Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Popular Plum Torte

The New York Times have been giving us all sorts of excellent recipes for the past forty years. Many have made them, bringing gourmet and colorful cooking to home audiences. One of their most famous is plum torte. This mouth watering dessert is back again, delighting a whole new generation of home bakers and gourmands.

Margaux Laskey, author of Motherlode Blog,  wrote about this classic fall dessert in yesterday's New York Times Food section. The recipe originally was published by the famed food writer Marian Burros in 1983. It wasn't her own , though, belonging to her childhood friend Lois Levine. It first appeared in a self published cookbook , "Elegant but Easy" in 1960.The name was first Fruit Torte and it had a fortuitous note "This deserves a ten star rating on our list." As with most tortes, it was easily adaptable. There was a "New Age" version published eight years later, in 1991. The lush ingredients of butter and eggs were replaced by the healthier bananas and egg substitutes. There was also an apple cranberry version in 1994. Food contributor Melissa Clark had her own take on it for Rosh Hashana , subbing in whole wheat flour for white. Ms. Burros, now retired from The Times, still makes the torte, In the summer she uses blueberries and peaches. She doesn't use the summer plums, instead waiting for the smaller , more intensely flavored Italian plums that come in early autumn. Home chefs can use their own spin, and even tweak the recipe to put their thumbprint on it.

The plum torte is a an easy recipe. It's no wonder that a recent Google search yielded nearly 80,000 search results with links to popular food bloggers who laud its' easiness and versatility. It's basically taking 3/4 to a cup of sugar, then adding flour, baking powder salt and eggs. The batter is then spooned into a spring form pan of either eight, nine or ten inches. Then it's splitting and pitting  a dozen Italian plums to place them  skin side up on top of the batter. sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice.Home bakers can add more sugar if they feel the plums aren't sweet enough (it pays to have a taster plum for this). Another dusting , this time ,of cinnamon, is sprinkled on the top. It's usually about a teaspoon but a pinch more is always welcomed. Baking time is one full hour. Let cool before serving with whipped cream.The Times Food site suggests variations  such as subbing in late season peaches and nectarines or apples and pears as the weather gets cooler. Try spicing it with any kind of spice from tame nutmeg to exotic cardamom  or  zingy rosemary. For a healthier spin  try spelt or whole wheat. flour instead of  white.The torte  can also be served with creme fraiche instead of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.. You can also bake it in a regular pan along with doubling the recipe for holiday gifts..

Nothing beats a classic. This include Marian Burros famed plum torte recipe. It' still delicious and the recipe still holds up for a new generation of home bakers ready to make it

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