Sunday, September 19, 2010

German Plum Tart - FLA la la la la

This tart has many names depending where in Germany you live. Pflaumenkuchen in some places. In Bavaria it's called zwetschgendatschi.Here in our corner of Nordrein Westphalia, it's called Pflaumenfladen and in our region it's just shortened to "Fla."

We have three gorgeous plum trees on our property. The Mirabelles are over now but we still have these little late summer purple prune plums, or zwetschgen aplenty. So this will be the first of a few plum-centric posts until the end of the month.

My mother in law, Fine was making several of these tarts so I got all up in her baking business to "help". Of course, she really doesn't need my help. She has been making this treat for the last 60 odd years. I was just using "helping" as an excuse to learn from the master plum tart maker in the family.

The day before I had done my harvest penance and dragged out the ladder to pick the ones near the tops of the trees she could not reach with the picker.  This turned into a comedy of sorts. As I was grabbing the branches to pull the plums off, several would fall to the ground. Fine would go around with her bucket picking up the ones that dropped and the minute she had her back turned, Lucy the sheep and Rosalie the dwarf goat would each snatch a plum out of the bucket to scarf down.
Plum Thieves
After some instruction from Fine, I put myself in charge of properly slicing the plums. They are cut in a way to make them stand up to attention on the tart. You slice from the stem all the way around and then crosswise in the other direction but only half way down the plum.

As I worked, Fine entertained me with family stories. Her mom was a cook for a family and Fine grew up in the kitchen at her knee. What really blew me away was the 100 year old pan she has and still uses which was passed down from her step grandmother, whose maiden name is Dreissen. Fine showed me the D molded into the bottom of the pan.

I can't even begin to imagine how many plum tarts have been made in this pan
Fine's German Plum Tart

Prep Time: 60 minutes 
Bake Time: 20 minutes 
Rise Time: 50 minutes
Yield: Two 10-inch tarts 


  • 3 +1/2 pounds prune plums
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh yeast or dry yeast equivalent
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine or vegetable shortening
  • 1 small egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons ofvanilla sugar (or one tablespoon pure vanilla extract) 
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of dry white bread crumbs 
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (optional) 

  • Cut the plums by scoring from the stem all the way lengthwise around the plum. However, take care to leave each fruit in once piece. 
  • Discard the pit then turn the plum and score in the opposite direction, only halfway down
  • this time. Repeat until all the plums have even scored.
  • Grease both tart pans. 
  • Put the flour, fresh yeast, egg yolk, salt, 1/4 cup white granulated sugar and vanilla sugar together in a bowl. 
  • Do not mix.
  • Cover the bowl and set aside for a half hour in a warm place. 
  • Warm the milk, taking care not to boil it. Add the milk to the yeast mixture. Add the margarine or vegetable shortening, mix and knead the mixture thoroughly. 
  • Cover the bowl once more and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. 
  • Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F. 
  • Split the dough in half. Roll it out into a circle and transfer to pan. Trim the edges. 

  • Using a fork make impressions to form the crust and poke holes in the bottom. 
  • Sprinkle one heaping tablespoon of bread crumbs evenly over the crust in pan. This helps absorb the juice from the plums and prevents a soggy crust. 
  • Starting from the outer edges, lay the plums on top of the crust. 
  • Let the tart stand in a warm place for 15 minutes and then put in oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
  • While the first cake one is baking, prepare the second.
  • After removing the tart from the oven, sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar over the top. If desired, whip some heavy cream and spoon a bit on top of each slice you serve.


  1. What a lovely way to spend the day. The tart sounds amazing.

  2. So pretty, I love how it looks a bit wild! I can't remember the last time I ate a plum but I guess it is time to give them another go.

  3. Ooh, we're coming up to plum season over here soon! The sight of those gorgeous wedges of plum poking from the top of the tart has got me craving them right now!

  4. Lovely post Lora. I tried making Pflaumenkuchen once, but not having a German relative to show me how, I wasn't sure if the end result was actually correct :) Mine ended up with a pillowy brioche like base and a thin layer of plums on top. Looking at your pics, I think it should have been the other way around. Thanks for sharing and I'm definitely trying again when plum season gets here.

  5. I've been searching for a similar recipe to my mother's. She made wonderful Plum Cake and after buying some wonderful plums today, I started craving her cake. It finally dawned on me that it might be a German recipe (she was German) and fa la la la la, you're recipe sounds like it might be it. Can't wait to try it out.


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