What a good girl am I. Yes, that is a plum pun. Plum funny, isn’t it?
I’ve been itching to make this plum torte from the Essential New York Times Cookbook since last October, when I saw Amanda Hesser whip it up in no time flat on the Today Show. Actually, it was that recipe and appearance (I do heart the Today Show) that got me interested in the NYT cookbook in the first place. But by Thanksgiving time when I finally got around to baking the torte, ne’er was a plum in sight. Humph. I put the recipe on the old backburner and planned to revisit it when the plums decided to show their delicious purple faces again.
Alas! This weekend while browsing the produce section of the grocery store while visiting my family back in Warrensburg, I came across a bin filled with plums, just begging to be torte-ified. So we packed them up, took them home (yes, we paid for them first) and the next afternoon got to baking. I know I’ve talked easy peasy in relation to desserts before, but this one takes the cake, er, torte. There are nine total ingredients, mixed together in few simple steps, then baked in a no-frills kind of way. Still, despite the ease in preparation, there’s something special about the way it all comes together. The torte is sweet, but the plums and sprinkling of lemon juice add just enough tartness to keep things interesting. And the whole presentation is pretty great, too, in a rustic, homemade dessert kind of way. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the warm torte, and I guarantee you’ll be a happy camper.
Purple Plum Torte
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Hesser, p. 763)
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• large pinch of salt
• ¾ to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it), plus 1 tablespoon, more or less, depending on the tartness of the fruit
• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 2 large eggs
• 12 purple plums, halved and pitted (or however many you can fit on the batter in the pan)
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more or less, depending on the tartness of the plums
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (The cookbook says 1 tablespoon, though other versions of the recipe that I’ve found say 1 teaspoon. I recommend adjusting to suit your own cinnamon love factor.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
Cream ¾ to 1 cup sugar and the butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer or standing mixer until light in color. Add the dry ingredients and then the eggs.
Spoon the batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Cover the top of the batter with the plum havles, skin side up. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the lemon juice. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Bake until the cake is golden and the plums are bubbly, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on rack, then unmold.
This is the second plum torte I’ve made since Saturday, and I have just enough plums left for a third. Apparently the torte freezes really well, so it’s a great bake-ahead-and-have-it-in-the-old-cooking-arsenal-when-guests-unexpectedly-show-up kind of dessert. Everyone should have one of those lying around, right?
What’s your favorite go-to dessert? Any plum recipes you can’t wait to break out again?