Old Bakery: Zwetschgendatschi.
by a tale
Whenever I (Philine) hear someone say “Zwetschgendatschi” I instantly think of my grandmother. Of her standing in the small kitchen of her beautiful house, with all the ingredients generously scattered on all surfaces. A pot of coffee and one of black tea in preparation. In fact I have never ever in my life eaten Zwetschgendatschi that had been prepared by someone other than my grandmother. She serves it with a smooth dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream.
And my family has got always some grandmotherly Zwetschgendatschi stored in the freezer.
ZWETSCHGENDATSCHI OR DAMSON YEAST CAKE.
flour, plain – 375 g
milk, lukewarm – 90 ml
butter – 40 g
sugar, caster – 40 g
yeast – 15 g
egg – 1
damsons – 2 kg
sugar with cinnamon – 3-4 tablespoons
Before you start make sure you only use ingredients at room temperature.
Preparing the starter: Sieve the flour in a large bowl, form a hollow in the middle and crumble the yeast in. Add some lukewarm milk and a tablespoon sugar and dissolve the yeast. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Now, add more milk, remaining sugar, liquid but cool butter and egg. Mix with a wooden spoon then turn the dough out onto a generously floured board. Knead the dough lightly for five minutes or so. You feel when it is ready and it should not stick to the bowl anymore.
Once the dough feels elastic and ‘alive’ then put it into a floured bowl, cover with a clean cloth, then put it somewhere warm to rise. It will take approximately an hour to double in size. Once it has, then punch it down again, knocking some of the air out. Use a rolling pin to form a square and put it on a baking tray. Cover the dough once more and return it to a warm place to rest.
Set the oven at 220˚C/Gas 7.
Wash and core the damsons. Cover the dough completely. Scatter some butter flakes on top along with some cinnamon sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes till well-risen, golden brown and crisp on top. Leave to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar. Cut into thick wedges and eat whilst it is still warm. It will not keep for more than a few hours.
This time I didn’t scatter it with streusel, for sometimes they feel to heavy.
But if you’d like here is my personal recipe for streusel.
flour, wheat – 200 g
cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
sugar, caster – 150 g
butter, melted – 150 g
Sieve the flour in a bowl alongside the cinnamon and sugar. Melt the butter in a small pan and slowly drizzle over the flour. Stir in the butter constantly by using a fork. When done put the bowl in the fridge and let cool for more then one hour. Then stir through again and scatter over the damsons.
The cooling time is the most important thing, because this will make the streusel crispy, flaky and perfect.