A cross between a pecan pie and a macaroon, with the addition of apples, this might seem to be the quintessential Southern coastal dessert. And for generations, the families of Charleston, South Carolina, proudly thought this torte was their own, brought on the boat with the first French Huguenots who fled to Charleston in the 17th century for religious freedom, right?
Wrong... It was centuries later that a South Carolina food writer and historian, John Martin Taylor, sought out the woman who placed the first Huguenot Torte recipe in the venerable Charleston Receipts cookbook. And who first shared the recipe with the other ladies at the St. Philips Episcopal Tearoom and who baked this cake for the Huguenot Tavern in Charleston.
The recipe, divulged its creator Evelyn Anderson Florance, didn’t date back to the Huguenots. It was a dessert she’d enjoyed on vacation and couldn’t wait to get home and try out in her own kitchen. It was most likely an Ozark Pudding, what Mrs. S. R. Dull shared as Apple Torte in her 1928 book, Southern Cooking. And what Bess Truman shared in the 1948 Congressional Club Cook Book. Whether made in Charleston, the Ozarks, or any city on the map, enjoy. —Anne Byrn
6 to 8
Butter and flour for prepping the pan
plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
medium tart apple, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pan aside.
Place the pecans and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (or finely chop the pecans by hand, then combine with the sugar). Pulse 3 or 4 times so that the pecans are finely minced and nearly ground. Set aside.
Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and whisk by hand or beat with an electric mixer on high speed until they double in volume. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and gradually beat in 3⁄4 cup sugar until the eggs are thick and pale yellow in color. Scatter the pecans over the top of the eggs. Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt, and sprinkle this over the pecans. Add the chopped apple. Fold the ingredients together lightly with a rubber spatula, and turn the batter into the prepared pan.
Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the torte is golden and just pulls away from the sides of the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Unfasten the collar of the pan, and remove. Slice the torte and serve with the whipped cream.