Saturday, February 1, 2014

Almond Coconut Kuchen

Gotta tell the story on this one first. Even before we married nearly 37 years ago, Dennis would sing the praises of the kuchen he had as a boy in North Dakota and would describe it to me. Sweet yeast raised crust filled with fruit, covered with custard. Problem was, his mother, even though she was of German descent, wasn't the one who made it. She learned from her mother-in-law how to make wonderful treats like rhubarb custard pie, which he loved too, but no kuchen. He discovered kuchen and would buy slices of it in a store after school on his way home. He didn't even know how to spell it-- the word sounded like "kugen" to him.

Since I've always loved custard, I would try to make a yeast raised crust, lay fruit on top, pour custard over all and bake but it would always turn out as an under-done mess. Then, we had years of no wheat or dairy in our quest to keep everyone healthy.

Year before last, we discovered that wheat acts much like sugar in the body so if you have problems with your blood sugar, it is best to stay away from wheat (and most other grains for that matter) which quickly turn to sugar upon digestion. This past year we discovered the concept of low carb high fat eating, which makes sugar the villain destroying our health instead of butter and cream, lard and marbled meat. So I've learned to bake with coconut flour, almond flour, stevia for sweetening, and coconut oil, butter and cream for fat.

Then, just a few weeks ago on FaceBook I noticed an article by a woman who had stopped being ashamed she was from North Dakota (people just couldn't believe anyone could really live there!) and had begun to embrace all the oddities of her heritage. She had a link to another woman from ND who makes 70 varieties of kuchen like Dennis had as a kid! I learned how to spell it, saw pictures of it, found the basic recipe! You see, kuchen is just the German word for cake, which can be made a zillion ways, but at last I knew what vintage North Dakotan kuchen was!

What I have adapted here is not low carb, but it is high protein and high fat and has no added refined sugar. The high protein and high fat content more than balance out the carbs so that eating a slice will not spike your blood sugar. Of course it is different from real ND kuchen but it looks the same and tastes creamy and sweet. We plan to eat some during the Superbowl tomorrow. And Dennis said to make a lot so we can either celebrate with it when the Seahawks win or comfort ourselves with it should they lose! It makes a great special breakfast too.

Almond Coconut Kuchen    4 pie pans    325 degrees F    Total prep & bake time: about 50 min.

Butter bottoms and sides of 4 pie pans, glass or metal, 9" or 10"

In medium bowl, add each of these ingredients one at a time, whisking after each addition:

4 eggs
1/2 cup plain full-fat yoghurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp real vanilla
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt crystals
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp stevia powder (after this, switch from whisk to spoon)
1 and 1/2 cup almond flour

Spoon one fourth of this stiff crust mixture into the center of each pie pan. With buttered spatula, spread mixture in thin layer over bottoms of pans and up the sides. Spread evenly over each pan:

1 cup fruit such as canned apple slices, canned peach slices, blueberries, strawberries, etc. (4 cups total)

Bake in oven 20 minutes. While the fruited crusts are baking, mix the custard on the stove in a medium pan over medium heat:

4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
1 cup half and half
1 tsp real vanilla
1/4 tsp stevia powder

After the fruited crusts have baked 20 minutes, take them from the oven and pour one fourth of the hot custard over the fruit in each pan. Bake them for 20 more minutes, or until the custard is set.

No comments: