My Father’s Koochen – In The Oven … At Last!

By: Shelly Reuben

My Father’s Koochen – In the oven … at last!

I rushed downstairs.

On the kitchen counter, I saw:

• A cutting-board

• A rolling pin

• Melted butter

• Flour.

In a glass bowl near the sink, I saw:

• Dry cottage cheese

• Eggs

• Sugar

• Vanilla.

My father mixed the contents of the bowl until it became a thick, lumpy yellowish goo. He next turned his attention to the dough, which had risen above the lip of the bowl’s horizon like the bald head of a Peeping Tom. He (my father. Not Peeping Tom) thumped a clump of dough onto the floured cutting board, and flattened it out with a rolling pin. Then he slathered the dough with glistening, golden butter, dumped the goo of eggs, sugar and cottage cheese in the center, and rolled it up so that it looked like dinosaur blintzes. After than, he subdivided his work-in-progress into smaller, more manageable pieces, pinching the ends of each piece to keep the goo from falling out.

Then Samuel Reuben brushed the tops of the koochen with egg whites to make them shine, sprinkled them with cinnamon to give them tang (my mouth is watering), and shoved them in the oven.

This was a critical point in the proceedings, because koochen has to be cooked perfectly or it simply isn’t koochen.

By which I mean that it has to stay in the oven until the bottoms are black, but not charred, and the entire pastry, from stem to stern, has become a thick and impenetrable crust.

That is perfection.

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