Plum Tart
Zwetschgenkuchen
This tart is one of the most traditional and loved in the Black Forest.  We always prepare it with Zwetschge plums - a firm, dark-purple-skinned variety with golden yellow flesh. They have a long growing season, which extends from the spring through the fall, but those available in late September, at the end of the seasonm are most highly prized.  At that time, when the air becomes crisp and cool, home cooks and restaurant chefs alike gladly bake many of these sweet and pretty tarts.
This recipe is straightforward and delicious.  The only difficulty you might encounter is finding Zwetschge plums, also known as Quetsch plums.  If this is the case, I suggest you use a firm plum like Santa Rosa, or, if you find the plums available to you to be quite juicy, simply increase the amount of bread or cake crumbs to soak up some of the juice.
Folks in the Black Forest commonly order this tart with a warming bowl of soup.  It is delicious as a snack or dessert and pairs wonderfully with a dollop of whipped cream.
1. Preheat the oven to 375*F and butter an 11 x 17-inch baking sheet.
2. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pate sucree into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick and about 1 1/2 inches longer and wider than the baking sheet.  Place the pastry on the baking sheet, gently pressing into the sides, fold over the edges, and crimp decoratively.
3. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the pastry and arrange the plum quarters in rows, standing upright, on top.
4. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the plums.  Sprinkle with almonds and bake until the pastry is golden brown and the plums are softened and caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Set on a rack to cool before serving.
Makes one 11 x 17-inch tart
1 pound Pate Sucree (page 315)
2 cups dry bread or cake crumbs
3 pounds ripe plumbs, pitted and quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup slivered almonds