There’s by no means been such a humble recipe with a lot gravitas because the Purple Plum Torte, a young cake dotted with sunken delicate candy Italian plums. First revealed in The New York Instances in 1983, the recipe, which got here from Lois Levine and was written about by Marian Burros, turned so wildly standard amongst Instances readers that the paper revealed it yearly for a number of years working, one thing they’d by no means performed earlier than or since. After I began engaged on the primary version of The Important New York Instances Cookbook in 2006, I surveyed Instances readers for his or her favourite recipes, and the plum torte received by a landslide.
What’s its secret? What has enabled it to carry up for many years, unscathed by meals writers who like to iterate and tweak and rework classics? As I wrote in my guide:
“I’ve thought quite a bit about why this torte struck such a chord with folks: the reply, I believe, is that it’s a virtually good recipe. There are solely eight elements, all of which, aside from the plums, you most likely have already got in your kitchen. There are simply 4 steps, most of that are one sentence lengthy. You want no particular tools, only a bowl, a wood spoon, and a pan. The batter is like pancake batter, which most everyone seems to be comfy making. And baked plums are candy and tart, making the flavour extra complicated and memorable than a hard-hitting candy dessert.”
We initially revealed Marian’s recipe in 2013, and annually our neighborhood members add to the feedback to share the methods they’ve tailored it, swapping out Italian plums for peaches, cherries, and blueberries, including brandy, making it gluten-free. It’s nearly not possible to mess up—which can also be why it’s such a permanent fan favourite.
It’s not a stretch to say that Marian’s plum torte performed a component within the founding of Food52. When Merrill Stubbs and I got down to begin our firm, the plum torte and recipes
in its league (Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter, Barbara Kafka’s high-heat roast hen) had been high of thoughts. They shared the DNA of nice house cooking—ingenuity and effectivity with thrilling outcomes. Proficient house cooks, who knew find out how to create these sorts of recipes, had been plentiful and the web gave us a straightforward method to attain them. A spot the place house cooks of every kind might share their recipes, be celebrated, be taught from one another, and get all the pieces they wanted for his or her kitchens, made a lot sense.
And right here all of us are, nonetheless collectively, nonetheless baking the plum torte!
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Why do you suppose Marian’s plum torte stays so standard in any case these years? Inform us within the feedback under!
Earlier than beginning Food52 with Merrill, I used to be a meals author and editor on the New York Instances. I’ve written a number of books, together with “Cooking for Mr. Latte” and “The Important New York Instances Cookbook.” I performed myself in “Julie & Julia” — hope you did not blink, or you will have missed the scene! I reside in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.