Monday, February 8, 2010


Hot out of the oven with only 5 minutes of prep time

I figure that people expect a breakfast that’s a bit out of the ordinary when they come to a B&B, something they might not bother with at home; so I’m always on the lookout for great recipes. To be deemed “great” by me, a recipe must meet three criteria:

First, of course, the item must be really appealing to the taste buds and the eyes — scrumptious and pretty.

Second, it must be simple to assemble and use a limited number of ingredients because that’s all my groggy little brain can handle in the morning.

And third, it must cook quickly so my guests don’t have to wait at the table, tummies growling, for the arrival of a latecomer.

I found just what I was looking for in the following recipe for Fruit Kuchen. In addition to its aforementioned virtues, it is also flexible, allowing you to use whatever ingredients you have on hand. The original recipe called for 2 cups of fresh cranberries, but depending on what’s in season, I’ve substituted that amount of blueberries, or sliced unpeeled pears, nectarines, apricots, or plums. Whatever you choose, you want the fruit in rather thick pieces. (Peaches and apples require peeling so I don’t rely on them when I’m in a real hurry. See note below.) You can add chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans) to the streusel topping — or not, as you choose. I usually don’t bother. I also don’t add any flavoring to the batter because I like the taste of the cake by itself, but you could certainly do a bit of vanilla, almond extract, grated lemon or orange rind.

I use a 9-inch round metal pan, 2’’ deep, with a loose bottom so I can serve the cake on a raised stand, but you can also use an 8” square pan. (A regular round cake pan is too shallow.) I’ve streamlined the method making it a bit unusual — no mixer — and really fast.

Leave a stick of butter out of the fridge to soften the night before.


Preheat oven to 375°. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Struesel Topping

Into the work bowl of a food processor dump

2/3 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

5 tablespoons softened butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pulse until combined.

Empty contents of bowl onto a sheet of foil or wax paper. Replace work bowl and add

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

Pulse until creamy, then add all at once

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

Process, scrape down sides, process again just until blended. Scrape batter into greased pan. Top batter with, depending on size,

7 or 8 plums, pitted and halved, placed cut side down

Arrange fruit decoratively, almost touching, in rows or circles over top of batter. With your hand, pick up scoops of the topping and squeeze to form some lumps. Sprinkle over top of fruit, covering to edge.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or till a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.

Note: For an Apple Kuchen, I frequently use 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut vertically into eighths, sometimes with a handful of cranberries tucked around.

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