The plums of September are not the plums of August ... no huge round orbs of sweet flesh with tangy after bite. The prune plums of September are small blueish ovals, sweet and fleshy and easy to go soft.
Every autumn, one sees the foragers in Germany gathering these blue prune plums along agricultural paths or off along the walkways of parks. Home they go with their cache to make pans of Pflaumenkuchen for their daily Kaffetrinken. This 'cake' is a soft cross between a coffeecake and a soft bread with a fruit topping (kinda like a pizza, SB, but NOT !)
It is very common at this time of year and can be found on just about every guest house menu ... boy, do I wish I were staying in one of the Gästehäuser in the Neckar Valley right now ... sigh. Oh well, next best thing is having this for dessert this evening or better yet, as soon as it comes from the oven with our afternoon tea.
I miss Germany terribly sometimes and this afternoon, as I made a long pan of this kuchen I was very nostalgic. Now, a word about this kuchen. A traditional Pflaumenkuchen does not have Streusel or cardamom that I know of, but I love almonds and plums together. And I am the mistress of my own kitchen ... so any purists in the hall can just relax.
I suggest mixing up this thick batter and slapping it into the pan, carving up some plums, making a fast food processor Streusel, and baking up a bit of sweet Fall goodness ... pronto! Don't forget the whipped cream or a dollop of quark ... mmm, lecker!
Pflaumenkuchen with Almond Streusel
¼ lb. butter
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. flour
¼ tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. baking powder
⅓ c. milk (or more)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ to 3 lb. prune plums, depending on size of pan
2 - 3 tbsp. brown sugar
1.2 c. flour
¼ c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, cut into small bits
two pinches cardamon
two pinches cinnamon
½ c. sliced almonds plus a small handful more
Making the Dessert:
- Wash the plums. Have and pit them, then cut the halves in half, nipping the brown stem tips. Place the plum quarters in a deep bowl and sprinkle on 2 - 3 tbsp. brown sugar. Toss them to distribute the sugar and set them aside to macerate a bit.
- In another bowl, cream butter and sugar really well.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Whip well between each egg addition.
- Combine the flour, cardamom, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Whisk well.
- Mix the vanilla and milk in the measuring cup.
- Add the dry and wet ingredients, alternating, in a few additions to the eggs and sugar to make a thick batter.
- Line a jelly roll pan with a large piece of parchment paper (overlap all the edges by about an inch. Butter it lightly and press the paper into the corners of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. and place the rack in the upper center of the oven.
- Spread batter on the paper right up to the edges of the pan’s rim.
- Lay plums on dough with cut side up and touching one another. Sprinkle on a bit of cardamom. Drizzle the juices from the bowl over them.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Make the streusel by throwing all the ingredients ( except that small handful of almonds) in a food processor bowl. Pulse to make a coarse mix. Turn in the sliced almonds and set aside.
- Remove the cake after 20 minutes and sprinkle the streusel over the top of the pflaumenkuchen. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and bubbly. You can turn on the broiler and watch it like a hawk at this stage.
- Remove and cool in the pan for thirty minutes. Then, carefully slide the paper and kuchen onto a large cutting board, trim the paper edges a bit.
- Cut into large squares and serve warm with whipped cream and steaming cups of coffee or tea.