It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon. Paul’s at his “fun job” manning the tasting bar at Total Wine, making scores of new friends and revisiting with his old fans who troupe into the store just to share a few laughs and wine stories. He manages to introduce them to new wines, old vines, and they walk out with an expanded perspective on how to educate and enhance their wine-tasting palette, not to mention a few bottles of a shared experience.

I love my Sundays and the time it affords me to read, write, cook or just do nothing. It’s the “do nothing” part that appeals to me lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt so miserable these past few weeks, fighting a virus and spending my days and nights coughing, sneezing, hacking and sniffling. Enough about me.

I’ve discovered a new link on the internet, and it’s brought me many new recipes. The New York Times:  cooking.nytimes.com

I’ve been toting around one specific recipe: Original Plum Torte, for weeks, waiting for the black plums to come into season here in Florida. At last!  Today, as I scoured the aisles of my favorite Greenacres Farmer’s Market, I found them.

This afternoon was spent making the Original Plum Torte, originally written by Marian Burros and repeated yearly as a favorite in the Times. It’s an easy recipe and I just made a few little changes. Paul doesn’t like cinnamon, so I left it out, but have included it in the written recipe, in case you want to use this spice. I also left out the lemon juice since the plums were deliciously sweet and I didn’t want to interfere with their succulence.

Enjoy!  I know we will!

By Marian Burros

Mise en Place:
What You Need:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
10-12 purple or black plums, halved and pitted
Demerara or white sugar
Lemon Juice
Sweetex or 1 tablespoon of soft butter for springform

Utensils and Tools:
Measuring cups
Bowls for ingredients
Stand mixer
Rubber spatula
8,9 or 10-inch springform pan
Baking tray
Cooling Rack



Sugar. Butter.
Cream the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until it’s well-blended.

Flour. Baking Powder. Salt. Eggs.
Add to the bowl and continue mixing until all are incorporated.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and continue to mix another minute.

Sweetex or Soft Butter.
Rub the bottom and sides of the springform liberally with the sweetex or butter, making sure the bottom edges are well-covered.

Spoon the batter into the springform.

Place the plum halves, skin side up, into the batter. You may need to cut the halves into quarters to fit the entire surface.

Demerara/White Sugar.
Sprinkle the demerara or white sugar on top of the plums and batter.
Sprinkle lemon juice and cinnamon for the topping, if using.

Place the springform onto the baking tray and slip into the heated oven.

Cook for at least 1 hour, adding time if the top is not golden.

Remove. Let sit for 5 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and remove the torte from the springform. Let it completely cool.

Serve with ice cream, custard or whipped cream.

To freeze: double wrap the torte in foil. Place it in a plastic bag and seal. To serve, let it defrost, then reheat it briefly at 300F.

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