Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kuchen, anyone?

No self-respecting gathering of Germans from Russia would be complete without the smell and taste of delicious Kuchen!

What is Kuchen? Ask any of the several hundred persons attending the International Convention of Germans from Russia next week (July 28-August 3) in Casper, Wyoming, and you’re liable to get lots of different answers.

The week-long joint convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and the Germans from Russia Heritage Society will take place at the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Center.

“Kuchen,” of course, is the German word for cake, but beyond that, you may get lots of variations:

  • A pie-like pastry with a thick, "cakey" crust and an apple-pie/fruit-pie like filling, often with a bit of sweet white icing on top
  • A pie-like pastry with a thick, "cakey" crust and a sweet custard-based filling
  • A rolled pastry with a long spiral of dough, filled, rolled, baked and sliced to serve
  • A coffee cake-like pastry with veins and pockets of cinnamon and sugar baked throughout
  • A cheese cake-like pastry with a yeast-raised crust, filled with fruit (cherry/apple/etc.) and a creamy custard
  • Something else?
Not your idea of Kuchen? We suggest that the best answer is to come to the G-R convention and try some of these delicious pastries!

Dorothy Feist of Hebron, North Dakota, and Barb Jones of Torrington, Wyoming are co-chairs of the Kuchen Committee. Early reconnaissance of the pastry landscape indicates that First Street Bakery in Casper will be making cherry, apple, and burnt-sugar Kuchen under the watchful eye of Elsie Zitterkopf. We understand there'll be a convoy of Kuchen coming from Bismarck, too, incorporating tried and true North Dakota recipes preserved from the old country! Expect delicious peach, cheese, prune, rhubarb, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, sugar crumb and caramel apple Kuchen. Appetite whetted yet? Learn about Lapp's Kuchen or take a look at this Kuchen story!

Kuchen breaks are scheduled for 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday afternoons, August 1st and 2nd. There’ll be a free-will offering to help defray Kuchen expenses – so we hope you’ll open your wallet as you savor the Kuchen!

Many would-be Kuchen makers will likely be participating in the Kuchen workshop on Saturday. Nothing says lovin’, like something’ from the oven…….like Kuchen!

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