake
- Pie - thick cake-y crust with apple-pie filling and sweet white icing
We are making something (that I think) is closest to the “Pie Kuchen.”
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/4 - 2 3/4 cups flour, divided
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup milk (I used lowfat)
- 1/2 cup Demerara // granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter (I used salted, as always)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups apple slices (about 4 medium baking apples)
- 1/3 cup panela // brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used lime juice...no lemons!)
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice (I used a mix of cinnamon and allspice...I didn't even take time to look up how to make apple pie spice)
- 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 whipping cream
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- CRUMB TOPPING: In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside. (I will not confirm or deny that I doubled the crumb topping. Because crumb topping really is the best part.)
- APPLE KUCHEN: Grease a 13x9x2 baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the yeast; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat and stir milk, granulated sugar, butter and salt just until mixture is warm (120F-130F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture and eggs to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Beat in as much of the remaining flour as you can without the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour to make a stiff batter.
- Spread batter into the prepared baking pan. In another large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, tapioca, lemon juice and apple pie spice. Place apple mixture on top of the batter. Sprinkle with Crumb Topping. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes or until top is browned and apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
- CREAM CHEESE TOPPING: In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in whipping cream and powdered sugar.
- Cut into 12 pieces and serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of Cream Cheese Topper on each piece.
I was Kitchen of the Month for the Bread Baking Babes and Buddies. The Baking Babes would LOVE to have you to bake this bread with us and be a Bread Baking Buddy! You will be rewarded with a delicious bread and a badge. To participate as a Buddy, please bake the bread, post your thoughts about it, and take a photo. Then send me an e-mail at gretchenATprovechoperuDOTcom by December 26th (that means you can make this for Christmas and get me the information the next day!).
This Holiday Apple Kuchen is being submitted to Yeastspotting.