Sunday, 23 July 2017

Plum Torte

I love a recipe that comes with a story. It just makes things a little more interesting. Like last year, when I came across a New York Times' recipe for a plum torte. This is no ordinary cake, this is NYT's most requested and most loved recipe, in the history of the newspaper. 

In 1983, NYT food columnist, Marian Burros first published this recipe. It was a simple recipe that appeared without any fanfare, accompanying an article on the arrival of plums in the market. It was so popular with the readers that the recipe was printed every September from 1983 to 1987, to coincide with the plum season. In 1989, the newspaper tweaked the amount of sugar in the recipe and announced that this would be the last year they would be printing this recipe. To help matters along, the recipe that year, came with a broken line border to encourage people to cut it out and store it away.

But, the backlash was swift and at times, brutal. Readers couldn't understand why the newspaper was messing with their annual late Summer tradition that for some was as important as the 'Declaration of Independence' on the back page of the Fourth of July issue. Well, with such extreme emotions being evoked by a recipe, the newspaper had no choice but to  dutifully publish the recipe of their Plum Torte, every September. 

With such a back story, how could I not bake this cake. Last year, when they published it in September, the plums had long left the market. So, this year, am getting in on the game early. 


They couldn't be a simpler cake to bake. The ingredients are all pantry staples and the instructions are fuss free. It all comes together beautifully. As the batter rises, the plums sink into it, going all soft and jammy. As always, the slight tartness of the fruit, a lovely counter to a sweet cake. 

It's not as if I haven't made a plum cake before but none have been as simple and fuss-free as this one. You can play around with any soft fruit. Cherries, peaches or if your markets are bursting with berries, those would be perfect too. It is perfect for tea, breakfast or even that picnic in the park. This is a recipe you want to keep with you at all time, simply changing the fruit as the season changes. If there is one cake you make this season, let it be this one. 

Many years later when Marian Burros was asked about the recipe's enduring appeal, she said, "I love that something so simple took off. Of course, I think that’s why it did." I couldn't agree more.


Plum Torte

Recipe courtesy : New York Times

Serves 8.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 10-12 plums, pitted and halved
  • Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line a 8 or 9-inch spring-form tin.
  • Toss the halved plums in some sugar, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon as per your taste and the sweetness of the fruit.
  • Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl, until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and beat well.
  • Then, add the flour, baking powder, salt and mix well.
  • Spoon the batter into a spring-form pan of 8 or 9 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice.
  • Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream.
*I halved the above recipe and used a 6-inch spring-form tin and 4-5 plums. Baking time was approximately 45 minutes for half the recipe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...