German Plum Crumble Cake – “Zwetschgendatschi”
September is my favourite month. Life somehow calms down after a lively summer, but it is still often really warm and sunny. And nature shows it’s best side once again: the special light, the bright leaves and lots to harvest. To me, prune plums are absolutely synonymous with this wonderful month. And because my birthday is in September too, it became customary in my family that I get a plum cake for my birthday – baked by Mr G or by our daughter. Here I would like to share the recipe for “Susi’s Birthday Datschi” with you. But first, a very fundamental question:
What is the difference between plums and prune plums?
Both fruits are botanically closely related, but prune plums (prunus domestica subs. domestica – damson plums are close but not the same) are a subspecies of plums (prunus domestica). The latter are round or egg-shaped and have a pit seam that runs across the entire fruit. They can be blue on the outside, red, purple or yellow. The flesh of plums is yellow, juicy and sweet and much softer than that of prunes. That’s why plums are best for making chutney, crumble or jam. Prune plums (also called German prunes or “Zwetschgen”), on the other hand, are much smaller than most types of plums and tend to be elongated to oval. Their outer skin is dark blue to violet, the flesh yellow-greenish. It tastes more sour than that of plums and is much firmer. The stone can easily be removed from the flesh. All this makes prune plums perfect for cakes.
Zwetschgendatschi – plum cake Bavarian style
The classic cake par excellence is plum cake from a sheet. Here in Bavaria it is called “Zwetschgendatschi“, the name comes from the Bavarian word for pressing into something: “datschen”. The plums are pressed into the dough. Traditionally, Bavarian Zwetschgendatschi is baked with yeast dough and without crumble. But when it comes to crumble, opinions vary greatly: for some, they don’t belong on the Zwetschgendatschi at all, while others can’t do without them. I belong to the latter group: I like the cake much, much better with crumbles. In my opinion the sweet, crunchy crumbles perfectly round off the soft, tart plums. In my recipe, a thin layer of biscuit crumbs is placed between the rolled-out dough and the fruit so that the plums don’t soak the dough too much.
German Plum Crumble Cake
For 1 tray
For the dough:
- 500 g flour
- 100 g sugar
- 1 sachet dry yeast
- 125 g soft (vegan) butter
For the topping:
- 30 g dry biscuits
- 2 kg prune plums
For the crumble:
- 200 g flour
- 150 g muscovado sugar
- 125 g cold (vegan) butter
Mix the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl, make a well in the middle. Mix the yeast in the well with 175 ml lukewarm water, dust with flour and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes. Add the butter and knead vigorously until the dough no longer sticks. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for another 60-90 minutes until doubled in volume.
Meanwhile, prepare the crumbles: In a bowl, crumble flour, sugar and cold butter with your fingertips until you have nice crumbles.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees without fan. Roll out the dough. Place on a greased, floured baking tray. Crumble the biscuits in a freezer bag or food processor and sprinkle over the pastry. Wash and clean the fruits, cut them in half, remove the stones and place on the dough very close to each other – almost stacked – with the open inside facing forward-upwards. Sprinkle with the crumble and bake on the middle shelf for about 50 minutes until golden brown.
(Vegan) whipped cream goes perfectly with this.