From The Elegant But Easy Cookbook by Marian Fox Burros and Lois Levine
(The original recipe was titled “Fruit Torte” and was baked in a 9” springform pan.
Baked in an 8” cast iron skillet results in a pudgier, taller cake. I’ve swapped out the traditional Italian prune plums for a mix of purple plums, and replaced the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat and some finely ground almonds. The ladies Burros/Levine preferred a full cup of sugar in their recipe; I think ½ cup of sugar is sweet enough. I prefer cardamom to cinnamon, but feel free to make the cake your own.)
Cake fills an 8” cast iron skillet
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup finely ground almonds
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz. plums, rinsed, halved, pits removed, each half sliced in eighths
½ teaspoon cardamom combined with 1 tablespoon sugar
generous squeeze of lemon juice (1 or 2 teaspoons, depending on the sweetness of the plums)
In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and ground almonds. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl. (I like to use a large mixing bowl and a hand-held electric mixer.) Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the lemon zest, almond and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour/almond mixture, beating until well combined.
In a medium bowl, place the plums slices and toss with the cardamom/sugar mixture and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Scrape the batter into a lightly buttered/floured 8” cast iron skillet. Cover the batter with the sugared plum slices; the original recipe asks you to place the plums skin side up on top of the batter. As the torte bakes, the batter snuggles up around the fruit. I like to fan the plum slices over the batter; this boasts a little more plum on top. Either way, the cake bakes up beautifully.
Place the skillet on the middle rack of the pre-heated 350 degree F oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake tests clean with a skewer or small paring knife. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or yogurt with a drizzle of honey. Wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic wrap. The cake lasts for up to 3 days at room temperature.
(from Molly O’Neill and Chez Panisse)
Serves 6 to 8
For the berries-
4½ cups wild blueberries, rinsed, stems removed, patted dry on paper towels
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
For the dough-
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ tablespoons sugar
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into ½-inch pieces
¾ cup heavy cream, plus additional for serving, if desired
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the berries in a medium bowl, toss with the sugar and flour; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add the cream and mix lightly, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and you have a soft dough. Gather the dough together and pat it into a circle about 8” in diameter and about ½” thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out eight 2½” circles.
Place the blueberries in a 1½ quart baking dish or a pie plate measuring 9½ inches across x 2 inches deep. Arrange the circles of dough over the top of the berries. Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven until the topping is golden and the juices bubble thickly around it, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool slightly. Serve warm with cream to pour on top, if desired. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.