The per­fect ... Ger­man plum cake

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast - Felic­ity Cloake

The Ger­man plum cake, var­i­ously known as

or de­pend­ing where you are in the coun­try, is a na­tional in­sti­tu­tion: once tasted, never for­got­ten, al­though in truth it’s more of a bread or a tart than a cake as we know it. You rarely see them in Bri­tish bak­eries, so if you’ve never tried one, you’re in for a treat. Many of the recipes are very spe­cific about the type of plum used: Anja Dunk writes in Strudel, Noo­dles and Dumplings that “zwetschgen are small, dark-as-night plums with a vi­brant yel­low flesh, both tart and sweet in flavour”. They’re hard to get hold of here, and recipes rec­om­mend every­thing from round red plums to damsons in­stead:

I find that, some­what sur­pris­ingly, they all work well, even un­der­ripe su­per­mar­ket bul­lets, though long, dark plums are the best choice for both tex­ture and flavour. If you use damsons, you may wish to add some ex­tra sugar along with the streusel.

More im­por­tant, I think, is how you pre­pare them. Cut the pieces Halve the plums and pre­pare the dough: any plums will do, but dark plums re­ally look the part too small, and they’ll dis­ap­pear into the base. Un­less they’re real whop­pers, halves should be fine, with a lit­tle nick in the skin, as pas­try chef Ger­sine Bul­lock-Prado sug­gests, to stop the skins slid­ing off as the plums cook.

Yeasted dough and crunchy short­crust are both pop­u­lar ve­hi­cles for baked plums in Ger­many, and with good rea­son, but the dough stands up bet­ter to the fruit juices: pas­try has a ten­dency to be­come soggy un­less eaten im­me­di­ately. Testers pre­fer the softer tex­ture of those made with plain flour and egg yolks to the stur­dier bun dough of the spe­cial­ist baker Kon­di­tor and Cook recipe, and Ger­man food Fill the tin with dough, then al­monds, then the plums, skin side up. Fi­nally, strew with zesty cin­na­mon sugar

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.