Thursday, August 27, 2009


For only a few weeks out of the year, local fruit markets offer the essential ingredient in an old-style German dessert called Zwetschgenkuchen (listen to the pronunciation here.... gosh I love the internet).
I have this great desire to "chap arein" each year and make this pie every Shabbos for Shalosh Seudos because the Italian plum season is so short.
This week is officially Week #1 and I thought I'd share my recipe with you. This recipe is an adaptation and compilation of several different recipes which I toyed with until I got the desired results. The pie crust recipe {traditional German "Muerbe" cookie dough crust} belonged to my grandmother (a.k.a. Ami). You know it's my Ami's recipe because there are no proper measurements and there are no proper directions. I used to beg her to be more specific on things, but her answer was always the same - "I cannot tell you. You have to watch.".
As with many other traditional old style foods, don't expect this pie to cut nicely or anything, but it sure will taste delicious. (Shhhh, don't tell Michael. It's his favorite and I'm sending some over before Shabbos)

Ami's (Cookie Dough) Pie Crust

1 egg
4 spoons fat
6 spoons sugar
12 spoons flour

Adjust to proper consistency. Press into pyrex pie dish. Sprinkle some ground nuts on top if desired.

Plum Pie

2 lbs. Italian plums -- or more
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
Ami's Pie Dough Recipe

Prepare pie crust.

Mix together sugar and cornstarch.

Wash plums. Slit open lengthwise almost all the way. Remove pits.

Dredge plums in sugar mixture and arrange in pie crust close together.

Pour any remaining sugar mixture on top.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and bake 30-40 minutes more (the exudate should be bubbling).

Enjoy and Good Shabbos.


Something Different said...

wow, that looks REALLY good. Can I come have some?

G6 said...

SD -
Most definitely... but come fast. This pie doesn't last past Motzoei Shabbos at the very latest!
But I firmly believe you need to experience the Heights once anyway ;)

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

How do you say Ambrosia in Hochdeutsch????? My mother o"bm used to make it for Sukkos!

Anonymous said...

it's not yekkish just cuz your mother made it
you apparently have your east/west heritage mixed up (as explained by your moniker)

Yekkishe Bekishe said...

I can trace my lineage on my fathers side as being in Germany since 1492 definitely - if not earlier! On my mothers side we have documentation going back to the late 1700s! If I say anything else, I may give away my identity. Let's just say that when I'm at KAJ with my family on our annual Hoshanah Rabbo visit, I'm given a warm welcome by at least two dozen members of my extended family!

efrex said...

First reaction to the title: "gesundheit!" :)

My mother, the chemistry teacher, is a fantastic cook, but requires explicit directions and precise amounts. When she wanted to cook a dish made by our neighbor (a full-fledged member of the "a-bit-of-this-a-dash-of-that" school of cooking), she had her prepare the dish in our kitchen, and held a measuring cup under the poor woman's hands every time she added something to the pot.

Now, I'm curious about the "fat" ingredient. A traditional pastry dough would presumably use butter, but I would guess that this would often be served after a fleishig meal. Contemporary kosher cooks would probably use margarine, but that wasn't such a popular ingredient back in the day. Did your grandmother use schmaltz in her recipes? (Don't look so horrified, it's supposed to make the crust really flaky)

Oh, and thanks for adding "exudate" to my Scrabble lexicon...

ProfK said...

The pie looks scrumptious, but what wouldn't be delicious with muerbe teig as a base?!

Efrex, shmaltz in pastry baking?!!!Heaven forfend. Think oil.

Staying Afloat said...

Yum. And double yum.

G6 said...

Efrex -
It is precisely your mother's background in chemistry that causes her to have these issues. I myself have a bio/chem background and I always insist that this is the root of my compulsion.
You see, when you initiate certain chemical reactions, the amount of your end product will be ALTERED DRASTICALLY, if your "ingredients" are off even marginally. This is indoctrinated into every chemistry students brain very early on (when the final grade is determined by the weight of your final product ;) ).
Regarding the "fat", I don't know what Ami used, but I use margarine. I was more disturbed by the "spoons" issue... I used to yell at her, "Soup spoons, Tablespoons, teaspoons??!?!?", to which she'd merely respond, "A Loffel" {insert eye roll here}

ProfK said...

Did she also give you measurements using "vasser glessele," vein glessele," and "shnaps glessele"? I also loved when my mom would tell me "nor a bissele."

Anonymous said...

lineage, shmineage. what's with the bekkishe? that diminishes the germanic blood, dilutes it, makes it impure (mudblood)

G6 said...

ProfK -
Sadly, even the different "glasses" were far more specific than my grandmother ever got...

Anonymous said...

hey we had it this week! although my brother insisted on calling in "retchenkuchen" (i think he didn't like it)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember Krach-Kuchen? I think this one could use a little "Krach" on top of all those plums :-)


G6 said...

Anonymous (1:19) -
The reason you had it this weekend too is because the person who made it got to my blog before you did this week, lol!!!!
{Hey, can we all go back to pseudonyms please?!?!?)

cuzzin buzzin said...

made it also this week, was a real success. but two pounds of plums was too much for the amount of dough according to your measurements, so I doubled the dough.
and speaking of muerbe dough, do you have the marzipan cake recipe? yum

BLD said...

What is the Brocho on this item ? Haitz or Mezonos ?

citizen of brooklyn north said...

BLD, have you never in your life eaten a fruit pie?!

G6 said...

Cuzzin' -
Maybe you just used the wrong "spoons".
For all we know she could have meant SALAD spoons, lol.......

Rafi G. said...

hey, maybe you can post some other traditionally yekkishe foods for the upcoming holidays. I am yekkishe, but the person who ran our kitchen (my mother) is we did not grow up with any traditional yekkishe foods.

cuzzin buzzin said...

what on earth is exudate

G6 said...

Cuzzin -

Must I do *everything* around here???!!!!

Enjoy the pie.
P.S. This week I didn't follow my own good advice and only the edges were bubbling... Now I have a runny (but yummy) pie.

Rafi G. said...

my wife made this for shabbos (for my birthday).. it smells good... will let you know after shabbos how it was. I am sure it will be delicious.
Someone told her that if we have never had this pie, we cannot call our selves yekkishe.

she brought a piece over to a neighbor, and the neighbor said "oh, that's zwetchgenkuchen. my grandmother used to make that!"

there's a first time for everything. and when your mother is polish and only your fathers side is yekkishe, there are a lot of first times for yekkishe food...

G6 said...

Rafi G -

Happy birthday.
I'm so happy that your wife made this and I've been thinking about your request for more recipes, but I'm not sure what I can post.

I haven't started making Gruenkern soup yet, and I'm not even sure that you can buy that in Israel.

I'm open to suggestions from any and all readers (Where is Brunhilda when you need her....?)

SLiM said...

My Oma made a plum tart with criss-crossed dough over the top of it. I always thought Zwetschgenkuchen required them...

YW said...

Happy Pi(e) day, 3.14 today is 3/14, all around the world people celebrate Pi with eating pie.