Huguenot Torte

For a long time, it was taken for granted that this glorious specialty of the South Carolina Lowcountry originated with the persecuted French Protestants who fled to the area in the late seventeenth century. Then some killjoy discovered that the dessert is neither French nor old and was probably named after Charleston’s Huguenot Tavern, where, during the 1940s, it was adapted from a Mississippi River delta recipe and served to great acclaim. No matter, for whatever its origins and age, the fluffy dessert (which is not really a torte) is one of the most delicious creations in the Southern repertory—and one of the easiest to make. I like to serve it at Thanksgiving, for a nice change.

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup apples, cored, peeled, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sweet sherry

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together till frothy, add to the dry mixture, and stir till well blended. Gently fold the pecans and apples into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake till a cake tester or knife blade inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the torte cool completely.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream and sherry together with an electric mixer till stiff peaks form, spread the cream mixture evenly over the top of the torte, and serve in squares.

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