Kitchen Kuchen

This past weekend I wanted to bake a casual seasonal cake of some sort for out of town visitors and was thrilled to spot marionberries at my neighborhood produce market. These sweet, plump beauties are a coveted specialty crop here in Oregon, and surprisingly as it turns out, marionberries haven’t been around all that long. They were introduced back in the 40’s/50’s as a hybrid cross between two other stalwarts: the small highly prized ollalieberry and the large, prolific Chehalem blackberry.

Here’s a marionberry version of my latest easy dessert and adaptable snack of choice from Grazing by Julie Van Rosendaal, a great little cookbook on simple snacks of all descriptions. It’s fairly stingy on the butter and includes yogurt, which I appreciate, with my penchant for pecking….

Some may choose to call this a coffeecake because of the yummy crumble topping; however as a fellow grazer I prefer to loosely refer to it as a kuchen, with its less limiting implications and timeless possibilities. Try other seasonal fruits such as apricots, pears, or other berries, you won’t be disappointed.

Marionberry Kuchen
Adapted from Grazing by Julie Van Rosendaal
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup plain yogurt or milk
1 1/2 cups berries; 2 peaches, apples, 3-4 plums peel if needed, slice
Crumble:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup or honey
1/4 cup almonds, sliced, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line and spray 8×8” pan or 5×14” tart pan.

In a medium bowl whisk butter and sugar until well blended, beat in egg and vanilla.

Combine dry ingredients separately along with lemon zest: add half to the butter mixture and beat just to blend; add the yogurt and beat just to blend. Add remaining dry ingredients and beat until just combined.

Spread batter evenly into pan. Sprinkle with berries or layer sliced fruit on top, placing slices close together to overlap, the fruit with shrink as it bakes.

For crumble: In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, cinnamon together, add the butter and crumble with fingers or fork. Stir in almonds if using and sprinkle the topping evenly over fruit. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden and springy to touch. Cool in pan; or if using tart pan cool briefly and unmold sides, allow to cool and remove bottom. Serves 4 to 6. ~~

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