The Alsatian quetsch
Its origins are somewhat obscure. Does it come from the “prunus Germanica” or the “prunus Domestica”?
One of the two perhaps. But we really mustn’t confuse “plum” with “quetsch”. That would be to insult Alsace.
The Alsatian quetsch arrives on our market stalls around 1st September and, only then, can the baking of quetsch and cinnamon tarts begin.
Can you smell that fragrance, that characteristic perfume? We are transported back to our childhood. The fragrance of quetsch jam, a sweet, acidulated aroma, perfumes the kitchen.
But you are never allowed to climb onto a chair and dip your finger into the pots of jam!
In “Toute la gastronomie Alsacienne” by Marguerite Doerflinger and Georges Klein we can read:
“The quetsch harvest was very important and was part of the food reserve. They would be dried in great quantities to set by reserves of prunes for days when there was no meat. At the same time, quartered pears would be dried. In the evening, after the daily chores, quetsch jam would be made in great cauldrons and stirred continuously, and that cooked fruit paste without sugar, as the fruit already contains enough. This “fruit paste” was called “Latwärik” and could be kept in jars for a considerable length of time. It would considerably enrich menus and desserts.
A large amount of quetsches, particularly the last ones, already fully ripened on the tree, were preserved in hermetically sealed barrels. In winter, after Christmas, they would be distilled to make quetsch eau-de-vie…… In the late afternoon, towards teatime, fromage frais would be served on thick slices of bread. Children would add a layer of quetsch jam, an original, succulent and refreshing feast: “Bibbleleskäs mit Quetscheschlägel”