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Zwetschgenkuchen (Italian plum tart)

April 18, 2021
Photo: Daniel AllenPhoto: Daniel Allen

Rosh Hashanah isn’t just a time to eat apples and honey. It’s also a time to eat pomegranates, dates, or any new fruit of the season. For me, one of the holiday’s gastronomic highlights has always involved another new fruit: Italian plums—also known as Zwetschge in German or quetsch in French, and available in our markets for just a short time every fall. These plums are the ones that morph into prunes when dried, but they’re also terrific in a pie, turning pinkish purple when cooked.

Featured in: How To Make a Rosh Hashanah Dessert That’s Not Just Apples and Honey

Great for: Rosh Hashanah



  • 1 ¼cups all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8teaspoon salt
  • 12tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve margarine, cut into pieces
  • 1large egg yolk


  • 4tablespoons plum or other fruit jam
  • 1tablespoon brandy
  • 1 ½pounds Italian blue plums, or other plum variety
  • ½teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ¼cup sugar


Italian plum tart

  • Step 1

    To make the crust, pulse the flour, sugar, salt, and butter or margarine together in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade until crumbled. Then add the egg yolk, and pulse until the dough comes together.

  • Step 2

    Put the dough in the center of an ungreased 9- or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Dust your fingers with flour, and gently press out the dough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and bake the crust for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, and let cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

  • Step 4

    Mix the jam with the brandy in a small bowl, and spread over the crust. Pit the plums, and cut them into 4 wedges each, if using Italian plums. If using another rounder variety of plum, cut them into 8 wedges.

  • Step 5

    Starting at the outside, arrange the plums in a circle so that all the pieces overlap, creating concentric circles that wind into the center of the pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and lemon zest.

  • Step 6

    Return the tart to the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the plums are juicy. Remove the tart from the oven, sprinkle on the 1/4 cup sugar, and serve warm or at room temperature.