The Famous History Behind The New York Times Plum Torte And More

by John Griffith

Fall is upon us! Sadly, that means that it’s time to part ways with many of our favorite summer fruits for the time being. However, now is the perfect time to enjoy some juicy fall fruits, such as plums. So, what can you do with plums? Today we are going to show you one of the best plum treat recipes. It’s also one of the most luxurious torte with plum recipes in the world. Perfect for baking at the end of summer and the beginning of fall. This recipe will quickly become one of your favorites. But you may be wondering – why is this recipe so infamous? Well, let’s see some of the fun history behind this legendary New York Times plum torte and the recipe for it.

The most luxurious torte with plums

new york times plum torte up close plum torte

@The New York Times

The History Behind The New York Times Plum Torte

The year 1983 is quite the peculiar year for The New York Times or more so for its culinary department. In early September, the then-editor Marian Burros publishes in the newspaper for the very first time a simple plum torte recipe, which was given to her by Lois Levine (co-author of the cookbook “Elegant but Easy”).

The original “Elegant but Easy” cookbook by Marian Burros and Lois Levine 

the elegant but easy cookbook

It was published in the lower left corner of the newspaper on the page with the discount coupons. Attached was a short note with a reminder that Italian plums were in season soon and that you can buy them at a discount price.

It’s plum season, so make sure to get some for yourself!

plums whole and halved on a marble counte

The publishing department didn’t really expect anything from the recipe, least of all for it to become the biggest hit of the issue. But after it’s publishing, the readers flooded the department with letters about how much they enjoyed it. So, Marian Burros decides to print the recipe once again the next year during the same time. This situation then repeats itself again and again up until the year 1989 in which the editors decided it’s time to stop this madness.

The torte became the biggest hit of the issue

coley cooks new york times plum torte recipe

@Coley Cooks

Burros just didn’t understand why people couldn’t just cut out the recipe and keep it, rather than asking every year when they will print the famous plum torte recipe. In her column Marian Burros warns the readers that this truly will be the last year that they ever print the recipe and pleads to them to cut it out and keep it. However, the fans were adamant and kept pushing for a repost.

The 1989 print of the plum torte recipe

new york times plum recipe

@The New York Times

After many years of trying to fight the public, Marian eventually gave up and started publishing the recipe again. However, every time they published it afterwards, it came with a new twist each time: with other types of fruit, without eggs, without butter, a change in sugar ratio and so on.

Marian Burros is a famous cookbook author and columnist for the New York Times

mariam burros holding two utensils

Recipe For The New Your Times Plum Torte

This plum torte is a classic and with good reason. It’s super easy to make, and it’s one of the yummiest treats of the season. Oh, and it also takes around an hour. What more could you want from a recipe? Thankfully nowadays, it’s much easier to find the original recipe, as you can find it online and not have to wait for the next fall issue of The New York Times.

This plum torte is a classic and with good reason

purple plums with moisture on them

Plum Torte Recipe


  • 1 or 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 24 Plums, halves pitted
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Then add in the flour, baking soda, eggs, pinch of salt and mix well.
  3. Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8 to 10 inches. Then place the halved plums skin side up on the top of the batter. Sprinkle some sugar and lemon juice, depending on how sweet the fruit itself actually is. The sprinkle some cinnamon.
  4. Bake the torte for around an hour, but make sure to check on it from time to time, as it may be ready faster. Then remove and cool. Serve with plain, with whipped cream or ice cream.

This was the famous history behind the legendary New York Times plum torte, as well as the recipe. We hope you found this article interesting. Now you can try out this yummy treat and carry on this piece of history with you. Oh, and if you prefer something with peaches try out our deep-dish, healthy peach pancake.

The perfect treat to let go off summer 

purple plums on a towel


John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.