zondag 16 september 2007

The disappearing plum torte

On Fine Cooking's message board 'cooks talk', the ladies were talking about this plum torte they had tried. Some had tried several recipes and compared them, among them Dorie Greenspan's 'dimply plum cake' and the following recipe from the NYT that was somewhat similar:

Plum Torte (from the NYT - Burros & Levine)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, PLUS 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 pinch salt
24 halves Italian plums (prune or purple), pitted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cream the butter and the 3/4 c. sugar. Add the flour, baking powder, eggs, and salt and beat to mix well. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 9 or 10-inch springform pan. Cover the top with the plums, skin sides down. Mix the cinnamon with the 2 T. sugar and sprinkle over the top.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired.
To serve, let the torte return to room temperature and reheat at 300 until warm. if desired. Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.

Now judging on different results, I thought this torte would fit our likes very well, and seeing I had plums in the fridge that needed to be used up ASAP, I gave it a try.
I think it took me no more than 15 minutes before I had prepared the batter, cut the plums in half and greased the pan (as some reported some problems with sticking) and put the whole thing together. It was dead easy. While putting the butter back in the fridge, I noticed this container with streusel topping I had prepared for a fruit crisp that never saw the light of day the week before, so I decided I'd just sprinkle some of that on as well. And so I did, bravely venturing from the recipe as written, ha!
After exactly 50 mintes, the torte looked done, toothpick came out clean and the house smelled fantastic. To be honest, this is not a dessert you make when you want to have people 'ooh' and 'aah' over your great looking desserts, because mine looked rather errrr, rustic ;o). The topping seemed okay, even if it had weighed down the cake batter a bit, but still, everything was fine.

I couldn't get my husband to wait until the next day (when almost any cake is better tasting in my experience). It was still warm when he ate the first piece. After that, he had it for breakfast the next day, as a snack at noon, and after a quick visit from mom and BIL, the thing had miraculously disappeared before I had even had a chance to think of taking a picture.
Well, that can only mean I'll have to make it again I guess. No arm-twisting needed ;o). It truly was delicious. Sweet cake, tangy plum, and a little extra added crunch from the topping, what else can you ask for?

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