Monday, August 30, 2010

New York Times Plum end of summer must

Once the Italian plums are seen in the market I must make the timeless New York Times Plum Torte. It is easy and so delicious. It has been featured in the Times by Marion Burros every year since 1981. It is delicious. You can also make it with apples and cranberries, sliced peaches and blueberries, cherries, all kinds of things. There are several versions of it floating around. One I saw has the plums skin side down and one skin side up. This time I decided to bake it skin side down...
I first learned of this recipe from my dear friend Ernie who is one of the best bakers on the planet. Thanks Ernie!

Original Plum Torte
adapted from the NYTimes recipe

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
24 halves pitted Italian purple plums (prune plums)
Sugar and cinnamon for topping.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream sugar and butter in a bowl. Add flour, baking powder, salt and eggs, and beat well.
3. Spoon the batter into a buttered spring form of 8 or 9  inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, or to taste.
4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired (but first, double-wrap the tortes in foil, place in a plastic bag, and seal). Or cool to lukewarm, and serve.
5. To serve a torte that has been frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.
Yield: 8 servings.
VARIATIONS: To make an apple-cranberry torte, follow directions for plum torte but peel, seed, quarter and slice two or three large baking apples. Arrange 1/2 cup of raw cranberries over the batter and top with the apple slices. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon; squeeze 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over the apples. Sprinkle with sugar. (I find that a quick baking apple works best with this, a Macintosh is fine, and two are more than enough, you do not want to overload this torte with too much fruit)
Alternately, slice two peaches or nectarines and arrange over the batter and sprinkle a 1/2 cup of blueberries over the batter and follow with cinnamon and sugar. I often will use some Demerera sugar over the fruit for a nice little crunch.

I find that in my oven I need to bake this for an hour. Start checking in yours at 40 minutes and go from there.

It is nice to have a little stash of these in the freezer...a taste of summer on a cold winters day...

We do love it best right out of the oven after it has cooled just a little bit....A little vanilla ice cream never hurt anyone either.


  1. Wea re just now getting Sun Plums...I am thinking that these might work as nicely. Thanks!

  2. Yay Linda! Good to see a post! The torte looks totally scrummy! AND vanilla ice-cream is a must for me! :) Hope you have been well, my friend.

  3. I made one last year not half as pretty as yours~
    Thank you for sharing~

  4. Oh Linda, you TEMPTRESS you! :0) I could go for that with a cuppa right NOW.

    It looks scrumptious, and great photos, too. Our Italian plum tree barely produced any fruit this year... I blame it on the wacky weather we experienced from March through July. I'll try to hunt some down in the store.

    Thanks and 'Hi' to Ernie, too!


  5. What a beautiful cake. My grandmother used to make something very similar, a plum kuchen. I'm happy to know this freezes well. So many luscious fruits are ripe at the same time.

  6. Linda, I'm sitting here thinking I want to bake something and then I see your torte. Looks delicious.

    Darn I wish I had plums on hand.


  7. can use peaches and blueberries...or nectarines...and raspberries...that is my favorite combo...or even regular plums!
    This is so fast and easy...

  8. I love any dessert with peaches and raspberries...although it looks darn good with plums!

  9. I've made this plum torte dozens of times and it's always a crowd-pleaser. You're reminding me to make some again for the freezer.

  10. Yummmm.....this is my fav cake also. I make it quite often. :-)Nice pictures Linda.

  11. That looks gorgeous Linda. I love plum and a torte with plums surely wont hurt me at all. :)

  12. I have been baking a lot with plums lately! They are so juicy and make every cake extra moist and delicious. I will give your version a try soon with sugar plums that have hit our markets. I may even add some blueberries in the mix!

  13. That is a totally great idea to make a few and freeze them... duh..never thought of doing that. Great looking recipes... need to put plums on my Union Sq. list!

  14. Something I forgot to say is that I have those corrugated cardboard cake boards, I once went crazy and bought a lot of them.:) They work really nicely as a base for these cakes for freezing. Then you can wrap well.
    Just a thought!

  15. Linda...........great for the holidays! I saw the prune plums in the market today and I think I will make this. Thanks for sharing, beautiful as always!

  16. This looks delicious, Linda. I love a plum torte - so pretty!

  17. I keep coming back to this recipe. I have 2 good-sized plums I need to use and I'm trying to figure out how to reduce this recipe utilizing them. This looks so good... I'll figure this one out! Thanks again for posting the recipe and beautiful photos, Linda!

  18. Lori if they are large regular plums, not the Italian blue tiny plums....just slice up the plums and scatter the slices across the top of the torte.
    The is the same recipe as "The Best Summer Fruit Torte" on the board.
    You can add a 1/2 cup of berries to that. Raspberries are nice with plums.
    You will not have to cut the recipe down.

  19. Marvelous plum torte, Linda! I saw some lovely plums in the market yesterday too. You did a beautiful job and absolutely! Ice Cream on top!

  20. O, your torte looks lovely and I bet it was delicious too...

  21. I must say this is a great way to say goodbye to summer with those beautiful plums. I would love that hot, with icecream as you suggest!

  22. Thank you so much for stopping by!
    I am going to bake three of these today to give away to friends...
    I am going to do one of them with nectarines and blueberries...yummmm!

  23. Oh! What a nice torte and I sure love it served with a scoop of ice cream...yummie!

  24. Hi fellow Linda! Your recipes look so tempting! I think I will try the torte but maybe with berries instead! I see that you live in NJ. I lived there for about 10 years--both my kids were born in Summit. I will follow you because we East Coast blogging Lindas need to stick together, plus I don't want to miss your recipes! Linda

  25. This is just perfect with late summer fruit. Thanks for posting this!


  26. I have an 11" springform pan but this calls for a 9". I don't want to buy a new pan. What else would work for baking this torte? Thanks!

  27. Anon....just use a regular 9 inch or 8 inch cake pan and turn it out carefully. If you use the 8 inch watch your baking time.
    I have done that many times...

    A 9 inch springform is a really good pan to own though. Most cheesecake and other recipes requiring a springform use that size in the recipe. I do not own and 11 inch springform myself..I have an 8, a 9 , and a 10.

  28. And here I am finally saying:)