Kathy’s Mom’s Healthy Fruit Kuchen

Kuchen, which is simply cake in German, is one of those recipes where each family has their own version passed down from generation to generation. Our family’s kuchen is no different—my mother passed this recipe to me, and it has been a staple in our family for many years.

What’s different about our family’s kuchen? My mother cared deeply about health and healthy eating. So rather than a typical sweet dessert which is characteristic of most kuchens, this one relies on the natural sweetness of fruit instead of extra sugar. And its bread dough base is made with whole grain spelt flour. We enjoy my Mom’s Healthy Fruit Kuchen as more of a breakfast or all-day snack than dessert. (We love to take leftovers along for lunch!)

Traditionally made with plums or other stone fruit, this version calls for frozen fruit so you can make with your personal favorite it all year long. I have fond memories of my Mom using a quart of her own home-canned apricots or plums to add a little extra love to this family-favorite dish. (And that’s still my favorite way to make it).

Ingredients

For the fruit filling:
4 cups frozen fruit of choice
½ cup of fruit juice
½ tsp almond extract or vanilla
1/3 cup organic corn starch

For the yeast dough:
1 ½ cups sprouted spelt flour
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups warm water
2 – 4 Tbsp organic maple syrup
1 Tbsp organic olive oil
1 ½ cups organic white flour or sprouted spelt flour

For the crumb topping:
½ cup chopped nuts (I love pecans or almonds)
3 Tbsp vegan buttery spread (I use Earth Balance)
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ tsp almond extract

Directions

For the fruit filling:

Thaw fruit and add to a large pot. Bring thawed fruit (and its own juices) to a boil.

Mix cold fruit juice with the corn starch to create a slurry (or shake together in a jar with a lid until there are no lumps). Add to the boiling fruit and stir to combine.

Reduce heat and simmer until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add flavoring of choice.

Let fruit mixture cool completely before adding to dough.

For the yeast dough:

Place all ingredients except the second 1 ½ cups flour in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Add remaining flour.

Knead dough until formed into a ball, adding more flour if needed, and let rise for 20 – 30 minutes while you make the topping.

For the crumb topping:

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix to a crumbly texture.

Set aside.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 350° F

Press dough into a 9-inch × 13-inch pan.

Spread fruit filling evenly on top of the dough, then sprinkle the crumb topping over the fruit.

Bake until golden brown (for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven).

Cool completely before serving to allow fruit to set.

Notes:

This simple yeast dough was the one I used when my kids wanted to make bread in the kitchen— it’s my go-to recipe for a small batch of dough for anything fun! As written, this makes plenty of dough for a 9-inch × 13-inch pan of my Mom’s Healthy Fruit Kuchen, but if you like yours a little thinner, use the extra dough for other fun things in the kitchen like date rolls or Plant-based Pigs in Blankets.