Saturday, August 11, 2012

Plum Torte

"Nine times out of ten, when you extend your arms to someone, they will step in, because basically they need precisely what you need."

-Leo Buscaglia

I've had a hard time of it in the last week. I've struggled with chronic migraines and neck pain for many years. I don't like to dwell on it, or talk about it much. But man, sometimes it just kicks my butt. I feel much better now, but it put me out of commission for about 4 days. My doggies, Lucien and Coco, have been patient, laying with me in bed, silently wishing me well, waiting for me to feel better. Unlike their usual  2 year old personalities, who run around our house from room to room at top speed, and around the couches, and over the couches, like they are their personal obstacle course.

The plums that started it all

Before the recent incident, I purchased some fabulous plums at Paradise Organics. Those were the best plums I think I've ever had.

I remembered I had read about a purple plum torte, that was the most requested recipe and the most published recipe from the New York Times. In fact published 12 times. What? I thought. The most requested recipe? That must be some torte.

Read about it here with the Essential New York Times Cookbook from Amy Tobin.

Read about it at The Splendid Table.

The batter is thick

In the above referenced articles, the reasons are as follows:

1. Old fashioned, homey flavor.
2. Ease and speed of preparation.
3. 8 Simple ingredients that you probably already have at home. (Besides the plums.)

I made this twice. Once before the headache. Days past and I hadn't taken a good picture of it, and it got eaten, so I needed to make another one. Darn. That's the one with the halved plums, above. I made it again yesterday with sliced plums, they were the larger variety black plums. I actually liked it better with the sliced plums because it seemed like you got more fruit per bite. If you halve them, I suggest not leaving so much space between each one like I did in the one shown above.

The above torte is the after picture from the halved plum torte. Both times I made this, the fruit sank. I thought that's what was supposed to happen. But in one of the articles above, her plums look nice and pretty sitting on top! I was like, what? It's such a simple recipe I don't know what could have gone wrong. No matter, still yummy, still a great dessert. Mine just not as pretty.

This was my second time making it, and my favorite.

The torte is sweet and a bit tart from the plums (especially if you use purple plums, the small variety the recipe calls for.) The top is crisp from the sugar, the cake element gets more moist as it sits. I think it was better the next day after baking. There is a bit of cinnamon on top I was skeptical about. Now I love it. The original recipe calls for one teaspoon. I used about half, both times and was pleased with the results. Another addition I made the second time was to add vanilla extract. I've noted the changes in the recipe, below.

This is the "after" picture of the sliced plum version.

This recipe is indeed easy and simple. Really it only takes about 10 or 15 minutes to put together. You could really use any fruit, or combination of fruits. Blueberries and nectarines sound good, peaches and raspberries sound mouth watering. I think I need to make this again!

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Plum Torte

adapted by the one from Marian Burros, Lois Levine
From The New Elegant But Easy Cookbook, by Marian Burros and Lois Levine.

As I mentioned, feel free to use whatever fruit you have on hand. Just use enough to cover the top of the batter. Peaches, apricots, even berries, or a combination are great choices.


1 cup (150 g.) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Large pinch of salt

1 cup (200 g.) sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) (113 g.) unsalted butter or salted (if salted just use a smaller pinch of salt), softened

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

12 small purple plums, halved and pitted - Or large black plums sliced, about 4 or 5, enough slices to cover the batter generously. Or whatever fruit you'd like.

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more or less, depending on the tartness of the plums - I didn't use the lemon juice both times. I think it's optional

2 Tablespoons sugar for sprinkling on top

1/2 -1 teaspoon ground cinnamon - I used 1/2 tsp. Use to your taste. If you are using a fruit that cinnamon doesn't sound good with, then omit.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream 1 cup sugar and the butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer (or in a mixer) until light in color. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix, then add the dry ingredients and blend until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into a greased 9-inch springform pan. Cover the top of the batter with the plum halves, skin side up. Or with whatever sliced fruit you are using. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoons of sugar and the lemon juice (if using), adjusting to the tartness of the fruit. Sprinkle with the cinnamon (if using.)
Bake until the cake is golden and the plums are bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack, then unmold.


Winnie said...

Plum is my favorite summer-fruit to bake with :) Yours looks like a great tart

Treat and Trick said...

I always love simple yet delicious recipe and yours is one of them!

Ali @ said...

Oh how beautiful! I adore that last picture, it looks so delicious. :)

I wanted to take a second to invite you over to my blog and to submit to my link party if you'd like. Have a great week!

Jane said...

Oh my goodness! This looks so good! Thanks for sharing this recipe on my Melt in Your Mouth Monday Blog Hop! :)

Sarah said...

I MUST try this. Thanks for sharing.

Jamielyn@iheartnaptime said...

Mmmm that looks good! I love plums! I'll have to try this. Thanks for sharing! XO

Unknown said...

Am interested in making this but eggless.
What can I substitute the eggs for
Pls help

The Alchemist said...

Hi Purvi,

I think the best option is to google for egg substitutes. I've never used an egg replacement in a cake recipe. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. Happy Baking!