Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Brief Morning Encounter

I got off the subway this morning and instead of going straight to the office, I veered down the sidewalk, skimming the edges of the Thursday Farmers Market to get to my favorite orchard stand. The object of my search? Italian Prune Plums for another zwetschgendatschi. I sent one with Michele to work last week and it got rave reviews. 

Said Rave Reviews:

"Very Good!" "Amazing!" "Thrilled!" All kinds of thumbs up and an offer to support my "art form" whenever the need arises. And one broken gluten-free fast.

Said Rave Reviews End

Said plum tart:

Spell it with me: "zwetschgendatschi"!
Obviously, I never got to taste this one, so I was hoping to nab one more batch to bake another for myself, now that I'm getting the hang of making this so that it tastes much more like what I had in Munich thirty-one years ago. I was in luck! There was one bin of plums (down from two last week, so we're definitely at the end of the season) and they were mostly squishy firm, as opposed to rock-hard firm. 

That's a good thing because I've determined that the secret to my success with this tart is to ripen the plums within an inch of their lives. That seem to release the best taste when they bake. Also, I now prefer to bake it in my square tart pan, since I don't remember ever getting a slice of this in Munich that was wedge-shaped. Oh, and use about half as many plums as the recipe calls for, and twice the raw sugar for topping.  

I was in the process of snagging a bagful when a woman with lovely gray hair and a sweet smile, got my attention. I had to unplug myself from my shopping play list, though. Don't laugh. My whole life has soundtracks. I'm still cognizant of my surroundings, which is why I knew she was talking to me, instead of thin air.

At any rate, she said I seemed to be a fan of the plums (I was rather focused and engaged in choosing good ones) and asked if they were good, even though they aren't usually very sweet. I told her about making the zwetschgendatschi instead of just eating them. She was intrigued and said I was inspiring with the idea of baking with them. I don't know so much about inspiring; I was just talking about making my favorite tart of all time. 

After I showed her a picture on my phone, and failed miserably at helping her spell and pronounce it (one more time: zwetschgendatschi - ts-vetch-kin-dah-chee), we talked about the crust and how what I used to top the tart. I gave her my card and that I've written about this, and posted a link to the recipe.

When she asked if I sold what I baked, and if the blog was about that, I had to shake my head, and tell her it's more about my process of becoming a better baker than it is about recipes. And I don't sell my baking. This brought another smile to her face and she thanked me for sharing the idea of the tart with her. And I have to thank her for giving me an amazing morning!

Currently listening to:  Venemy - New Life (Part 2) (Feat. Notelle)



  1. Aww...writes the surprise-encounter woman with the gray hair from this morning's market. The pleasure was all mine! I came home and ate one right away--sweet, smooth, lovely. I'm more a cook than a baker, so I turned my attention to a split pea/kielbasa soup for the weekend guests from Chicago to enjoy, but I just may screw up my courage to try the however-you-pronounce-it tart all the same. Thanks for the lovely encounter...

    1. You're welcome! If you decide to dive in and make the tart (ts-vetch-kin-dah-chee – I love the Germans!), feel free to drop me a line at the address on the card. I'm happy to supply moral support and baking advice should you need it.

      I'm not one for peas (much to my wife's chagrin) but your soup sounds marvelous!

    2. This was incredible! Rave reviews from the audience. Have you tried it with other fruit, I wonder?

    3. Very, very happy to hear this! Congrats! I'd possibly try it with peaches, if I was going to be non-traditional about it, but since my whole aim with my attempts at this is to recreate what the dessert I fell in love with in Munich thirty-one years ago, I plan on sticking with plums. :)

    4. Now I've made it twice. A total keeper. Yeah, I concur about the plums. Just want to keep making it through the winter. Again, many thanks. Hope to run into you again at the Farmer's.

    5. Excellent! I've made it a couple of times since then, too (and did four mini-tart versions to share with friends at diner dinner last Saturday). I'll be at the market today, to see if there are any more plums left, and to try to nab some seckel pears (which will be the subject of an upcoming entry. Hope to see you there, too!

  2. Yes, please share your pear whatever recipe...

    1. We'll see what happens! I've got two big batches of seckels and at least two different ideas to try out. :)