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heirloom recipes: let them eat cake 
Erika Molnar
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Fritzi Erlenmeyer was a crazy old German physicist who went to the same Quaker meeting as my family. I’m sure she had a very interesting story to tell about leaving Germany and becoming a Quaker, but I wasn’t ever old enough to hear it. Daylight Savings Time was lost on Fritzi. Every year, without fail, she’d come to meeting an hour early when everyone else set their clocks back and an hour late when everyone set their clocks ahead. But she baked one heck of a plum cake.

Fritzi’s Plum Cake
3 parts flour (use 1 ½ cups for a 16" tart pan)
2 parts butter (yes, that’s right.)
1 part sugar
1 large egg

1 Make the dough as you would any pastry dough, making sure to keep all ingredients cold. Cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until there are some pea-sized lumps and many crumbs. Try not to let it get greasy.
2 Bind the mixture with the egg and transfer it to the greased tart dish.
3 Press the dough into the dish and refrigerate overnight. (Note: I use either waxed paper or saran wrap to keep the dough from sticking to my hands when I press it into the dish… Make sure you press it up along the edges to keep the fruit contained while you cook the cake)

plum filling
2 ½ pounds plums, washed, halved and pitted
¾ c. sugar
cinnamon sugar
2 T. bread crumbs
additional butter and sugar
½ to ¾ c. almond strips

1 Mix the prepared plums with ¾ c. sugar and refrigerate overnight. (Note: I really like to use small, slightly tart, red plums for this cake. They bake beautifully, turning a garnet color that looks great with the almonds. They’re not in season as I’m writing this piece, so I settled for what was available.)
2 Next day: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3 Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture over the cold dough in the tart pan.
4 Spread over it 2 T. of bread crumbs.
5 Cover the dough completely and generously with sugared plums.
6 Place dots of butter over the top of the plums, spread more sugar over them, and top it all off with a handful of almond strips.
7 Bake for approximately 45 minutes.


Erika Molnar lives in Berkeley, California, where she works in a fabric store, plays with clay, sews like a rabid chicken, and hangs out with her most excellent nerd of a husband. You can reach her at <ebaumga@excite.com>.

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