What's Going on Today: Morning trip to the local market, pick up dry cleaning, romp at playground on the beach.
Naptime Goals: Accounting, finish Babble column, bake Plum Torte
Tonight's Menu: Artichoke-Rosemary Pizza, Plum Torte, Glass of Albarino
Parenting Lesson of the Day: What's worse: finger paint or marker?
I've been making this Plum Torte all month and it's finally time I told you about it. At first I wasn't going to because it is so simple. So incredibly simple that it almost didn't seem unique enough to write about. But then, after searching through my cookbooks for other plum torte recipes, I realized that it's simplicity doesn't indicate laziness of the baker, it is, in fact, the true beauty of the recipe.
Generally speaking, summer fruit desserts are at their best if the baker uses a light touch. When fruits are in season their flavors are so incredibly delicious that it's almost criminal to augment them too much with batters and heat. Instead, as with this torte, it's best when the fruit's flavor is enhanced by an easy, light batter and baked only until just softened. In this recipe the light batter is dotted with so many plums that you almost can't see the actual batter. While it bakes the fruit slowly sinks into the cake, creating little wells of plum juice on top. Each bite brings a mouthful of sweet, juicy baked plum with a hint of cinnamon and soft vanilla crumb. It's just the right amount of cake to offset the intense fruit flavor, like a little cushion for the plums to fall back on.
Baking this is quite easy during my daughter's afternoon naptime. As I noted, I've made this on a weekly basis all month. When I was in Cooperstown I sliced the torte in two and took some over to Geri. This week I took some to a neighbor on a whim. I plan on making it again next week, too. As my research showed, there really are dozens more torte recipes I have on hand that I should/could try, but I think I'll stick to this one for now.
adapted from The New Elegant But Easy Cookbook by Marian Burros
1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1 t. baking powder
Pinch of Kosher salt
12 Plums, pitted and cut in half (Italian or purple plums are best)
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 9 or 10" springform pan and set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, eggs and salt and mix on low speed. Once flour is incorporated increase speed to medium and mix well.
3. Spoon the batter into the baking pan. Arrange the plum halves skin side down in the batter. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the top of the plums.
4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cake test inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from pan and serving.
Naptime Recipe Serving Ideas: When serving this the simpler the better. I like to serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or a heft dose of whipped cream.
Naptime Stopwatch: The batter takes about 10 minutes to pull together.
Naptime Reviews: My daughter loved the baked plums more than I expected. Baking them intensifies their flavor and sweetens them up which I think got her hooked.