Blue skies over Munich today. There is a hint of summer in the air, in the warmth of the sun and the gentle smell of grass and hay that wafts through the city when the wind comes from the south. I know, we haven’t even had spring yet, but the warmer days are so close I can taste them! It’s certainly not the season for lusciously ripe peaches as yet, so in another instalment of “Cooking from Cans’,’ today’s recipe can be made all year round. Peaches and Cream Cake is based on the German Schmand-Kuchen. Much like a baked cheesecake, a layer of fruit (often tinned) sits between crumbly short pastry and a sweetened cream and egg filling. This is real German grandmother-style comfort food and perfect for that afternoon cup of tea or coffee in the sunshine.
The dairy chiller in your average German supermarket carries a bewildering array of products, and Schmand is another one that doesn’t have a direct Anglo counterpart. It is a type of sour cream, though the fat content about 10% lower than the type of sour cream you’ll find in Australia or the UK. Not to worry though as the sour cream that you can pick up in your local shop will work perfectly fine in this recipe. This cake is often made with tinned mandarins, though any tinned fruit will work as long as it has been well drained. It can also be made with fresh peaches, but I would definitely wait until the moment in summer where they are perfectly, nearly meltingly ripe so that their sweetness carries through to the cake.
Peaches and Cream Cake
for the dough:
- 250 g plain flour
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 100 g sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
for the filling:
- 1 large ca. 820g tin halved peaches well-drained - drained weight ca. 480g
- 400 g sour cream or crème fraîche
- 4 eggs
- 75 g sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- 75 g slivered almonds
for the topping:
- 75 g slivered almonds
- Grease the sides and line the base of a 26cm round, springform cake tin and set aside. To make the dough, place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment fitted. Process until the mixture looks like rough crumbs. Add the egg and process for a minute or two more until the mixture begins to clump together. Turn out onto a clean benchtop and knead gently until the mixture forms a crumbly dough.
- Divide the dough into thirds. Crumble two thirds over the base of the tin and use your fingers to press it out to cover. Divide the last third in half, roll into thin sausage shapes then press these into the tin to form the ‘walls’ of the cake, at least 4cm about the base. Take your time to make it even. If you prefer you can roll the dough out between two pieces of baking paper and drape it into the tin instead. Prick the dough all over with a fork and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Make sure the peaches are well-drained and dry with a paper towel.
- When the pastry has chilled, scrunch up a piece of baking paper, unfold it and press into the tin, covering the pastry. Cover this with a piece of tinfoil, then blind bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the baking paper and tinfoil and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the sour cream or crème fraîche, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest until well combined. When the pastry has been blind-baked, remove from the oven, scatter over the almonds and place the peach halves on top, cut side down. I find around 7 halves fit the tin with 6 around the outside and one in the middle. Pour over the cream mixture, taking care that it doesn’t overflow and that you pour it over the tops of the peaches.
- Scatter over the remaining almonds, then bake in the lower third of the oven for 50-60 minutes until puffed and golden. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin, dusting with icing sugar and slicing to serve. Can be served with whipped cream if you are feeling particularly indulgent.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use other tinned fruit or frozen fruit to make this cake?
Yes absolutely! Fairly much anything will work, though make sure it has been well drained, especially if it is defrosted.
I don’t have a 26cm tin, can I still make this cake?
Yes, you can. For a smaller tin, you’ll need to make the edges of the pastry higher, and make sure that you don’t overfill. If in doubt, place a baking tray underneath, just in case it overflows. It does puff up dramatically in the oven!
I don’t have any sour cream, will normal cream work?
Depending on the fat content of your cream it should work just fine, though it will have a slightly different texture. Ricotta also works very well in this sort of cake.