Photo by Jesse Hendrix-Inman
Found in many of the old bakeries in Louisville, kukas are a popular brunch treat. Janine Washle of CloverFields Farm & Kitchen adds a delightful Derby twist to the dish.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and diced
1 large egg
1-2 tablespoons cold water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, diced butter and egg until dough has a sandy appearance, about 20 seconds. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cold water over the dough and pulse 4 to 6 times until dough holds together easily when squeezed.
- Place dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap as an aid, form it into a disk. Flatten and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. After dough has rested, place disk between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and roll out dough into a 14-inch round.
- Remove top piece of plastic wrap and gently flip round over into a 10-inch springform pan. Remove remaining plastic wrap and gently ease dough into bottom and up sides of pan. Trim off any ragged edges.
- Refrigerate prepared crust while making filling.
3 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
8-ounce package full-fat cream cheese
2 cups plain Greek yogurt; drain for 1 hour if runny
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon spearmint extract or 1⁄8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon bourbon (less expensive bourbons have a stronger flavor that comes through better in baking)
Powdered sugar and sprig of fresh mint for garnish
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff. Transfer whites to another bowl and set aside.
- Again using the stand mixer but with the paddle attachment, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Mix in Greek yogurt, oil and egg yolks. Stir in the bourbon and spearmint or peppermint extract.
- Fold in egg whites until just combined. It’s okay if there are white streaks. Remove springform pan from refrigerator and gently pour in the filling.
- Bake in preheated oven on the center rack for 60 to 70 minutes. Do not open the oven door until the last 10 minutes of baking to check for doneness. The cake is done when it puffs and just starts turning a very light golden color.
- When cake is done, turn off the oven and prop open the oven door with a cooking spoon. Leave the cake in the oven to cool for one hour. It will fall slightly while it cools.
- Remove cake and refrigerate until chilled—at least 4 hours.
- Before serving, dust heavily with powdered sugar and garnish with a mint sprig.
Note: This is not piecrust dough, so it will not form a ball in the food processor. Variation: Chocolate Mint Kuka: omit bourbon, decrease cornstarch to 2 tablespoons, and add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.