South Dakota Apple Kuchen

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South Dakota – Home to the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. And the place that has declared Kuchen it’s state dessert.

Kuchen? What is kuchen? It’s a delicious coffee cake like pastry filled with custard and fruit. It tastes sort of like a custard filled donut you eat like a cake. And it is delicious!

south dakota


The dessert (or breakfast…or snack…) was brought to the area in the 1880s by German immigrants.  As time went on, every woman created her own version of the dish and now, every grandma passes on her unique variation.

South Dakota adopted kuchen (the German word for cake) as the official state dessert in 2000. Some have fruit, others are just swirled with cinnamon. Here is my take on the treat, made with sugary sliced apples and custard. Enjoy!

Here’s How to Do it:

Start with the dough.

Mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons luke warm water. Let it sit until is bubbles and shows activity.

Scald the milk and cream until it has a light film on the top. Stir in the butter and let it melt. Cool the mixture.

Beat together the eggs, sugar and salt. Stir in the yeast and mix well.

Stir in 2 cups of flour and the milk mixture. Add more flour, a little at a time, until you have a soft dough. Cover and let rise for an hour or so.

While the dough is rising, make the apples. Peel and slice the apple and

put it in a small saucepan. Add all the other ingredients and

simmer until the apples are soft and the liquid is almost evaporated. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350° –

After the dough has risen, flatten it out some and push into a square pan making sure it goes all the way up the sides of the dish. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough is rising in the pan, make the custard. Using a whisk, whip all the ingredients together and heat on low until the mixture thickens and begins to look more like a thick sauce. Remove from the heat.

Next, mix up the topping.  Using a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the sugar.

When it is big chunks, stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Now assemble the kuchen.

Pour the apples into the dough.

south dakota

Pour the custard over the top of the apples,

south dakota

then top it off with the butter  and sugar mixture.

Place the pan on a cookie sheet (it’s likely to bubble over) and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife in the middle comes out fairly clean. It will have some custardy apples on it, but it’s supposed to.

south dakota

Set the dish on a rack to cool. You can serve this hot or cold – It is amazing!

South Dakota

South Dakota Apple Kuchen

South Dakota adopted kuchen (the German word for cake) as the official state dessert in 2000. Some have fruit, others are just swirled with cinnamon. Here is my take on the treat, made with sugary sliced apples and custard. Enjoy!

Course: brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: German, south Dakota
Keyword: apples, coffee cake, crisp, donut, pancake, sugar
Author: HelenFern
Ingredients
Dough
  • 1/2 package active yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
Apples
  • 1 large Granny Smith Apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
Filling
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
Topping
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup flour
Instructions
  1. Start with the dough.

    Mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons luke warm water. Let it sit until is bubbles and shows activity.

  2. Scald the milk and cream until it has a light film on the top. Stir in the butter and let it melt. Cool the mixture.

  3. Beat together the eggs, sugar and salt. Stir in the yeast and mix well.

  4. Stir in 2 cups of flour and the milk mixture. Add more flour, a little at a time, until you have a soft dough. Cover and let rise for an hour or so.

  5. While the dough is rising, make the apples. Peel and slice the apple and put it in a small saucepan. Add all the other ingredients and simmer until the apples are soft and the liquid is almost evaporated. Set aside to cool. 

  6. Preheat the oven to 350° - 

  7. After the dough has risen, flatten it out some and push into a square pan making sure it goes all the way up the sides of the dish. Let it rest for 15 minutes. 

  8. While the dough is rising in the pan, make the custard. Using a whisk, whip all the ingredients together and heat on low until the mixture thickens and begins to look more like a thick sauce. Remove from the heat.

  9. Next, mix up the topping.  Using a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the sugar. When it is big chunks, stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. 

  10. Now assemble the kuchen. Pour the apples into the dough. 

  11. Pour the custard over the top of the apples, then top it off with the butter  and sugar mixture. 

  12. Place the pan on a cookie sheet (it's likely to bubble over) and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a knife in the middle comes out fairly clean. It will have some custardy apples on it, but it's supposed to.

  13. Set the dish on a rack to cool. You can serve this hot or cold - It is amazing!

Recipe Notes

© Copyright 2019 The Lazy Gastronome

south dakota

© Copyright 2019 The Lazy Gastronome

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