In Season Now: Italian Prune Plums (Quetsche)

Every year we return to these luscious little plums, waiting eagerly for them to be back in season for their all-too-brief time. But if you find these at the market, and bite into one, you might be disappointed. No — these plums aren't really any better for eating out of hand. They're for baking — and how good they are! Prune plums are known as quetsche in France and other parts of Europe. I saw them at markets in Paris, Lyon, and Switzerland a couple weeks ago when I was there. They also go by the name of Italian prune plums, or Empress plums, or simply prune plums. They are small and shaped like eggs, and their flesh is usually yellow.

The thing about these plums, though, is that when they are baked they turn all jammy and gooey — a delicious texture, and much more suited to baking than eating plums. They also are wonderful for steeping in liquor or vinegar. They are in season (at least here in the Midwest) from about September to October.

Do you look for prune plums this time of year? What do you do with them? Here are a few suggestions from our archives:

Prune Plum Crostata
End of Summer Prune Plum Pie
Plum Crumble
In Season: Italian Prune Plums

(Image: Faith Durand)

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Shopping, Autumn, Fruit

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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