I think this may be the first year ever that I’m not going to be in Indiana on Christmas Day. I think there were a few years that I split Christmas Day between my family and G’s family, or my family and traveling, but I’m usually in the midwest for this time of year. I went back to Indiana over Thanksgiving this year, and tomorrow I’ll celebrate Christmas with Richard, his sister, and later in the day, some friends.
Our friends are hosting a potluck for those of us in San Francisco for Christmas; I’m bringing Sugar Crème Küchen. This is a dessert from my childhood that consists of two kinds of sugar, heavy creme, and yeast dough. You can see why I love it. I think the recipe is of Swiss-German extraction, but I’ll admit that when it comes to questions of heritage, my family can be less than faithful to the source material. Until I asked my aunt for the recipe shortly after moving to San Francisco, I would have sworn the name of this was “Sugar Creama Kooga” — that’s always how it sounded when my dad, grandpa, or grandma pronounced it. I remember going to great grandma and grandpa’s when I was a kid and having this for “lunch” — the spread of cookies, cake, and other snacks served after you’d consumed a gluttonous dinner.
The recipe we use today is obviously, uh, “modernized”. It starts with a Pillsbury Hot Roll mix (although in fairness this is largely just pre-measured flour and a yeast packet). The recipe goes something like this:
Sugar Crème Küchen
<ul class="simple"> <li> 1 hot roll mix </li> </ul> <p> Prepare according to box directions (1 egg, 2 tbsp butter, 1 c. hot water), allow to rise after resting 5 min. Roll carefully into large rectangle and fit into large 12×17 jelly roll pan. </p>
<ul class="simple"> <li> 12 T Flour (measured) <em>[NB: why does my aunt specify “measured”; is 12 tablespoons of flour something you’d normally just eyeball?]</em> </li> <li> 1 ¼ cup white sugar </li> <li> 1 ¼ cup brown sugar </li> <li> 3 ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream </li> </ul> <p> Pour onto dough. [NB: My aunt has the following note: “I usually remove about 1/3 cup of filling to prevent overspill”; later she notes: “I no longer remove any filling; it is only necessary if you don’t get the dough rolled out thin enough.” Your mileage may vary, apparently.] Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake 375 for 25 minutes. After baking for the 1st 5 – 10 minutes, check to make sure no air bubbles in the crust. If so, poke with a toothpick. </p> <p> Can also make into 4 pie pans instead of 12×17. </p> <div class="figure"> <img alt="" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4011/4212288314_f2be2eb8f8.jpg" /> <p class="caption"> The Finished Product </p> </div> <p> So this afternoon I baked, and hopefully it turned out; my track record with this recipe is a little spotty. It’s never really bombed, but it’s also rarely been as good as my grandma’s. Of course, she has had a few extra decades of practice, so I guess Richard and my friends are doomed to duty in my test kitchen until I get it right. </p>