Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recipes: Zwetschekuchen (German Plum Tart)

In my years and years of living in Germany I've never had a German plum tart. I've seen other varieties of tarts but I've never had one like this. I got this recipe from

"This is the plum cake or tart that my Grossmutter made. It is delicious, and any fruit can be substituted for the plums. Therefore it is a seasonally great southern German dessert from the Zweibrucken area. My daughter requested this for her 'birthday cake' when she turned 7; it was a hit at her party! Top with whipped cream. My personal favorite version is to alternate plum and nectarine slices. "


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon water, if needed
  • 3 pounds Italian prune plums
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste


  1. Place the flour, 1 1/3 cup of sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon, and butter into the work bowl of a food processor, and process until the mixture turns grainy. Stop the machine, add eggs and egg yolks, and process in the machine until the mixture gathers itself up into one dough ball. If the dough doesn't ball up, stop the machine, sprinkle several drops of water onto the dough, and process again. Place the dough into a covered container and refrigerate at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.
  2. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to warm up.
  3. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to make a 9 1/2-inch circle. Dough will be rich and sticky. Scrape up the dough circle, and press into a 9-inch pie dish. Quarter and slice the plums, and place skin sides down onto the dough in a neat ring, starting at the outer edge and working in a neat row towards the center.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the plums are bubbling hot and the crust starts to brown, about 45 minutes.
  5. Allow the tart to cool, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar before serving.

It really isn't like the tarts in Germany that usually feature some sort of glaze or custard with the fruit. I couldn't find Italian prune plums so I used regular but I really didn't think the plums went the the cookie like tart. With ice cream on top it was pretty good. It's important to use ripe plums. The third time I made this I added strawberries and nectarines with the plums. I think this recipe really shines as the "cookie" though. Eliminate the fruit and add more fresh lemon zest to it and you have a BANGIN shortbread cookie.

Would I make it again? Nope. But I would make the dough part as cookies!!