Huguenot Torte History:
This is Charleston,
South Carolina's most famous dessert - almost all restaurants in the area serve this
wonderfully delicious apple and nut torte. The recipe is neither
Huguenot or a torte. it is kind of like a pecan pie without a crust.
It is generally thought that this modern dessert was adapted from the classic Ozark
Pudding (which is more of a cake than a pudding) that originated in northwest Arkansas and
southwest Missouri. The Ozark Pudding was a favorite of the Huguenot community of
Charleston and was made in homes and taverns. According to culinary historian John Martin Taylor in an article in the Rock Hill Herald newspaper, by John Egerton
(author of Southern Foods), published on August 30, 1988:
torte descends from a more recent Midwestern dessert called Ozark
pudding. Huguenot torte first showed up in print in 1950 in
Charleston Receipts, a successful community cookbook in which
the torte recipe was attributed to Evelyn Anderson Florance (then
Mrs. Cornelius Huguenin).
1980s, Taylor tracked her down in a nursing home and discovered that
she had eaten Ozark pudding at a church dinner in Galveston,
Tex., in the 1930s. Around 1942, after working with the recipe to
get it the way she liked, she renamed it Huguenot torte after
Huguenot Tavern, a Charleston restaurant where she made desserts.
The tavern became known for this torte.
This pudding was given the name Huguenot
Torte to reflect the Huguenot's love of this dessert and their heritage. The name stuck in
Charleston, and it continues to be called that to this day, even though the dessert is
neither a torte nor is it of Huguenot origin.
History of Huguenots: Forty-five Huguenots, Protestant French
immigrants, arrived in the new province of Carolina on April 30, 1680, from
London. King Charles II had subsidized the voyage so that the Huguenot
people might establish an British territory with the crops and industries
that had long been French monopolies. The group included grape growers, wine
makers, brick makers, weaver, businessmen, and at least one goldsmith. They
also arrived with orders that the settlement be renamed "Charles Town."
Photo from the
Road Food web site.
Huguenot Torte Recipe:
Yields: 8 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 35 min
1/4 cup granulated
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed
1/4 cup all-purpose
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups toasted, chopped pecans, divided
1 cup peeled and chopped tart
Prepared whipped cream
To toast pecans, spread shelled, whole pecans in a shallow pan and
toast in a 275 degree F. oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until very frothy and lemon colored. Add sugar, vanilla extract,
lemon juice, flour, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt; stir until well combined. Fold in 1 cup toasted pecans and the apples.
Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is brown and crusty; remove from oven.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
To serve, scoop up into serving bowls (keeping crusty part on top) and garnish with whipped cream and chopped pecans.
Makes 8 servings.