Sour Cherry Kuchen

1/2 recipe Simple Sweet Dough (see related)
1 recipe Simple Streusel (see related)

Cherry Filling

1 (24-oz) jar pitted dark Morello cherries in light syrup (about 2 1/2 cups), well drained, juice reserved
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Pastry Cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Remove the dough from the refrigerator 1 to 1 1/2 hours before shaping.

In a medium saucepan, combine 2/3 cup of the reserved cherry juice, the cornstarch, and sugar, stirring until no lumps remain. place the pan over medium-low heat. Allow the liquid to come to a boil, stirring gently until the mixture is very thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, almond extract, and butter. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the drained cherries. Set aside until ready to use.

Place the cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the milk and mix until smooth. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the egg yolks. Set aside.

In a two-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 3/4 cup milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until blended. On low heat, bring the mixture to a slow boil. Stir one-third of the hot milk/sugar mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and stir with a whisk to combine. Return the pan to medium-low and bring it to a full boil, whisking rapidly and constantly until pastry cream is thick and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the softened butter and vanilla. Do not overmix. Cover the pastry cream with buttered plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan and set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough a few times and shape it into a flat disk. With lightly floured hands, press the dough into the prepared pan, stretching it to completely cover the bottom. Push the dough up against the sides of the pan, forcing it up to form a wall 1/4-inch thick and 3/4-inch high. Be sure to press it well into the crease of the pan. If the dough becomes too elastic, let it rest for a few minutes. Prick the surface of the dough ten to twelve times with a fork. Cover the pan with a tea towel and set in a warmish place to rise until puffy but not doubled, 25 to 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, prepare the streusel.

Fifteen minutes before baking, position the rack in teh lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350?F. Redefine the lip of the dough with your thumb and gently depress the center with your hand.

Leaving a 3/4-inch rim of dough exposed, drop dollops of the tepid pastry cream around the edges of the pan, Using an offset spatula, bring the pastry cream into the center, smoothing the surface, as best you can.

Top the pastry cream with the cherry filling in one layer. Sprinkle the streusel over the cherries, pressing it gently into the surface. Place the pan on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the pan with the foil to catch any spills.

Bake the kuchen for 45 to 50 minutes, or until it begins to release from the side of the pan and the streusel is golden brown.

Remove the kuchen from the oven and let it stand on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Release and remove the sides of the pans and allow to cool completely.

Store in the fridge, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving in a 325?F oven for 2-25 minutes, or until slightly warm.