Zwetschgenkuchen (German Plum Cake)
For sweet dough:
1/4 oz. dry yeast
8 oz. milk
1 lb., 5 oz. bread flour
3/4 oz. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 oz. Crisco
3/4 oz. eggs
For plum-streusel topping:
1/2 lb. bread flour
3 oz. butter
5 oz. sugar
vanilla to taste
2 oz. cake crumbs or bread crumbs
11/2 lbs. Italian prune plums, pitted and sliced
For sweet dough:
Combine yeast, half the milk, 2 tbsp. flour and 1 tbsp. sugar in a small bowl. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles.
Combine remaining flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in yeast mixture, Crisco, egg and remaining milk, and stir until mixture forms a soft dough. Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead dough for 4 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a large greased bowl and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and weigh out a 9-ounce portion, then roll it into a 10-inch circle. (Weigh out extra portions of your choosing and store remaining dough in plastic bags and freeze. Thaw 24 hours before use. Or make more plum-streusel topping to make more plum cakes all at once.)
Place rolled dough in a greased pan, cover, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.
For plum-streusel and assembly:
Mix flour, butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer to form streusel. Sprinkle a layer of cake or bread crumbs over dough (to absorb excess moisture from plums). Top with sliced plums, cut-side up, and streusel. Preheat convection oven to 300 degrees and bake for 40 minutes. (If plums are sour, sprinkle extra sugar on top.) Slice to desired sizes.
I am Swiss, and the Swiss make Zwetschgenkuchen a little different, by pouring a custard-like finish over the top. But being that Edelweiss is a German restaurant, this recipe is a more traditional German one. It's actually one of the simplest recipes there is, and should be easy for anyone to make at home. You can substitute any sweet dough or yeast-raised dough recipe you prefer. At Edelweiss, we essentially triple this recipe, using 31/2 pounds of dough for a 16-by-24-inch sheet tray, which yields 40 servings. We've adjusted here accordingly.
— Submitted by Chef Alfred Hiltbrunner