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Adopted on March 14, 2000 South Dakota adopted Kuchen as the state dessert to celebrates the rich cultural heritage and traditional food of their German ancestors. Kuchen, (pronounced 'kü-kin) is derived from an Old German word for "cake". The word originated in the 1800's, and it describes various types of coffee cakes made from a sweet dough and a wide variety of fillings.
The idea of a state dessert began when the ECDC president (who is
also superintendent of Eureka Public School) saw a school daily trivia question. It asked for the state dessert of Massachusetts. Further research
showed that, although South Dakota has many official symbols, dessert was not one of them.
The legislature was in session at the time in 1999 and Senator Lawler, representing District 3, agreed that kuchen would be a great state dessert and introduced the legislation.
ECDC organized what they hoped would be the components necessary to pass the bill. Only a short amount of time was available so arrangements were made quickly. The Schmeckfest Committee found volunteers to attend the Senate State Affairs Committee session where the proposed bill was debated. Those volunteers, along with ECDC board members and community leaders, presented a skit emphasizing kuchen in the lives of pioneers. All were dressed in pioneer style clothing. Samples of kuchen were given to Senate committee members and people in the audience. Governor Bill Janklow, who was present to testify for another bill, stated that he would sign the bill if the legislature got it to his desk. The bill passed from the committee unanimously, then passed on the Senate floor 23-10.
When the bill appeared at the House State Affairs Committee, a large group of Eurekans again were present to testify on behalf of the bill, present the skit, and hand out kuchen samples. It passed that committee 11-1. However, it was defeated on the House floor 41-26.
In the year that followed, kuchen did not fall by the wayside. As more people became familiar with kuchen, support for the state dessert grew. Many people across the state were surprised to learn that kuchen was not already the state dessert.
Because of kuchen';s popularity, ECDC decided months before the legislature convened to again attempt a state designation. Elmer Diedtrich, Representative from District 3, was the prime sponsor of the bill which, in 2000, originated in the House of Representatives.
Since kuchen was a favored dessert all across the state, and since it was a state designation that was being sought, it only seemed right that all of South Dakota should have the chance to be involved. Letters were sent to every town in the state asking if they wished to support the bill naming kuchen as the state dessert. Seventeen towns, in addition to Eureka, gave written support for the bill.
When HB 1229 was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee on February 7, 2000, only a handful of supporters were present, but they carried with them the written support of towns from across the state. The amount of kuchen samples was minimal. The bill passed 8-5. When the bill was on the House floor two days later for debate and a vote, members from South Dakota Economic Development Group (comprised of Eureka and Mobridge) and community leaders were introduced in the gallery. It passed 39-24.
It was a sweet Valentine's Day when the bill passed the Senate State Affairs Committee by a vote of 8-1. The following day, it passed the Senate by a vote of 19-11. Following a long wait of over a month, supporters of the bill statewide were happy and relieved when the governor signed the bill on March 11.
Eureka Opens Kuchen Factory and Ice Cream Shop
RELEASE DATE: Monday, July 2, 2001
For More Information Contact: Mary Lehecka Nelson, 773-5032
(Pierre) - More people will be able to enjoy South Dakota's state dessert now that Eureka has opened the Eureka Kuchen Factory, said Chris Braendlin, commissioner of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, today, July 2.
"The people in the Eureka area pushed hard to make kuchen the state dessert and now they are doing everything they can to let more people enjoy eating it," Braendlin said. "The new factory employs seven people so it is having an economic impact on the community," he added.
What is Kuchen? Try this recipe for Apple Kuchen!
For the crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
For the filling:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
For the topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, if desired, cored, and thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan.
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or food processor fitted with a steel blade and mix to combine. Add the vanilla and butter, a little at a time. Press into the baking pan and bake in oven until slightly golden but not brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
To make the filling: Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in mixer (preferably with a paddle) and beat until creamy. Add the egg, mix to combine, an pour over the cooled crust.
Place the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to combine.
Place the apples on top of the filling in two or three columns. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and transfer to the oven. Bake until firm and a rich brown, about 20 minutes. Cut into 20 to 24 pieces.
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
ENTITLED, An Act to designate kuchen as the official state dessert.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That chapter 1-6 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
Kuchen is hereby designated as the official state dessert of South Dakota.
The law designating the Kuchen as the official South Dakota state dessert is found in the South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 1, Chapter 1-6, Section 1-6-16.7
TITLE 1 STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 1-6 STATE EMBLEMS
1-6-16.7. State dessert. Kuchen is hereby designated as the official state dessert of South Dakota.
Source: SL 2000, ch 2, § 1.