A week ago or so I was thumbing through my wonderful New York Times Essential Cookbook and noticed the enticing information that a particular recipe was the most requested recipe in their entire archive. Does that not intrigue you?! It certainly did me and I was seized with the ambition to give that recipe a spin as soon as possible. And then I read "it's nearly a perfect recipe" - better yet. Finally, the story about the woman who made 24 tortes, stored them in a friend's freezer (and had to pay the friend 2 tortes for the privilege). The friend went away for two weeks, left her mother with her children and came back to find that fully half of the tortes were gone. Wow! good enough to eat a full dozen in two weeks! What possibilities..... what could be so amazing that it would make a recipe the most requested and most often published? The only way to know was to make it. So the 'bear went over the mountain' - and it was well worth the easy walk. It is a simple recipe with few ingredients. Probably all you need to buy are plums. I bought some and went to work. The verdict? It was simply....absolutely delicious. I get it now.
Purple Plum Torte
(from The New York Times Essential Cookbook)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch sea salt
1 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
12 purple plums*
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Heat the oven to 350 F. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.
Cream the butter with the sugar until light in color. Add the dry ingredients and then the eggs.
Spoon the batter into an ungreased 9" springform pan. Cover the top of the batter with the plum halves, skin side up. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Bake until the cake is golden and the plums are bubbly - 45-50 minutes. Cool on a rack, then unmold.
* Purple plums are not to be found this time of year so I used the nice big plump black plums - super yummy! I only used 6 plums. Apparently other fruit can be substituted (apples and cranberries being one suggestion, or blueberries) but the plums were so fantastic I think I will stick with plums.
The torte is not only delicious but very pretty when cut. The rich colors of the plums shine like jewels nestled in the dough, or maybe stained-glass....something lovely anyway.