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There is a five-story walk-up in the Bronx. My childhood friend Risa lived there with her parents, Leon and Esther and her sister Mara. Esther often baked Plum Kuchen (Kuchen is German for Cake). When she baked a Kuchen, her apartment had an aroma of cinnamon and plums that you could smell in the hallway. The scent still evokes fond memories for me. Esther was gracious enough to share her recipe. I changed a few things and retained the integrity of this delicious dessert.
This is a delightful cake with damson plums on a yeasty cake base. It is very minimalistic and easy to make, and just tastes terrific. Every year we wait until the damsons are finally ripe, and then we gorge on Zwetschgendatschi. So far the record of our 11 year old son is at four pieces in one sitting...
Buttery Zwetschkenkuchen or Pflaumenkuchen is a delicious shortcrust pastry that is spread onto a baking sheet and covered with pitted plums (zwetschgen). My Nanny made this every holiday and my mother and I carried on the tradition.