To continue the theme of classic recipes and family favorites from last week, this torte is none other than a seasonal spin on Marian Burros’s Plum Torte. I grew up knowing it as my mom’s plum cake. She never included the cinnamon or lemon in the topping. She usually made a few at a time and kept them stashed in the freezer. I had no idea it was so widely celebrated or that it held the impressive distinction of being one of the New York Times’ most popular (and most frequently published) recipes.
In addition to using rhubarb in place of plums, I’ve added some candied ginger and orange zest to the batter. I made a version with rhubarb and ginger that was also good, but I think the orange really brings the two together. This cake takes no time at all to throw together, but almost an hour to bake. I highly suggest you double the recipe and keep one in the freezer. I can personally attest to having eaten the original version, both fresh and defrosted, countless times and have never been able to tell the difference.
Sorry about the tongue twister of a recipe title today. You can call it orzo salad to make things easier. That’s what my mom calls the original version, though I now see that it was officially called Orzo and Artichoke Salad. She scanned the yellowed magazine clipping for me a few years ago when I asked for a few of her classic recipes. I think I wanted this one in anticipation of a trip to the beach. It’s great for a picnic because it gets better as it sits and the flavors blend together. I’m sure she would like me to tell you that leaving it in the fridge overnight is best.
This salad is one of the foods so firmly etched in my memory that I can practically taste it, which makes sense since I now see that it was published almost five years before I was born. It’s from the June 1984 issue of Gourmet. When I decided to write about it I didn’t realize that it was celebrating its 30th birthday this month. Talk about a classic.
This recipe reflects the slight changes I’ve made over its comparatively short life in my repertoire. There’s about half the oil and more Dijon. I skipped the egg yolk because I think the dressing tastes brighter when it’s closer to vinegrette than aioli. I also used Genoa salami instead of prosciutto, but it’s excellent with either. There’s a few other things, but I promise it’s still very much the classic I know and love.