Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bavarian Zwetschgendatschi – German Plum Sheet Cake (Tart) Recipe

That's a mouthful of a recipe name, isn't it? "TCH-VENCHKEN-DATCHI" is as close as I can get to teaching non-Bavarians how to say that word. German Plum tart is probably a lot easier to remember.

My Bavarian Mutti made this dessert for as long as I can remember.  This dessert is as traditional to Bavarians as apple pie is to Americans.  To keep things authentic, I wait until August-- when I call my local produce store and ask "do you have Italian prunes in stock"?  I hold my breath-- and I feel a sense of joy when the answer is "yes".  

Italian plum/prunes have a very short season-- pretty much between August and September.  Last year, I waited too long, and there were none to be found.   

This year, I got really lucky!  Craig and I drove 90 minutes to Los Altos Hills to visit my Bavarian cousin.  Her Italian plum tree was full of ripe fruit-- ready for the picking!  (The pink ribbons is an effort to keep her  neighborhood squirrels from stealing her fruit.)

She generously filled a big bag full of those precious fall fruits, so I could go home and make my own Zwetschgendatschi.

These two "cousins" (left and right of me) are 100% authentic Bavarians and haven't lost their spunk being 95 and 80, respectively! They are very active ladies, with a hilarious zest for life.

I understand the Bavarian dialect, quiet fluently-- though I admit that not being able to speak the language as I once did, with my Mutti, has left me a bit rusty.  Listening to two of my cousins, chatting away in Bavarian, kept me laughing and loving the dialect-- the language is music to my ears, having grown up with it until my mother passed away in 2002.  Craig and I are headed to Bavaria and Austria in October, and we plan to stay in my mother's hometown of Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria. I'm getting super excited about revisiting the city where I lived, as a very young child, for a few years.

After several fun-filled hours of enjoying a "Brotzeit" of Bavarian sausages, potato salad and beer, and a heaping plate of her delicious version of Zwetschgendatschi-- we headed home with my precious plums. I could hardly wait to get started, the next morning!

One thing that the three of us agreed on, is that they much prefer a buttery tart-like dough, versus the more traditional yeast based dough.  I used my cousin's recipe for the tart dough, from her German Apricot Rahm Kuchen recipe that I posted a few years ago.  It's a little fussy to work with, since it has egg yolks in it-- but it's so worth making. It's tender and buttery... I'm drooling, just thinking about it.

I used a quarter-sheet pan to bake this dessert.  I had a few jars of homemade Kadota fig jam, and I like to spread a little just to help prevent a soggy crust. (You could use apricot jam, too.)
NOTE: I like to put parchment paper underneath, to help remove the slices more easily.

I kept the crust in the refrigerator and preheated the oven to 400F, while I prepared the fruit.

My mother always cut each plum in half, not quite cutting through.  She'd remove the seed, and cut each half into quarters-- again, not slicing quite through. This created a "fan" of plums.  You can certainly quarter them all the way through, but some childhood habits are hard to break-- as in my case!

Down to the home stretch... fill the crust with the fruit...

Generously brush with melted butter...

Generously sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Don't be shy!

Bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is a golden color. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon sugar. Allow to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

This tart is ideal served at room temperature-- or just slightly warm.  Incredible!

Please, whatever you do, make fresh whipped cream!  It's a traditional garnish that goes hand-in-hand with this dessert, and helps to balance out the tartness of the fruit.

This is a childhood memory that brings me back to that moment in time-- that blissful first bite of plum-- just a tad bit tart, tangy, and then sweetened by the cinnamon-sugar.  The pastry... oh, the pastry... it's tender, and flaky, and buttery...

TASTING NOTES: I wish my mother was alive to have a taste of her recipe that I think would make her proud.  I have leftover plums that are begging for me to make another batch.  As soon as I post this recipe to share with all of you, the aroma of cinnamon and spice will be wafting from my oven.  I never tire of this dessert.  I hope you can find these plums, and that you will try this recipe.  If I'm lucky, I'll find this dessert on a menu while we are in Bavaria.  I'll be looking!

 A few years ago, I shared a shortcut recipe on making a "cheater pie" or galette with this fruit. You can view that recipe here.

A printable recipe card is at the end of the post.

NOTE:  I have been on a five-week hiatus from my food blog.  I've spent a few hours organizing my unpublished food photos, and I have no less than 44 recipes I've made--but haven't had the time to share.  I've missed all of my friends and readers, and hope to have more to share with you at least once a week.  Thank you for your patience.

Guten apetit!

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Adrienne said...

I was wondering where you'd been. I've missed you and all your beautiful pictures and also your drool-worthy descriptions of everything. Welcome back!


Debby Foodiewife said...

Thank you, Adrienne. I'm glad I haven't lost ALL of my followers! I have plenty of recipes to post...I just need to make time for it.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I remember years ago my coworker kept telling me about how good her German mother's plum cake was and how I really needed to try it. One day she brought me one. It was a round tart rather than a rectangular one like yours, but it was delicious and I was happy my husband doesn't like plums because I kept it all to myself. I don't work with my old friend anymore, but now I can make this myself!

Bavaria is the part of Germany I most want to see. Thanks for giving me a taste (literally and figuratively) of it.