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Peach kuchen bars are rich, satisfyingly light

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Kuchen, with its dough crust and custard filling, is the German word for cake.

There are many versions of the tasty dessert that can also be eaten as a snack or breakfast food.

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The word kuchen is also used in other languages as the name for several different types of sweet desserts, pastries, and gateaux (food baked and served in a form resembling a cake.)

Kuchen desserts were presumably handed down from people of German heritage and as such are often popular in many areas of German settlement in the United States, particularly in our state of North Dakota, South Dakota, which has gone so far as to make it its state dessert, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

There are several known forms of Kuchen, including a pie-like pastry, a rolled-pastry, coffee-cake like, cheese cake-like, and pie-like.

The recipe featured today is called a Peach Kuchen Bar. Not quite sure which of these categories, it falls into, nonetheless it is kuchen-like and relatively light and absolutely delicious, with just the right hint of sweetness coupled with the pastry crust and the fruity custard topping.

Office employee Paula Bonzer served the kuchen bars for fellowship following Sunday church services, and saved a sampling to bring to the office and share Monday morning.

After serving them at church and having them quickly disappear, she instantly received a request for the recipe.

After going back for seconds myself, I knew the recipe was ripe for sharing. So here it is, Peach Kuchen bars at their finest.

The nice thing about this recipe is it makes a huge batch, enough to fill two 10x15 jelly roll pans, making them perfect for a potluck or large family get together.

The recipe can be cut in half, just take great care to insure equal halving proportions, then bake in one jelly roll pan.

Our photographer even had a chance to snap a picture before they were all eaten.

Paula said they are easy to make. First you make the crust and pat it into your greased pan. Then she drained the peaches so as much liquid as possible was removed. Then she prepared the cream and egg custard topping, which she poured over the peaches resting on the crust.

She said she sliced the peaches thinner than they were, so there was enough to cover the top of the bars. If you'd like thicker peach slices, be extravagant and purchase an extra can.

I would guess that you could also experiment with other fruit toppings, i.e. pear, raspberries, whatever the preference, again making sure they are properly drained.

The final touch before baking is sprinkling a fine powdering of cinnamon over the top. Then bake, cool and enjoy. If there are any leftovers, it would do well to store them in the fridge, because of the egg and cream filling.

Until next week, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!!!!

Kuchen Bars

Crust:

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together and divide dough between 2 greased 15x10 1/4 inch pans. Does not have to be thick.

Drain 1-lb 13 oz. can of sliced peaches. Slice peaches thinner so you have enough to cover the dough.

Topping:

2 cups cream

3 tbsps. flour

5 eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

Mix together and pour evenly over each pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes.

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