I learned about the Hugenot Torte in an article on Food52 about historic American cakes. It is derived from a recipe for Ozark Pudding shared via a social club fundraiser by the wives of U.S. congressmen and adapted for southern kitchens.
The recipe is so simple with only a handful of ingredients, many of which are usually in the pantry and excluding any dairy (which we don’t keep stocked in the refrigerator and usually have to buy more than we need). Other than preparing the apple and pecans, there is really nothing to the directions either, meaning the dessert comes together fairly quickly. Since it can also be served at any temperature and requires no decorating skills (in fact, it’s naturally an ugly dessert), there is no need to wait once the bake is finished.
I used parts two recipes (Food52 and Serious Eats) along with some personal touches to create this recipe. I had saved the Food52 recipe in my drafts since I read the article, but I read through the comments before I started baking and noticed that there was a conflict between the ingredients and the directions (baking soda vs. baking powder). So, I started searching the internet for other recipes (turns out, it’s baking powder) which had different quantities of ingredients.
The comments on Food52 also indicated that there were some structural issues with the recipe, and I found that most of the other recipes had greater amounts of sugar, which would provide more structure. So, I opted for more sugar (comments on the New York Times did complain of it being too sweet, however).
I really enjoyed this Hugenot Torte, which is essentially a crustless apple pecan pie. I didn’t find this recipe overly sweet, but, admittedly, I have a rather large sweet tooth. The crust and edges are extremely addicting, and I found myself “trimming” the rough spots, you know *cough* to take better looking pictures. It seems like its best eaten the day its made, as the addictive crust became soggy over the next few days (although this also could have been compounded decorative powdered sugar), but it was still satisfactory.
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup (32 g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (67 g) light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 medium tart apple, peeled and finely chopped (~1 cup)
1 cup unsweetened whipped cream
- Place rack in center of the oven, and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan. Set aside.
- Toast the pecans on a small baking sheet for 8-10 minutes. Let cool, then chop into small pieces.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat eggs on high speed until doubled in volume.
- Reduce speed to medium, then gradually beat sugars until thick and pale yellow.
- Add the vanilla, then mix to combine.
- Scatter pecans over top the eggs, then sprinkle dry ingredients over the pecans followed by the chopped apple. Gently fold ingredients together before pouring into prepared pan.
- Bake 45 minutes, or until cake is golden, just pulling away from the sides, and top is crusty.
- Let cake cool for 10-20 minutes before unfastening the springform pan and removing the cake (run a knife along the edge).
- Decorate with powdered sugar as desired, slice, and serve with whipped cream.