Jeûne genevois and vegan plum pie

plums-693537_1920Tomorrow is the Jeûne genevois, a public holiday in the Swiss canton of Geneva where I have lived for the past 19 years. A jeûne means a dietary fast; thus, Jeûne genevois means Genevan fast.

Historically, the occasion dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, where ceremonies were held in Europe to remember those who suffered during famines, plagues and wars.

Although there is some ambiguity about the origins of the Jeûne Genevois, it’s generally believed that the Geneva-wide fast began in the beginning of October 1567 as a symbol of friendship with Protestants undergoing persecution in nearby Lyon, France.

Five years later, 24 August 1572, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and the slaughter of several thousand Huguenots triggered a massive fast in Geneva the following 3 September, which could explain why the original fast was shifted back by almost a month.

Later, Jeûne genevois became a patriotic holiday, celebrating Geneva’s protestantism and proud identity in Switzerland, as Wikipedia states. The event is always held on the Thursday following the first Sunday in September.

And why plum pie? Traditionally, on Jeûne genevois, plum pie was the single meal of the day to break the fast. Nowadays, most Genevans don’t fast anymore, however, they enjoy the plum pie and appreciate the beginning of the harvest season. It’s a day of Thanksgiving and an occasion to soak up the last rays of summer sun.

Swiss grocery stores are currently full of fresh oval-shaped plums and today, I made a plum pie. Being health conscious and having one daughter who is vegan, I wanted to make a very special vegan plum pie. I did my research and couldn’t come up with a better version than this one.

When I took the picture of the plum pie above, I had just taken it out of the oven and the plums were still bubbling in the apple custard. For the crust, the mix of white whole wheat flour, white wine and olive oil gives it a rustic flavour and texture, which is perfect for this time of the year!

The recipe for the pie crust and custard comes from Catherine Katz. If you don’t know her, you have to check out her cooking site at Cuisinicity.

Here’s Catherine’s pie recipe. She made hers with peaches instead of plums, but you can use any fruit that you like. To view the recipe page, click on the image below. Oh, and when you’re on the page, scroll down to the song, get into the zone and crank up the music! 🙂


Orchard Peach Pie (Vegan) by Catherine Katz (serves 10)


Pie crust

  • 1¾ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup confectioner sugar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup white wine


  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • 4 organic ripe peaches (with skin), rinsed & sliced ( I used oval plums with skin)
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon


  • Preheat oven 400F (200C)

Pie crust

  • Place all the crust ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until a soft ball forms (30 seconds). The dough will be sticky, that’s OK–sprinkle it with a little flour (no more than 1 Tbsp flour), enough to gather it in your hands and make it into a ball.
  • Place it on a piece of parchment paper and using a rolling pin, gently roll into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.
  • Transfer onto an 11″ tart pan with removable bottom (see photo at the bottom of Catherine’s recipe page) and gently press the dough against the rim all around to make a nice border.


  • Mix applesauce, almond meal and vanilla extract and stir well with a spoon until thoroughly mixed.


  • Spread the custard evenly over the dough.
  • Spread the sliced peaches (or plums) in one layer so that they look pretty.
  • Sprinkle with the granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the peaches (or plums) are juicy and tender and the crust is golden.

Bon appétit!

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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