Peachy pleasure

I'm not much of a "meeting" person. I have a hard time sitting still. I've attended many of them over the years, most ho-hum and uneventful. But there is one meeting I will never forget.

I'm not much of a "meeting" person. I have a hard time sitting still. I've attended many of them over the years, most ho-hum and uneventful. But there is one meeting I will never forget.

I left my Fargo home very early one August morning several years ago, pointing my car down the interstate west toward Bismarck. After a few cups of coffee from my thermos and a muffin stop at Perkins in Jamestown, I finally arrived at my meeting place.

The meeting was just getting started, when the door swung open and one of our missing participants sashayed in, using both hands to carry a large baking pan that was covered with a white kitchen towel with the day of the week embroidered on one end.

Suddenly, this was no longer a meeting. It was an event. I would have my first taste of German peach kuchen, fresh sliced peaches nestled into a pillow of tender golden yeast dough, covered with a blanket of custard-like cream. Cinnamon and sugar glistened like stardust on the top of the kuchen. It was still warm from the oven. It was absolutely delicious. And I don't remember another thing about what took place at that meeting.

I haven't had peach kuchen since that meeting experience, but I think of it every year when I get my first lug of fresh Colorado peaches that I order from a local Lions club.


Fresh Peaches and Cream "Kuchen" is not an authentic German recipe. The flavor and the textures come so close to the real thing, though. A small box of dry pudding mix added to the cake batter brings sweet vanilla flavor as well as delicate texture. Fresh peaches are peeled before they are sliced and arranged over the cake batter. A sweet cream cheese topping produces the kuchen-like custard that I remember from my first bite years ago. A dusting of cinnamon-sugar over the top is a must.

If you've never peeled a peach before, don't let it scare you. Just 20 to 30 seconds in a pot of boiling water, then plunged into a bowl of ice water is all it takes for the thin skin to loosen from the fruit. Grab the skin with a sharp paring knife and it easily pulls away.

If you live in South Dakota, where kuchen is the state dessert, you can probably get the German coffee cake whenever you have a yearning for it. But if you long for the sweet, creamy fruit kuchen your grandma used to make or, like me, your first taste of it continues to be what you dream of having at the next meeting you attend, Fresh Peaches and Cream "Kuchen" could become your next event. It's kuchen made easy.

Fresh Peaches and Cream "Kuchen"
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 (3-ounce) package dry cook & serve style vanilla pudding mix
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup milk
3 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl. Stir in dry pudding mix. Add butter, egg and milk. Using an electric hand mixer, beat all ingredients for 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Arrange sliced peaches over batter. Combine cream cheese, ½ cup sugar, vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons whipping cream in mixing bowl, beating with electric mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Spoon cream cheese mixture to within one inch of edge of batter. Mix 1 tablespoon sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle over the cheese mixture.


Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Filling will still be soft.

Cool "kuchen" in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan before slicing. Garnish each slice with whipped cream. Refrigerate any remaining pieces. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Tips from the cook

--This coffeecake/dessert freezes well. Wrap or place in tightly sealed freezer container and use within two months.

--I like to crack eggs into a small custard cup rather than right into the mixing bowl. This prevents any little pieces of egg shell from getting into the batter and will catch the occasional bad egg.

--Once the peaches have been cooked in boiling water for 30 seconds and then cooled, they can be placed in freezer-strength zip-top bags, with one or two in each bag, and frozen. When you need a peach or two, place the peaches, in their bag, in hot water to defrost. The skins will slip right off.

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