Original Plum Torte, made with fresh plums, soon to be ripe and ready from
north central Wisconsin trees, is a favorite. Plums are rich in Vitamins A
and C, and low in calories, one deep purple plum is 36 calories, a cup of
plum halves, 102. Cook book authors Marian Burros and Lois Levine included
this famous and the most requested recipe ever published by the New York
Times, in From The Elegant But Easy Cookbook. This Plum Torte recipe, first
published in the Times in 1981, was reprinted every year in the paper’s
cooking columns, 1983-1995, by reader demand. It is from a now fragile and
yellowed clipping of the Times’s Original Plum Torte recipe that last Sunday
afternoon, I made this favorite.
1 stick unsalted butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons (brown) sugar
1 cup unbleached flower - sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
24 plum halves ( I used purple plums)
1 teaspoon cinnamon - more to individual taste
Juice of a lemon
Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven, preheated to 350 degrees.
Cream the butter and the 3/4 cup of sugar. Add the flour, baking powder,
eggs, and salt; beating well. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 9 or 10-
inch spring form pan. Cover the top with the plums, skin sides up. Sprinkle
the 2 Tablespoons sugar (I used brown sugar) and cinnamon over the top,
adding the juice on a lemon. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick
inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve
simply or with some vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy. The recipe is simple and reliable.
I leave for Isle Royale National Park next week for a few days of island wilderness living in the isolation of Lake Superior. With an address of Michigan, the park is actually closer to Canada and Minnesota and is completely uninhabited except for moose, wolves, snowshoe hares and the few park rangers and employees of the one lodge that exists. Yellowstone Park sees more visitors in one day than Isle Royale sees in one year. The remoteness of the place makes getting there an adventure. The being there is just icing on the cake. In preparation for any trip I try to read as much as I can about the place I’m going to. There is not a whole lot of literature on Isle Royale but I’ve been able to find a few interesting books on the history and environment that will enhance my stay there. In my quest I always try to find a novel that takes place in the locale I’m visiting. So for this trip, that means two mysteries in Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series.
Anna is U.S. Park ranger (as is Barr) and her job takes her to different parks all over the U.S. In the course of her daily work keeping the parks safe for tourists and doing routine maintenance, Anna seems to get entangled in various murders, heists, and other crimes. While I’m not normally a mystery reader, Barr’s “Anna” series is attractive to me for a couple of reasons. Her books are character driven, meaning that the characters propel the story forward just as much as the plot. And set against the beauty, danger and sometimes horrific natural cruelty of our nation’s parks these mysteries evoke such a sense of place that one feels compelled to get thee to the latest park as soon as you’re done reading the book. The two books that take place on Isle Royale are A Superior Death (1994) and Winter Study (2008). I had read A Superior Death years ago because of my interest in Lake Superior and Isle Royale. The descriptions Barr offered up of life on the island during the summer months convinced me I had to go one day. The mystery part of the plot, while interesting, took second fiddle in my mind as I grew fascinated with the island and with Anna herself, a complex woman whose life was, like most lives, messy in parts. As of two days ago, I had not read Winter Study yet. As a matter of fact, I had completely overlooked Winter Study when it was published two years ago. How this happened I cannot explain. I was thrilled to discover it when looking for reading material on Isle Royale and last night opened its cover eagerly and began to read.
On Wednesday, August 18th, merchants will present the Wau-King Art Tour, a showcase of local artists who will bring their work to about 20 shops and galleries in Waupaca and King. These stores will stay open on Wednesday the 18th until 8:00 p.m. This is one of the programs planned by the newly organized Retailers Roundtable to celebrate Mayor Brian Smith’s proclamation before the City Council in July, that August would be Arts Appreciation Month in Waupaca.
It takes a village to nurture the arts, and this is an excellent opportunity for all residents to sample, enjoy, and encourage Waupaca area artists. Here’s a sampling of what you can see and experience as you travel from shop to shop in Waupaca:
The other night I was enjoying the good company of 13 other women all sitting around a large, makeshift table having a discussion that never suffered a pregnant pause even though some of us barely knew each other and others of us were meeting for the first time.
What would inspire such a gathering? A book of course. Part of a longstanding book club, we were meeting to discuss Paper Towns by John Green, the latest book chosen for this club (and a featured book for the Waupaca Area Library’s upcoming book festival) which meets monthly to discuss young adult literature.