Saturday, October 15, 2011


This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can expect the following produce from SLO FarmSweetwater Farm, and Songbird Farm:
  • multiple varieties of apples and plums
  • pie pumpkins
  • tomatoes: heirlooms, cherries, and San Marzano romas
  • cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, string beans
  • peppers including bell peppers, poblano, and hot peppers 
  • root vegetables including beets, turnips, potatoes, and kohlrabi
  • kale, chard, lettuce 
  • onions, leeks, garlic
  • eggs, honey
SLO Farm offers a variety of purple prune plums that my kids devour by the basketful. 

As soon as I saw these jewel-like fruits, I had a flood of memories of sunny afternoons on the patio of my grandmother's home in a small town in Southern Germany, feasting on Zwetschgenkuchen, a yeasty cake covered with slightly tart plum halves and embellished with streusels. I  recall the glee with which my sister and I realized that Germans have an official midafternoon meal devoted to the consumption of cake (Kaffee und Kuchen). It was a daily pleasure to be called away from daisy chain fabrication for the sole purpose of sampling yet another baked delicacy, accompanied by sweet, milky coffee. 

To make my own zwetschgenkuchen, I combined a yeast cake dough from here and a streusel recipe from there, and recruited my daughter to arrange the plum halves (which she did with such conviction that I had to rescue a few drowning ones from the dough).

The baking cake filled the kitchen with yeasty, sweet aromas from my childhood that made me wistful for a Kaffeeklatsch with my mother and sister. But I was happy to watch my own childrens consume the cake with gusto and roll the exotic name around on their tongues.


for the cake dough
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour, such as Camas Country Mill's soft white flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1 inch cubes

8-12 prune plums, halved

for the streusel
1/4 cup flour
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter

1. Combine the yeast and water and allow to stand for about 5 minutes, until frothing.

2. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix in the yogurt, egg, and vanilla extract. Then pulse in the butter in batches until it is all incorporated. The dough will be quite runny, and I found it easiest to leave it in the food processor bowl to rise. Allow it to rise for 1 1/2 or 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 inch round cake pan. Pour in the yeasty cake dough and cover with a layer of plum halves, pressed into the dough with their skin sides down.

4. Rinse out the food processor to make the streusel. Pulse together the dry ingredients. Then add the vanilla and butter and pulse until it is a coarse crumb. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake.

5. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 55 minutes, until the streusels are browned and a fork poked into the dough comes out clean. Allow to cool partially before serving.


Megan Hinkel said...

Will you still be there Sunday, Oct 23?

Karen said...

Yes, the market will run at least through October, possibly longer.