8/26/12 Northwest Jewish Kitchens – Italian Plum Shortbread

Italian Plum Shortbread by Carol Starin

I always make this yummy shortbread torte for Rosh Hashanah – that’s because Italian plums are plentiful in the fall. One cold winter day I was riding the elevator at the Summit on First Hill. In the elevator with me was Frieda Sondland – and she was carrying the very same plum cake to one of her neighbors. I turned to her and asked, ‘How did you manage to find Italian plums in the middle of the winter?’ She told me that she buys the plums in the fall, washes them, cuts them in half, takes out the pits, and freezes them  for use all year round. Now why didn’t I think of those years ago? One generation tells another.”

Serves 8 to 10

2 cups butter

¾ cup sugar, plus more for dipping the plums

4 cups flour

6 tablespoons rum

2 egg yolks

½ teaspoon salt

30 to 40 ripe Italian plums

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 450°. Grease a 9×13-inch glass dish for a more torte-like dessert, or  a 10×15- dish for a thinner, tart-like crust.

For the crust, combine the butter, sugar, flour, rum, egg yolks, and salt until it becomes a thick dough. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish.

Slice the plums in half and remove the pits. Dip the cut sides of plums in sugar, then press them into the dough, cut-side up, in neat rows.

Bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove and cool. When the torte has cooled, dust it with powdered sugar.


This can also be made in a 12 or 13-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

Starting in the middle of the dough, overlap the dipped-in-sugar plums in a  spiral- fashion, all the way to the edge.


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