In every one of my family cookbooks, all handwritten in German, there are loads of kuchen recipes: apple kuchen, buttery putterkuchen, gesundheitskuchen (a lemony cake made when people were ill), and apricot kuchen, a treat for the late spring or summer. My great-grandmother, who I imagine took great pride in her baking skills, served these traditional German cakes in the late morning when she received guests for a coffee klatsch. Every German Jewish housewife had her special recipe—not just my great-grandmother, but also my grandmother and aunts who lived in Augsburg in southern Germany until WWII. They, like other lucky ones, were able to bring their recipes to the United States.
- 1 ½pounds fresh apricots, or about 20 dried
- ½cup brandy (if using dried apricots)
- 10tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- ⅔cup sugar
- 1teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3large eggs
- ½tablespoon lemon zest
- ½cup milk
- 2cups all-purpose flour
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- ¼teaspoon salt
- ½cup apricot jam
Yield: Serves 8
- Step 1
If using fresh apricots, cut in half and set aside. If using dried apricots, soak in brandy for a few hours to plump them. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
- Step 2
Using a food processor, cream the butter and the sugar. Then add the vanilla extract, eggs, milk, and lemon zest. Process and then gradually add flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Step 3
Spoon into a greased, floured 9-inch round pie or spring-form pan. Carefully insert the apricots in 2 or 3 circles.
- Step 4
Bake in the oven about 40 minutes or until set. When out of the oven, heat the apricot jam and brush on top of the apricots.