Authentic German Plum Cake with Crumble (Zwetschgendatschi)

Although plums can be found in stores all year round, early Autumn is their harvest season and the Zwetschgendatschi is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the plum and prune season.

The Zwetschgendatschi is a traditional Bavarian yeast pastry, topped with Zwetschgen (Italian Prune plums) and Streusel (crumble). It is usually served with vanilla sugar – sweetened whipped cream. The cake itself is only mildly sweet (the entire recipe requires less then 200 g of sugar!). The sweetness and flavor come mostly from the ripe, juicy plums and the addition of ingredients like vanilla, almond liqueur and lemon zest.

Authentic German Plum Cake with Crumble (Zwetschgendatschi)

Recipe by Anna BembryCourse: Dessert, Coffee & CakeCuisine: GermanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

1

baking tray
Prep time

40

minutes
Baking time

40

minutes
Rising

1

hour

Sweet and juicy plums on a thinly rolled out yeast crust, topped with crumble and almonds. An Autumn delight.

Ingredients

  • For the dough
  • 125 ml / 4.2 fl oz milk, lukewarm

  • 20 g / 0.7 oz fresh baker’s yeast

  • 300 g / 10.6 oz plain, all-purpose flour + extra for dusting the workspace and the baking tray

  • 50 g / 1.8 oz sugar

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1 tablespoon almond liqueur , e.g. Amaretto

  • a pinch of salt

  • a pinch of freshly scraped vanilla pulp

  • a pinch of freshly grated lemon zest

  • 50 g / 1.8 oz soft butter + extra for buttering the baking tray

  • For the topping
  • 2 kg /4.4 lbs Italian Prune plums

  • 50 g / 1.8 oz ladyfingers biscuits, crumbled

  • 50 g / 1.8 oz sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • For the crumble
  • 125 g / 4.4 oz all-purpose flour

  • 90 g / 3.2 oz sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

  • 100 g / 3.5 oz butter, melted

  • salt

  • ground cinnamon

  • 75 g / 2.6 oz blanched, sliced almonds

  • Equipment
  • 17 x 11 inch flat baking tray

Method

  • Crumble the yeast into the lukewarm milk and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Combine the yeast-milk with the flour, sugar, egg yolks, almond liqueur, a pinch of salt, vanilla pulp, and lemon zest, and knead either by hand or with an electric mixer, fitted with dough hooks. Add butter and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic food wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise at room temperature, for about 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, rinse the plums, cut in half and remove the pits. Make a small, lengthwise incision in each half, that goes about half way through (see picture below). Butter and lightly sprinkle with flour the baking tray. Adjust the oven rack to a middle position and preheat the oven to 175C / 347F.
  • Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured workspace, thinly roll out and line with it the prepared baking tray. If necessary, pat and press the dough with the palm of your hand to fit the tray. Sprinkle the dough the the crumbled ladyfingers and tightly cover with the plum halves.
  • Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the plums.
  • For the crumble, rub flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, melted butter, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon with your fingers into a crumbly mixture. Loosely stir in the almond flakes (almond slices) and evenly spread all over the cake. Set aside for another 20 minutes to rise.
  • Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool down before cutting into squares and serving.

Notes

  • If you like, lightly sprinkle the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve with a dab of whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla sugar.
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