Making The New York Times’s plum torte is an annual rite of passage for us (and countless others) every September, when the newspaper republishes their most-popular recipe. Over the years we’ve tinkered with the original to fit various sizes of Field Skillets and to stretch further into autumn, as apples and pears replace late-summer plums and other stone fruit.

This version, scaled to match out No.6 Skillet, feeds four people, but can be doubled to accommodate a No.8 Skillet.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Recipe: Skillet Apple (or Pear) Torte

Yield: 4 servings



Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a No.6 Field Skillet.


Peel and core the apples, then cut into ¼-inch slices. In a No.8 (or larger) Field Skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter and warm over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the foaming has subsided. Add the apples and stir to coat in the butter. Add 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have started to soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes. Pour the contents of the skillet into a bowl and set aside.


In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and the granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and egg and beat until well combined.


Scrape the batter into the buttered No.6 Field Skillet and scatter the apple slices evenly on top. Sprinkle the top with the remaining turbinado sugar.


Bake the torte for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the torte cool in the skillet to room temperature.

Seasoning Rating: Better

Baking in a well-buttered cast iron skillet will always improve your pan’s seasoning.

Tip: clean the skillet you use to prepare the apple mixture while the torte bakes; excess sugar residue becomes more difficult to clean the longer it sits.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.