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Serves 10

Mary Geis, of Baltimore, was looking for a recipe for a dessert her mother made many years ago that was a kind of buttery shortcake topped with plum halves. She said it was not too sweet but rather tart.

Patricia Battaglia, of Kalama, Cowlitz County, saw the request and was reminded of a recipe for Pflaumenkuchen that her neighbor, Eva Estermann, made some years ago from the plums harvested from a huge Italian plum tree in Battaglia’s backyard when she lived in Novato, Calif. She said the tree produced more plums than they could possibly use, and one year her neighbor took a couple gallons of the plums and brought back a plate of this wonderful dessert made from a recipe her mother had in Germany.

Battaglia said it isn’t really sweet but it is absolutely delicious. Feel free to substitute peaches, nectarines, apples or even a combination of fruits. Served warm from the oven with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, this makes a wonderful summer dessert.

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/8 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 cups unsifted flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

3 pounds Italian plums, pitted and quartered

Powdered sugar for dusting

½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.

3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and lemon juice and rind. Mix to combine. Then add flour, baking powder and salt. Batter will be quite stiff.

4. Using a spatula or rubber scraper, spread batter evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Pack plums closely together on top of the dough.

5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees until surface is golden brown.

6. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon (if using).

The Baltimore Sun