HALLIE EPHRON: Last week I made Marian Burros's plum torte. The recipe was first published in 1983 in the New York Times, and has been published every year as a sort of fall ritual. But I'd never heard of it until a friend made it for us a year ago.
Last week I followed the recipe. The batter is basically like a cookie dough (cream
butter and sugar, add flour and eggs and baking powder...) schmered over the
bottom of a springform pan; then press (unpeeled!) sections of plum into the batter,
sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (and lemon juice), and bake.
That's it! Easy peasy. You don't even have to grease the pan.
This week I made it again using pears and raspberries and added almond extract to the batter. Spectacular. Again.
I used very ripe Anjou pears; I think Bartletts would be even better. BEST would be tiny seckle pears but there're not yet in the market. If you use seckle pears, use about 10 cut them in half (remove the seeds and stem).
Here's my adapted recipe and a picture...
Pear and raspberry torte
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1 c flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
5 large pears (not peeled) cut into thick slices(Or 10 small seckle pears, cut in half, seeded & de-stemmed)
A handful of fresh raspberries (These didn't add as much extra pizzazz as I though they would)
1 tsp almond extract (This DID add extra pizzazz... especially if you like almond macaroons which I do)
Sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon for topping
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Cream sugar and butter in a bowl; beat in flour, baking powder, salt, eggs. (I don't bother with a mixer -- can easily be beaten with a wooden spoon if the butter's soft enough.)
3. Spoon batter into the bottom of a springform pan and smooth out.
4. Place chunky pear slices SKIN SIDE UP, pressing them lightly into the batter. Press in the raspberries, too.
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to taste. Add a few squeezes of lemon if the pears need a little zip. Mine did.
4. Bake about an hour; cool.
Serve cool lukewarm with whipped cream.
Next spring, I'll try this with peaches. And apricots.