Sonja’s Plum Kuchen Recipe

Butterfly your plum harvest for the best release of sweet juices in this European Plum Kuchen Recipe.

| October 2012

  • A Householder's Guide to the Universe
    “A Householder’s Guide to the Universe” by Harriet Fasenfest is a skilled and funny analysis of urban homesteading that includes practical gardening tips, food-preservation techniques, personal stories and reflection.
    Cover Courtesy Tin House Books
  • Plum Harvest
    Stagger layers of plums in this Plum Kuchen Recipe to release the juices.
    Photo By Fotolia/HandmadePictures

  • A Householder's Guide to the Universe
  • Plum Harvest

Looking for an urban homesteading calendar of the basics for home and beyond? Look no further than Harriet Fasenfest’s A Householder’s Guide to the Universe (Tin House Books, 2010). This poetic guide provides the street-smarts needed to shop, garden, run a household and preserve and cook food according to the season. Follow Fasenfest into her home, her garden and her kitchen to discover the concrete tools every homesteader needs for sustainable change, all organized in an easy-to-use calendar. The following excerpt on European plum kuchen is taken from her August chapter under, “The Kitchen.” 

More Pickling Recipes from A Householder’s Guide to the Universe: 

Pickled Plums Recipe With Red Wine
Spicy Crock Pickles Recipe 

Sonja’s Plum Kuchen Recipe

I grew up eating this cake (Kuchen in German) made with a type of European plum, which, it turns out, grows wild all over Portland. Lucky us. But even if you don’t find them growing on the street, these plums have become ubiquitous in most regions of the United States and are often available at local markets. If you can’t find plums or you just don’t like them, this dough will stand up to many of the season’s fresh fruits. It serves as the base for a very simple open-face tart that just can’t go wrong. The trick here is to follow my mother’s instructions. In deference to the oral tradition, I will give it to you in her words.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Lightly grease a 9-by-11-inch pan (“not too much because the dough has nice butter”).

Kuchen Dough

2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4–1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (1 stick cut into small chunks)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla



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