The theme this week is "Harvest/Autumn." It's hard to believe it's already the 46th week of this challenge. Only six weeks left and I'll be done with this photo challenge.
One of the recipes we made this past week was Apple Kuchen (pronounced "koo-kin"). It tied into studying about South Dakota, and is from the cookbook Eat Your Way Around the U.S.A.
South Dakota designated the kuchen as the official state dessert in 2000 to honor the cultural heritage and traditional foods of their German ancestors. The name Kuchen comes from the German word for cake. It comes in many different forms ranging from a streusel-like coffeecake to this version with a shortbread crust, cream cheese filling, and fruit topping.
The apples we used were from our favorite apple orchard that we visit each year. In addition to the kuchen, we made applesauce and dried apples with the 20 pounds of apples. It's nice to be able to enjoy homemade applesauce and dried apples without all the preservatives that are typically found in store-bought items.
The kuchen, though, isn't something we were able to freeze and enjoy during the winter. Rather, we ate it for desserts after several dinners. It is a delicious recipe and one that we will make again. Here's the recipe:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 pound (16 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly-sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or food processor and mix to combine.
Add the vanilla and butter, a little at a time. Press into the baking pan and bake in the oven until slightly golden but not brown (12-15 minutes, depending on the oven). Cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Make the filling by mixing the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer and beating until creamy. Add the egg, mix to combine, and pour over the cooled crust.
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Place the apples on top of the filling in two or three columns. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake until firm and rich brown in color (approximately 20 minutes, depending on the oven).