A soured cream dough with a plummy filling of German Pflaumenmus (plum butter) enrobed in a crackly cinnamon-sugar coating. They are – to be honest – a pain to make but really, really nice to eat.
By your third or fourth biscuit the whole egg washing & sugar coating will be a total mess, but the messier it gets the crunchier the outside will be – I speak from experience. By now, you have uttered a few well chosen words and swear you will never make them again but a short while later you will be rewarded by the exquisite taste and will be making plans for a second batch (next week). You have been warned, they are slightly addictive.
Pflaumenmus or plum butter is quite a big thing in Germany and a speciality, albeit of a firmer consistency, the English Damson cheese is a relative. Firm, oval shaped and rather sour Zwetschgen (prune plums, Quetche, Prune de Damas) give the dark brown pulpy butter its sour plum taste not the plumper, round shaped plum. You might be familiar with apple or pear butter which would be a fine substitute if that is easier for you to get hold of, though German stores (our German butcher in Mountain View, CA had the most surprising range of homesickness-relieving treats) or World markets in the US sometimes stock plum butter. Of course, you can make some yourself and this would be an appropriate use of your surplus and while I am lyrically waxing on here, there are recipes and descriptions out there from other German aficionados here (recipe) and in Luisa Weiss’ book, to name a few.
Sauerrahmplätzchen – crème fraîche & plum butter cookies
makes about 50 cookies; adapted from the Christmas 2013 issue of Essen & Trinken
250g (2 cups) plain flour
175g (1½ sticks) cold butter, cut in small cubes
75g (2.5 oz) crème fraîche, soured cream or Schmand (minimum 30% fat)
a pinch of salt
225g (8 oz) of plum butter (German: Pflaumenmus), substitute damson jam or apple butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
75g (2.5 oz) sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix flour, butter, crème fraîche and salt, knead into a pale and smooth dough, wrap it into cling film and keep in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400° F) or 180°C fan oven and prepare the filling and coating station on the side: stir plum jam; whisk the egg yolk with milk in a small bowl and in another bowl mix sugar and cinnamon. Flour a board and roll out the cooled dough about 3mm (1/5 inch) thick. Cut out little circles with a 5cm (3½ inches) round fluted cutter, fill these like ravioli with a scant ½ teaspoon of plum butter (or less), fold one half over the other and seal the seams by pressing them with the tines of a floured fork. Dip in the egg wash or brush with it, and roll the little pockets in the cinnamon-sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with paper and bake for about 12-14 minutes on a lower shelf. Leave to cool if you are strong enough otherwise mind the hot filling.