The Chef Within
Heavenly Pear Kuchen – simply delicious
I recently stumbled across this recipe and was intrigued for a couple reasons: It includes custard which I absolutely love and I could tell that it wasn’t overly sweet, which I prefer when eating desserts, especially after big, holiday meals. It’s also super easy to make. The original recipe called for fresh plums. I had a limited amount of plums and so I supplemented my first try with pears. I actually liked the pear part better than the plum but that may have been because the pears were perfectly ripe, where the plums were somewhat underripe. So the lesson there is USE RIPE FRUIT. That is essential for pulling this off. I’m convinced that regardless of whether it’s plums, or pears or peaches (which I will try soon), the fruit must be ripe and juicy. Anything else will be a disappointment. Here’s how it’s made:
You begin by combining flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon and to that mixture adding pieces of butter.
Work that with your fingers until the mixture is the texture of fine crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of those crumbs…
and put the rest in a greased 9×9 pan, building about an inch on the sides and trying to get the bottom as level and even as possible.
For the fruit you can use 6-8 larger plums, halved (no need to peel the plums). If you are using pears, it takes about 4 large pears…
and they will need to be peeled…
quartered and cored. You can tell that this is a ripe pear because it glistens (sign of juiciness) as it is being worked with. I quartered this pear because it was larger. If you were using smaller pears you might only cut them in half. Peaches should also be peeled and halved or quartered, depending on their size. You will need 4-6 peaches, depending on their size.
Lay the prepared fruit rounded size up across the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of crumbs evenly over the top. Take to a preheat 350 oven
and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly. While that is baking prepare the custard by mixing together eggs, half and half and some sugar. The mixture should be well blended.
After the kuchen has had its initial baking remove from the oven and pour the custard evenly over the top and return to the oven for about 30 additional minutes or until knife inserted in the center tests clean.
Allow to set up for at least an hour before serving. Serve with a flavored cream or ice cream or plain (if you must). This recipe makes a 9×9 pan which yields nine perfect square portions. The kuchen pictured above was 1 1/2 times the recipe and was baked in a 9×13 pan which will yield more servings, if needed.