Short-Crust Plum Kuchen



½ tsp. salt

1/3 c. ice water, plus an additional sprinkle or two if needed

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1½ c. plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ c. (1 stick) plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and refrigerated


10 medium-large Italian prune plums, stemmed, pitted and cut in half

1/3 c. granulated sugar

¾ tsp. ground cinnamon



Stir water and salt together in a cup until salt is dissolved; refrigerate.

Put flour in a large bowl, or bowl of food processor. Evenly scatter chilled butter pieces over flour and either cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips, or pulse in a food processor.

Evenly pour reserved cold water/salt mixture over flour/butter mixture and stir together with a fork, or pulse in the food processor, until dough starts to come together. Sprinkle on a drop or two more of water, if needed. Do not overprocess; plenty of butter bits should still be visible in the dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured countertop and gather it together to make a smooth ball.

Set ball of dough in the center of large piece of plastic wrap. Bring the wrap loosely over dough and seal. Press down on dough to create a flat, ¼-inch thick disc. Put dough in refrigerator for at least one hour and as long as two days.

To make kuchen:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Unwrap dough and set it onto a lightly floured counter. Dust top of dough lightly with flour and, with a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle approximately 10 by 14 inches. Trim edges with a knife to make them even. Sprinkle rolling pin with flour and loosely drape dough over pin. Lift it onto prepared pan. Set pan in freezer for five minutes. Remove from freezer and, using your fingertips, crimp edges of dough along the perimeter of the dough to form a decorative lip.

Evenly space five rows of four plum halves, cut side up, on prepared dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a cup and sprinkle evenly over kuchen.

Place kuchen in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan front to back halfway through, until pastry is golden brown.

Carefully slide kuchen with parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Make 12-14 servings.