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Bavarian Zwetschgendatschi – German Plum Sheet Cake Recipe

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This recipe comes from my Bavarian Mutti, who used to make this traditional Bavarian plum dessert when I was a little kid. I loved the flaky pastry dough crust, and the slightly sweet and tart Italian Prunes (a plum that has a very short season from August until September) that is generously sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Traditionally, the crust is made with a yeast dough. However, my Mutti and all of my living Bavarian relatives still swear that they much prefer a buttery, flaky tart-like dough. I have to agree. As soon I see these Italian prunes (sometimes referred to as "plums"), I buy them in bulk to bake this dessert-- and I also make a compote, can them, so I can enjoy it over yogurt.


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Ingredients

  • EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
  • 1/4 sheet pan
  • 1 sheet parchment paper
  • CRUST:
  • 7 ounces flour (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 5 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces sugar (scant 1/2 cup)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 package vanilla sugar or 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • Zest small lemon, or to taste
  • 12 to 14 Italian prunes (in season only in Aug-Sep)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup fig or apricot jam (optional)
  • Cinnamon Sugar:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Details

Servings 12
Preparation time 45mins
Cooking time 85mins
Adapted from afeastfortheeyes.net

Preparation

Step 1

Crust:

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and the lemon zest (the zest is optional, but I love the flavor it adds).

Create a well in the middle and add the eggs (and vanilla, if not using vanilla sugar), lemon zest and the butter. Knead with fingers to combine. Using the heels of your hand, knead until all the ingredients are combined.

Optional: I use my food processor, and use short pulses to combine-- careful not to over mix.

Generously flour the surface of the counter and the rolling pin, so the dough won’t stick.

Roll into a rectangle shape, to fit the quarter pan sheet. Place the parchment paper on top of the dough, set the pan on top and flip.
(Some of the dough will break apart, but just piece it back together with your fingers. Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the plums.

With a paring knife, cut along the "seam" of each plum, then pull the fruit apart, removing the seed. I prefer to cut each half into quarters, not quite all the way through-- so that the plums fan into four pieces (it's the way my mother taught me, and it's how I continue to do it).

Remove the crust from the fridge, and spread an even layer of jam. This step is optional, but I find that it helps to prevent a soggy crust.

Begin layering the plums in even rows, overlapping them a bit, as they do shrink while baking.

Brush melted butter over the plums and then generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 400°F for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the edges of the crust are a golden brown, and the plums are golden and bubbly.

Sprinkle an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar.

Allow to cool, ideally, until to room temperature. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream).

NOTE: I especially love a slice with my morning coffee!

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