Rivvel Kuga

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Category: Dessert
Cuisine: German

This recipe comes from John Kammerzell of Fort Collins. He learned it from his grandmother Emma Schwab Kammerzell, who was born in the German colony of Shcherbakovka, Russia, and came to the United States as a toddler in 1907.

For more German recipes check out our September/October 2017 issue. 

Ingredients: Sweet bread dough
7 egg yolks
1 egg
1 cup cream
2 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 packets dry yeast, dissolved in ½ cup lukewarm water and 1 tsp sugar
8 cups flour

Rivvel topping
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
Directions: Sweet bread dough: Beat egg yolks and egg. Add cream, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and yeast mixture. Add flour to make a soft dough. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Cover, and let the dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down and knead dough again for a few minutes, and let rise again until doubled. Press dough into the greased baking pans, pressing against sides to stick and take shape of pan. A sheet cake pan makes a thinner-crust Kuga; standard cake pans make a thicker-crusted Kuga. Add any fruit topping – homemade fruit pie topping, watermelon syrup, schwartzenberrin (Volga German blackberries), your favorite jelly or sliced fresh fruit. I always use a combination of pie filling, topped with a thin layer of fresh fruit. Cover lightly and set aside. Set oven to 350°.

Rivvel topping: Add all ingredients into medium mixing bowl. Cut butter into mixture using a pastry knife, or as my Gramma Emma taught me, by slicing the butter with a table knife and fork. When butter is reduced to small chunks, work mixture with hands until combined ingredients will form small balls the size of large peas – these are rivvels. Lightly sprinkle rivvels on top of dough and topping. Bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and a knife inserted into center of the Kuga comes out clean and the rivvel topping is lightly browned.