Did I mention how much I love plums? All sorts of plums. Sugar plums are my absolute favourite, they look so beautiful and somehow taste less sour but aren't as sweet either, if that makes sense? Sugar plums (Zwetschgen) in Germany are used to make Zwetschgendatschi which even for me as a German sounds funny and I started to research its old-fashioned name.
Unfortunately but also quite often with old terms there are different explanation about the orign
of the name. One of
these is that the word is derived from the old dialect term “Datsche” –
the country house in which these cakes were mainly baked in earlier
times. The other traces it
back to the South German dialect word
“detschen, datschen” (to press flat).
Unfortunately, nowadays no one
knows for certain what the actual origin of the word is.
The good thing is, it is still served and eaten every year by almost every German at the beginning of Autumn after their harvest. Every bakery will offer them baked on a tray on a yeast dough sprinkled with cinnamon streusel. It's a very basic cake - no "schnick-schnack", that is best eaten still slightly warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream - it's so good!
I still remember last time I was in Germany around that time in Cologne to visit my good friend Katha. We went to a very old-fashioned cafe, which is called Konditorei Wahlen where we had our afternoon tea or "Kaffee and Kuchen", as we say in German. I am usually not a big fan of whipped cream but it's a must with Zwetschgendatschi. I loved that afternoon and I am always thinking of it when I make my plum cake at home.
Recipe for Zwetschgendatchi (German sugar plum cake with streusel)
(This recipe makes enough for an oven tray or two round pizza trays)
500 g plain flour
a pinch salt
80 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 (7 g) sachet dried yeast
125 ml lukewarm milk
100 g butter, softened
1,2 kg sugar plums, halved lengthwise and pitted
150 g plain flour
80 g brown sugar
80 g melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1. Sieve flour in a large bowl. Add salt, sugar and lemon zest and mix together. Make a well in the centre and add yeast and lukewarm milk and stir with a little of the flour. Cover with a clean tea towel and let sit in a warm place until bubbles appear.
2. Add butter and eggs and with the dough hook knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
3. Cover and rest in the bowl in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Roll dough out with a rolling pin and place on baking or pizza tray. Top with sugar plums starting along the edges and moving inwards, plums slightly overlapping.
5. To make the streusel, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until it just comes together. Sprinkle over the plums.
6 Bake for 20-30 minutes.
Serve still slightly warm with dollops of whipped cream.