Deconstructed Bavarian Zwetschendatschi – or a plum and vanilla crumble

I love trying out new recipes and inventing dishes, but more often than not, they aren’t quite as adventurous as they could be. So when my friend and I decided to do a “modern Bavarian” themed dinner party, I realised this was my chance. The other participants were taking care of starters and mains, so my challenge was dessert!

And so, after a lot of asking around, I decided I would take the classic Bavarian dessert, Zwetschgendatschi (a plum cake), and make a deconstructed version of it. I was inspired by this recipe by Wilde Orchard, but made a few changes, namely adding Semmelbrösel for a Bavarian flair, and adjusting some of the quantities to my liking. What makes this a standout dish is the fresh vanilla (try not to substitute for essence, if you can), the gorgeously sweet plums, and the crunchy crumble. In theory, this recipe is enough for 8 servings, but watch out, as that means no room for seconds!

Toasty, crunchy hazelnuts

Ingredients ∣ Makes 8 servings

For the plums

  • 8 plums, halved with stone removed
  • 20g butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

For the crumble

  • 200 g plain or all purpose flour
  • 60g Semmelbrösel (breadcrumbs)
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 170g butter, cubed
  • 150g hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped (I dry roasted them for 5-10 minutes in a frying pan)

For the vanilla sauce

  • 1/2 pod vanilla, seeds scraped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 35 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cornflour
  • 300 ml milk


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the plum halves into a roasting tin – cut side up.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the scraped vanilla seeds. Add the honey and sugar and combine.
  4. Pour the honey mixture evenly over the plums and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  5. Mix all the crumble ingredients together. Fill the mixture into a baking tin and bake for around 20 minutes, checking and stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn. Let cool.
  6. For the vanilla sauce, whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a small bowl.
  7. In a saucepan, let the milk and vanilla slowly come to a boil (I used the vanilla seeds but also threw the pod into the milk for extra flavour). Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Remove the vanilla pod, if you added it.
  8. Pour the milk over the egg mixture, slowly, and steadily whisking, so that the egg doesn’t scramble.
  9. Pour the entire mixture back in the pan (after you have cleaned it and gotten rid of any milk bits). Whisk gently on medium heat until the sauce has thickened.
  10. Arrange in glasses / glass jars / bowls – I started with a layer of sauce, then crumble, then a plum half and a bit of its juices, a bit more sauce, and then garnished with a sprig of mint.

Zum Wohl!