Plum-good dessert Entertaining: Torte is tasty, and easy-to-make.

August 30, 1998|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

Last week our son Michael called to say that he and his girlfriend (the new one I had not met) would like to stop by for dinner. I was delighted that they could take time for a visit and, of course, was anxious to meet his friend. The problem was that I had only a day's notice.

I decided on grilled salmon fillets with blanched green beans, couscous and a salad.

Everyone loved the plum torte for dessert, and everyone asked for seconds. The next morning, I found my husband eyeing the torte for breakfast!

Maybe next time I'll offer this delectable creation for a last-minute brunch.

Original Plum Torte

Serves 8

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup unbleached flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

dash salt

24 halves pitted Italian (prune or purple) plums (see note)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more

1 quart vanilla ice cream, optional

Arrange rack in lower third of oven.

Cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Add flour, baking powder, eggs and salt and beat to mix well.

Spoon batter into ungreased 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

Cover top with plums, skin-sides down. Mix cinnamon with remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar and sprinkle over top.

Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 60 minutes, until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate or freeze, if desired.

To serve, let torte return to room temperature and reheat at 300 degrees until warm, if desired. Serve plain or with ice cream.

Note: If small Italian plums are unavailable, you can substitute large dark or deep red plums. Use about 6 to 7 and pit, then quarter them for this recipe. For large plums, which are not as sweet as the small Italian variety, I use 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top.

Adapted from "The New Elegant But Easy Cookbook," by Marian Burros and Lois Levine (Simon and Schuster, 1998)

Betty Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author.

Pub Date: 8/30/98

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