Foolproof plum tart

Plum tart ready for the oven

Some three weeks ago our local Food Lovers Market had a special on plums, something to the tune of 3kg for R20. The going rate at the time for plums from one of the other major retailers was R24.99 for 750g. Bargain right. And since I had an insatiable craving for the Victoria plum, I immediately purchased three bags. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags full.

Naturally, many of the plums were still quite tart and would benefit from ripening at home. As the days progressed, they became sweeter and sweeter. The kids faces were often smeared with the plum juice and the ever present sticky hands and fingers. A success in my books.

Many a recipe was also tried during our “plum harvest” – including a family favourite – cinnamon caramelised plums with vanilla ice cream. Simple yet, effective. Watch out for the post on that. I even made ostrich kebabs with grilled plums. The pairing of the gamey ostrich and the plums worked perfectly.

On my return from a recent trip to Tanzania, I noticed the last batch of plums were reaching full maturity – super sweet with a light tart finish. I had to do something with them before they went off.

Plum torte (tart) came to mind. I had never made one before and I have mentioned that baking wasn’t really my forte. That said, I was looking forward for that bite of sweet & tarte torte. Searching through pinterest, I noticed that the vast majority of pins reference one specific recipe – Marian Burros’s recipe for Plum Torte.

As it happens, this recipe has been around for ages and published annually by the New York Times from 1982 until 1989. It had to be fool proof right?

So here’s my, slightly adapted version of that recipe.

Fool proof plum tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: slices

Fool proof plum tart

Serve as is or with anything from whipped cream, ice cream or even custard.


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 6 ripe plums, halved and pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, a few drops of fresh lemon juice and ground cinnamon for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a stand mixer.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, eggs and vanilla essence and beat well.
  4. Line a spring form tin with baking paper and grease the paper and sides of the tin.
  5. Spread the batter in the tin and place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter.
  6. Sprinkle sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon over the top.
  7. Bake for an hour or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool.

Plum tart out of the oven
Plum tart out of the oven
Plum tart sliced
Plum tart sliced

The dish came out perfectly. It may look different from the stylised pictures of the New York Times or elsewhere on the internet, but the proof is literally in the pudding. The entire family tucked in and my three year old son had more than one helping. Definitely one to keep in our family cookbook.

Leave a Reply