I’m in heaven. Farmers market is brimming with stone fruit at the peak of the season, and summer plums are the focus of this post.
I’ve never met a plum I didn’t like; old-fashioned Damson, silvery violet Italian & French Prune, giant ruby Elephant Heart, and my hands down favorite, Santa Rosa.
Santa Rosa plums were first cultivated in Northern California by renowned American horticulturist Luther Burbank, who is credited with developing over 800 varieties of plants in his career. He named the plum to honor the city of its birthplace, and it is considered a star among his many achievements.
Santa Rosa plums typically arrive at farmers markets in late June and last until mid-July. Their season is short, but memorably sweet, so don’t miss out on them.
They are the quintessential darling of their variety; juicy, medium size fruit with full flavored amber flesh and a tart, dark purple skin. The Santa Rosa strikes the perfect marriage of acidity and sweetness balanced with distinct floral notes.
This plum is irresistible au natural, made into jam, or baked in pies, crips, gallettes and tortes like this classic dessert from Marian Burros. Her Plum Torte recipe debuted in the New York Times in 1982, and was so beloved by readers that the paper reprinted it by popular demand for several years running.
If you can’t find Santa Rosa plums at your farmers market consider substituting pluots or plumcots instead. These popular hybrid varietals are a cross between a plum and an apricot. The Flavor King and Flavor Queen pluot are particularly tasty. Like the Santa Rosa, their intense flavor works beautifully in this recipe.
MARIAN BURROS PLUM TORTE (*originally published in the New York Times)
Printable version: MARIAN BURROS PLUM TORTE
¾ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
24 halves pitted purple plums (*note: I used 15 halves and it came out beautifully)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
- Line the base of a 9” spring form pan with baking parchment. Lightly butter the sides of the pan. Spoon the batter evenly into the pan and gently press the plum halves, skin side up, into the top of the batter.
- Blend sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the torte.
- Bake approximately 55 minutes to one hour. The torte should be golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool. Serve plain or with whipped cream.
*To freeze, double-wrap the tortes in foil, place in a plastic bag and seal. To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.