German Plum Kuchen- Pflaumenkuchen is a summer recipe that uses fresh plums in season. This German recipe is traditional in Transylvania, and it is easy to make and delicious.
German Plum Kuchen- Pflaumenkuchen
I love this recipe. While plums are still in season, this recipe should be on the list of everyone who loves baking bars and using seasonal ingredients. The recipe comes from Transylvania, and it is specific to Saxon(German) cuisine.
Easy to make and incredibly delicious, the German Plum Kuchen is a little treasure, great for a lazy Sunday afternoon snack or dessert.
To make this recipe, I recommend Italian plums for a more traditional taste.
They are somewhat smaller and less juicy than American plums, that I find, in my opinion, a little too big for this recipe.
When I was growing up, bars or cookies used to be baked in my grandmother’s home only over the weekends and served during the week as snacks or on special occasions.
The tray or the platter of desserts would sit quietly in the pantry, waiting for a guest to stop by and say hi.
She would then make coffee and serve desserts with it.
I love to share old recipes that come from my family or from the places I grew up. I think that old recipes teach us about old times. They provide a window into everyday life long ago.
You can learn what people ate, what utensils they used in the kitchen, what ingredients they could buy in the stores, and what cultural and culinary influences shaped them.
Sometimes you can also learn about their social lives because handwritten recipes frequently include the person’s name from whom the writer got the recipe.
Such recipe collections are essential parts of family traditions but also of broader cultural traditions. They tell us stories of a vanished world and connect us to our past and our roots.
Here are some more recipes from Transylvania:
Traditional Saxon Potato Tarragon Soup
Easy Plum Coffee Cake-Summer Dessert
What kind of ingredients go into this recipe:
- All-purpose flour– this is a flour that works for most baked goods, and most people have it in their pantries.
- Baking powder
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted cold butter- as we will make a shortbread-type crust for this dessert, we will need very cold butter for the dough. Cut it into small pieces and work them into the flour and sugar.
- Large egg
- Italian plums– smaller fruits but full of flavor. If you cannot find them, use the type of plums you have available.
- Sweet graham crackers crumbs
- Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the bars
This dessert is straightforward. It has a shortbread crust on the bottom and fresh fruits on top. Bread crumbs are sprinkled over the plums to absorb the excess juice. That’s it!
I think that you can replace the plums with peaches. For example, I do not see why they would not work.
There is not a ton of sugar in these bars, and I am not going to pretend that it is a fancy recipe. The ingredients are accessible and easy to put together, and the result is delicious.
Tip: The dough can be made in a food processor! It is a lifesaver in the kitchen! Amazon is an excellent place to start looking for a cheaper, reliable one if you don’t have one!
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More recipes to love:
Decadent German Chocolate Cake
Triple Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
German Plum Kuchen- Pflaumenkuchen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick unsalted cold butter
- 1 large egg
- 2.2 pounds plums
- 1 tablespoon sweet graham crackers crumbs
- powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the bars
- Sieve the flour together with the baking powder and sugar.
- Work the cold butter into the mixture until it looks like bread crumbs.
- Add the egg.
- Mix to make a dough. Cover in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour in the refrigerator.
- TipUse a food processor to mix the ingredients together. Pulse a few times for flour, baking powder, sugar, and butter to create a mixture that resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg and pulse a few more times until you obtain a dough.
- In the meantime wash and dry the plums, cut them in halves and remove the pits.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Use an 8×8 inch pan. (You do not need to butter the pan, as the dough has enough fat in it).
- Spread the dough on the bottom of the pan and place the plums on top of the dough in dense rows. Sprinkle them with the crumbs and bake for 40-45 mins. (the dough has to be baked, plums should still sweat)
- Let the pan cool, then cut the bars in squares and serve. Sprinkle powder sugar on top if you prefer.
Wednesday 31st of August 2022
I just made this plum kuchen. The recipe caught my eye because my dad actually came from Rode (now Zagar) in Transylvania, Romania. I made our "regular" plum kuchen and this one. While they are both delicious, I really like this Transylvanian recipe! I was hesitant about the graham cracker crumbs, but it really works and is delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe from my dad's homeland - it's a keeper for me!
Friday 8th of July 2022
Going to make this tomorrow. Bought a bunch of plums from Aldi yesterday. Growing up, my German grandmother (from Sachsen) used to make Pflaumenkuchen every summer. Always loved it! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Wednesday 22nd of September 2021
I was born in Schwabach Germany and love this dessert. I make a Pflaumenkuchen (I used to call it Zwetchgenkuchen) that comes close to your recipe. I never used Graham cracker crumbs. It's my favorite dessert and actually make mine a 11X15 pan and hate to share it. It was a favorite of my Dad's also. Anyway I'll have to try your recipe and double the size. And it's difficult to find Italian prunes around here. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Wednesday 18th of August 2021
I just found this recipe and I can’t wait to make it. It caught my eye because it was a Transylvanian Saxon recipe. I was born in Reichesdorf ( a small village in Transylvania). My entire family comes from there. We came to the US in 1978. I was only two years old, so I don’t remember much of the homeland, but my parents, aunts, uncles, and sisters kept many traditions alive. I speak Saxon as does most of my family. Thanks again for the recipe.
The Bossy Kitchen
Wednesday 18th of August 2021
Hi Gertrud, What a wonderful story! Do you know that Reichesdorf village is also called Richis? You should take a trip to that area. It is absolutely lovely. Lots of foreigners live now in the village, including Americans. Here is an article about that, if you are curious: https://www.romania-insider.com/romania-richis-international-village/ I hope you also enjoy the recipe! ❤️
Wednesday 14th of July 2021
Made the plum kuchen yesterday. Very pleased with the results except my plums were not perfect...However the pastry made up for the plums!
My only comment would be that it took my super large food processor more than a few seconds to make the dough come together...maybe a minute. I was beginning to think that I'd have to add some ice water but then noticed that the dough was beginning to adhere.
Also fun was your experience with the Master Chef contest. You are right. It is not about the cooking. It is about the entertainment. Your cake looked great to me!