From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The Silver Fox comes from a family of German ancestry. His mother was a fabulous pastry cook and her kuchen puts any I make to shame. That, however, does not keep me from trying to best a pastry whose taste, I'm certain, has been enhanced by memory. While it is a bit of work, I love the kuchen I'm featuring today. The aroma of apples and fall spices brings back memories of a childhood that included bonfires and the smell of burning leaves that was enhanced, of course, by the aroma of cinnamon and cloves melding in the oven. I find it impossible to think of a fall kitchen without apples and this kuchen is so pretty, and, I might add, so tasty, that if I could only pick one apple dessert to last a lifetime, this would be it. The kuchen first appeared here in November of 2008. Here's what I had to say about it at the time.
This is a lovely pastry to make for breakfast or snack. It's Viennese; not too sweet, but sweet enough to please most palates and, best of all, it makes people think you've fussed for them. Bob and I have this several times during the holiday season. We elbow crowds on Thanksgiving weekend, not to shop, but to watch the little ones visit Santa. Spirits so uplifted need nourishment and this pastry is our restorative. Bob helps with the apples, so this isn't as big a deal as it may look. We also serve this on New Year's Day along with Irish coffee and clotted cream while watching the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Day Concert. It's a lovely tradition; Viennese pastry to sustain the body and Strauss to free the soul and let the spirit soar. I do hope you'll try this.
Apple Kuchen...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1/3 cup raisins, light or dark
1-1/4 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup toasted coarsely chopped walnuts
4 large apples (i.e. Golden Delicious)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Place raisins in a microwave container with 1 tablespoon water. Cover; cook on HIGH power for 1 minute or until raisins are plumped. Set aside.
3) Place flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4) Combine egg, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened.
5) Pat batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with raisins and nuts. Set aside.
1) Peel, quarter and core apples. Cut each wedge into 6 thin pieces. Place apples, overlapping, in three rows on top of cake. Brush apple slices with melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle on top of apples.
2) Cover pan loosely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 minutes longer.
1) Strain apricot preserves to remove chunks of fruit. Place in a small pan with sugar. Bring to a boil and stir for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
2) Brush glaze over surface of apples. Serve pastry while still warm: Yield: 8 to 10 pieces.
Cook's Note: This is best served warm and fresh. It does not age well.
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