A Famous Plum Torte

For several years I have subscribed to the New York Times Cooking website. Every day I wake up to an email packed full of recipes. Last week, the NYT sent me their All Time Most Requested Recipe – Marian Burro’s Plum Torte. The recipe first appeared in 1983 and the NYT reprints it every September. This popular recipe uses just a handful of ingredients, takes under 30 minutes to make, requires no special gadgets, and there are few pots, pans, and dishes to wash. I love that this recipe meets my criteria for simplicity. It’s the perfect “un-recipe”.

After my look-see, I couldn’t wait to make it. But wait! I didn’t have any plums, and since I live in a rural area, couldn’t figure out how to get any. Oh-oh, a conundrum. But I read the reader’s comments and saw that some switched out the plums for almost any seasonal fruit: berries, apricots, apples, nectarines, peaches, pears, and cranberries and some used canned fruit too. They also experimented with extracts, spices, and herbs: vanilla and almond, nutmeg, cardamom, and rosemary. They played with flours, adding almond, gluten free, and whole wheat. Some added cornmeal. They switched up the pans, using almost any oven-safe dish that is 8, 9, or 10 inches in diameter. Use this recipe as a base and add additional flavors. I sprinkled candied ginger on mine just a few minutes before I pulled it out of the oven.

Later that day I was out and about on foot and stopped to chat with Tony and Carla Hornbrook of Fossil. Suddenly I noticed that I was standing next to a beautiful tree laden with plump emerald and crimson apples. Tempted, I asked if I could try one. What incredible taste sensations exploded in my mouth! Their sweet tartness and crisp texture would make a delicious apple torte. Inspired, I asked if I could take a few. I did and on my way home, picked up some blueberries. I flew into the kitchen and after whirling around a few times, popped the apple blueberry torte into the oven.

Marian Burros Plum Torte

¾ to 1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
24 halves pitted purple plums
Lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs and beat well. Spoon the batter into an 8” – 10” springform pan. Place the plums skin side up. Sprinkle with lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Bake for about one hour at 350⁰.

I didn’t peel the apples, forgot to sift the flour, and used salted butter. We ate it warm with ice cream. This recipe will certainly become a favorite and maybe someday, it will be your favorite too. Play with it and have fun!