Is that a zwetschgenkuchen?

My mom has a plum tree in her backyard that’s dropping plums faster than LiLo’s career. Every morning my sister wakes up and picks the fallen plums off the ground to avoid attracting hungry rats. If nobody picks them up, rats infiltrate our backyard, drive our dogs nuts, and then we all suffer – well, not the rats.

Plums are in season May through early October. To combat the onslaught of plums our tree produces, my sister and I decided to make Zwetschgenkuchen, a German dessert.

We didn’t make the Mürbeteig Crust from scratch, instead we used one of the circular, 9-inch roll out ones from Pillsbury.

Zwetschgenkuchen filling:

1/3 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup no sugar added, natural applesauce
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds Shirley Olerich’s plums, washed, quartered, and pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A few shakes of nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2. Optional: pre bake the pastry for a few minutes, take it out, and fork the bottom and sides.
3. Mix peach preserves, applesauce, flax seed, and vanilla extract and spread on the crust.
4. Starting on the edges of the 9-inch pie plate, place the plums in a circle, overlapping each slightly, eventually form a spiral into the center. Keep spiraling in until you run out of plum bits.
5. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon rind, and sprinkle over the plums.
6. Bake about 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the plums juicy. At about 35 minutes I put tinfoil over the top so the crust wouldn’t overbrown.

Step Four plums going right round like a record player
Step Five sprinkly sprinkly do daaah!
Our snack while the pie bakes!
Shirley's beautiful flower arrangement
How to find a ripe plum: look for plump, nicely colored fruit that yields to gentle pressure – sort of squishy. Avoid the ones with shriveled skin and extremely mushy spots. Refrigerate ripe plums for up to three days and ripen the unripe ones in a loosely closed paper bag for a couple of days.

We sprinkled toasted oats (oats, cinnamon, dark brown sugar over a skillet on medium heat for a few minutes) on the top as a crunchy garnish.

Tastes like: "The pie's slightly gooey consistency made a spoon necessary to enjoy this delectable dessert. The first bite was different from most pies I've tasted - there was a tart sweetness, but also hidden hints of cinnamon throughout. The toasted oats on top and the hardened pie crust provided the perfect amount of crunch to accompany the soft plum/jam filling."

Pros: yummy dessert, starving rats, quiet dogs, German pride, truly organic plum baking, creating something new with Nicole, something to do on Sunday.

Cons: baking in 100-degree weather, waiting for it to cool when all you want to do is try your creation, this will only subdue the barking dogs, hungry rats, and over-fertile plum tree for a day.

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