Yeast Plum Squares


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Preparation info

  • Makes 1 large cake,

    12 to 15

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

  • About

Every good Austrian baker has two recipes for plum squares on file—one with yeast, and one without. This yeast version gilds the lily with a streusel topping. Dark purple Italian plums (often called prune plums) are best because they don’t give off as much juice as other varieties (the juice can make the dough soggy). for a version without yeast.



  • ounces (¾ cube) fresh compressed yeast or teaspoons ( envelopes) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup milk (heated to 105° to 115°F if using dry yeast)
  • ½ cup unbleached flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar


  • ½ cup milk
  • cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • cups unbleached flour, as needed
  • pounds (about 20) Italian plums, cut in half lengthwise and pitted


  • cup unbleached flour
  • cup sugar
  • cup (½ stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, chilled
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for brushing


  1. To make the sponge: Crumble the yeast over the milk in a medium bowl. Let stand for 3 minutes. Add the flour and sugar and whisk until smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until bubbly and doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  2. To make the dough: Mix the sponge, milk, sugar, rum, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer. Stir in the melted butter and the egg. Attach to the machine and fit with the paddle blade. On low speed, add enough of the flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Gather the dough into a ball and return to the bowl. Change to the dough hook. Knead the dough on medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl and turn to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch down the dough. Butter a 17 X 12 X 1-inch pan. Stretch and pat the dough into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes. If the dough shrinks, pull it back into the pan’s corners. Top the dough with rows of the plums, skin sides down. Cover again with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until the dough looks puffy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F.
  6. To make the streusel: Mix the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, blend the ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel over the plums.
  7. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Brush the crust with the melted butter. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature.

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