Monday’s are for memories – Pflaumen

Those tiny little blue plums. Shaped like an egg but smaller. Green inside. Not that great but plentiful when you have a tree in your backyard, which we did. Two actually.

I first knew the plums from my grandparents’ yard. And I think my aunt had a tree too. It seemed like a cultural requirement of being German. But we always called them Italian plums.

Or pflaumen.

A hand is in the foreground placing plum halves in a cake pan filled with white dough.

Once when my brothers were young they decided to run away. Maybe it was just one of them, maybe both, I don’t remember. They packed a duffel bag with food for their journey and stashed it under their wardrobe until an opportune moment to sneak away. (One of the weird things about living in an old farmhouse was that there were no closets so we had dressers and wardrobes to hold our clothes.)

I don’t know whether they changed their mind or simply forgot to follow through but they never did run away and their bag of food stayed where it was. Until my mom came in the room about a week later and stared complaining about the smell. She searched the room and found the bag. She opened it to reveal that it was filled with food.

But only one type of food.

Plums. Piles of rotting plums.

Grandma made plum jam and the little bits of plum skin would roll up in tiny coils that we thought looked like slugs. Even when she filtered the skins out we still called it slug jam.

Crumb topping being spread over plums on a cake by hand. A red bowl is in the background.

Oma made Plflaumenstreuselkuchen frequently when we visited. I preferred the taste of plain streuselkuchen, all butter and sugar and flour. But now that I bake it I understand how satisfying it is to start with firm, greenish, ugly plums and plain white dough and to end up with bright pink fruit bubbling through the crumble topping.

Baked plum crumb cake.

In English it’s Plum Crumb Cake.


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