Monday, July 19, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums

On Saturday Half a Yard invited me to share some photos I took at the Trenton Farmer's Market. Over here on the Hungry Hippo, I'm cooking up the goods. And these my friend are not the confections of Nutcracker and Night Before Christmas fame; these are adorable sweet, juicy little plums. Small children may not dream of them, I can't say as I saw any fairies dance, but I certainly had visions of a plummy baked good. I ended up with this plum torte (again, what is with people? This had a cakey base. How is this a torte?...Hmm, googling reveals we should probably blame the Italians - anything round is a torta. Fine. I still say it's more of a coffee cake).

The deep golden brown color? Oh yes, that would be cinnamon and sugar sprinkled all over it. And the plums deepen in color to the beautiful purpley red. Tasty and pretty, what more could you want?

modified from Splendid Table's Original Plum Torte recipe

Most of 1 pint of sugar plums (I strongly suspect you could use other fruit for this if you liked)
1 stick of unsalted butter (4 oz)
3/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 C flour, sifted
1 t baking powder
1 pinch salt

to sprinkle on top:
1 T white sugar
1 T brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Cream together the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs, mixing well between each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Grease and flour a 9" springform pan. Pour in the dough and use a spatula to get it as even as you can. Then start on the plums. Sugar plums are VERY hard to pit neatly. I gave up on using halves. I ended up getting two messy halves of plum and then cutting those in half two times (so what's that? eighths?) making the cute little triangles you see in the picture. Arrange them over the top of the cake. If you use regular plums, slices or halves will do nicely. Mix together the white sugar, tablespoon of brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle liberally on top. This is what gives it that nice coffee-cakey flavor. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350. It's done when a knife comes out clean.

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