I'm probably the last food blogger to post about this torte, but here it is anyway. I didn't use the suggested buttery oval purple Italian plums (available in early fall) because I didn't want to wait. My market only had a choice between some huge purple plums and the somewhat smaller pluots....which look and taste like a plum, but with apricot overtones. So I brought those home.
Originally I had read something about this torte on Smitten Kitchen, the recipe being the most often published and the most requested in the Times archives. Marian Burros (who was given the recipe by Lois Levine, with whom Burros wrote Elegant but Easy) ran the recipe in the paper twelve times. When Amanda Hesser asked for recipe suggestions for The Essential New York Times Cookbook, almost 250 requests were made to include this torte.
After reading all the kudos, it's no wonder I didn't want to wait around until fall, although now that I have tasted this divine torte, I'm definitely going to make it again with the oval purple plums this fall. Not that this wasn't perfection, it was. Will it be even more ambrosial with the fall plums?
Deb mentioned it tastes even better the next day as those plums and the cake sort of meld together. It does. And what a surprise to read it freezes beautifully. Hesser said the batter resembled pancake batter, but I thought it was a bit thicker than that. You spread it in the pan rather than pour it.
Take a look at those directions! Hardly any. Easy, peasy. And you'll have all the ingredients except the plums in your pantry right now. Such a simple recipe resulting in so much deliciousness!
Purple Plum Torte
From Amanda Hesser | The Essential New York Times Cookbook | W. W. Norton & Co., 2010
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, (the latter used in topping) or more or less, depending on the tartness of your plums
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
12 purple plums, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more or less, depending on the tartness of your plums
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt, set aside.
In your mixer, cream 1 cup sugar and the butter 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 halves, skin side up. Mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon; Sprinkle the plums with the lemon juice, using enough to adjust to the tartness of the fruit and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over everything.
Bake the plum torte until the cake is golden and the plums are bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack, then unmold.