Can I just say . . . OMG! Talk about fantastic. Bursting with flavor. From one spectrum to the other – the sweet from the sugar sprinkled on top that gives it crunch – to the plums themselves which are a bit on the tart side.
The day I baked this I had plums on hand – the first I’ve seen of the season. I’d bought them 3-4 days before and knew I needed to use them asap. I had strawberries just past their peak and had decided to try a new recipe for strawberry buttermilk ice cream. I’ll be posting about that recipe too. And Dave had purchased a flat of peaches at Costco, and they were all (12 of them) RIPE! So I started working in the kitchen. The ice cream was first. While it was churning, I started on a peach chutney which I’m going to serve soon with a pork dinner. I’ll post that one too. Thirdly, I whipped up the plum torte.
You may remember, this is the recipe that has received the most raves by readers of The New York Times, and the most requested recipe as well. Now I see why. And it’s interesting – there’s nothing unusual in the cake. Nothing at all. It’s an easy batter to make. There’s nothing unusual about the plum preparation – in fact there’s nothing to it – you slice them in half, remove the pits and plop them into the springform pan, skin side up, on top of the batter. I will mention – my plums were really large, and I only used 6; the recipe calls for 12. The top is sprinkled with a copious amount of cinnamon and a jot of sugar and into the oven it goes. SO easy. The picture shows it just before I put it in the oven.
Since then I’ve made it numerous times – always to raves – and recently when I couldn’t find plums, I made it with fresh apricots (photo at right). All I’ll say is: the plums are better, but apricots were okay too – but they needed more sugar. I’d suggest if you make it with apricots, when you slice it to serve, take a small bite of both apricot and cake, and if it’s too tart, sprinkle more sugar on top of the cake.
MasterCook 5+ import file
What I liked: absolutely every single thing – the crunch, the sweet, the tart, and the texture. Yumminess in every single bite. And I did mention, it’s EASY!
What I didn’t like: nothing, nothing, nothing!
Purple Plum Torte
Recipe By: The Essential New York Times Cookbook, by Amanda Hesser
Serving Size: 8
NOTES: In the cookbook are several comments from long-time readers who suggested using apples or frozen cranberries. Someone else used mango, peaches, adds 1/2 tsp of vanilla and the grated rind of a small lemon to the batter. Yet another person added a teaspoon of almond extract to the cake batter. Someone else wrote that if you have more plums and want to use them, stand the plum halves on their sides and put them in a spoke pattern on the batter.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup sugar — plus 1 T. or more, depending on the tartness of the plums
8 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
2 large eggs
12 whole plums — purple variety, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice — or more or less, depending on the tartness of the plums
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1. Heat oven to 350°. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
2. Cream 1 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) until light in color. Add the dry ingredients and then the eggs.
3. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Cover the top of the batter with the plum halves, skin side up. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the lemon juice, adjusting to the tartness of the fruit. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
4. Bake until the cake is golden and the plums are bubbly, 50-60 minutes [Mine takes 60 minutes to be completely cooked in the center]. Cool on a rack, then unmold. [Optional: serve with almond-flavored whipped cream.]
Per Serving: 331 Calories; 14g Fat (35.6% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 51g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 84mg Cholesterol; 97mg Sodium.