Zwetschgendatschi (pronounced ts-vetch-kin-dah-chee) is the Bavarian word for plum cake. The cake is traditionally made on a sheet pan and as it bakes, the plum skins start to run red and dye the dough underneath a ruby red color.
Damson Plums are not like your normal plum. They’re not round. They’re oval and very dark purple, almost black and lovely little orbs of joy.
Makes one 8-inch tart
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 pounds Damson/Italian prune plums
1 tablespoon raw sugar (or 1 packet you’ve pilfered from Starbucks)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, using the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture
resembles coarse cornmeal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture while pulsing; continue until the dough just begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead it until the dry ingredients are fully integrated and the dough holds together, being careful not to overwork it. Press the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Spray an 8-inch fluted tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. Crumble the majority of the dough into the tart pan and gently press onto the bottom and up the sides so that you have at least 1/8 inch of crust all around. If you have extra dough left over once you’ve completely covered the tart pan, set it aside.
For the filling, split each plum along the natural seam and remove the stone, leaving the plum still hinged on the backside like a little book. Cut a 1/4-inch notch at the top of the plum, where the stem once was. Why? Because that’s how my mum and Oma did it.
Arrange the plums upright on the uncooked dough, flesh side facing in. If you have any leftover tart dough, crumble it evenly on top of the plums. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the plums as well.
Bake the tart until the sides of the dough are golden brown and the plums are tender, about 45 minutes. If the plums begin to brown before they are tender, carefully cover them with aluminum foil and continue baking until the juices of the plums start running.