Huguenot torte

The well-traveled dessert

Story by Carrie Hirsch + photo by Butch Hirsch

Names can be deceiving, and one of the Lowcountry’s signature desserts known as the Huguenot torte is a prime example. For starters, the Huguenots did not create the recipe and bring it to South Carolina from Europe in the late 1600s — but I bet they wished they had. And secondly, this torte, well, is not even a torte. A classic torte is typically multilayered, filled with buttercream or other fillings and topped with frosting. Dessert lore has it that the Huguenot torte came from the Midwest in the 1950s (known as “Ozark Pudding”), was served in the Huguenot Tavern in Charleston and soon became a staple dessert at church potlucks and then eventually in the downtown restaurants. 

And for the purists out there whose eyebrows rise at the idea of adding lemon zest, please understand that whenever I use fresh lemon juice, I always use the zest because it adds a pop of flavor.

Carrie Hirsch 

Huguenot Torte

Serves 8

Ingredients (torte)

2 eggs

1½ cups granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon lemon zest

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ingredients (topping)

1 tablespoon confectioners sugar for dusting

Whipped cream

Sliced strawberries

Directions [1] Heat oven to 325 degrees. Using a standing or hand mixer and a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high until frothy, about 3 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients. [2] Pour batter into a generously buttered 9” x 9” baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top thin layer of meringue sinks into the center. [3] Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar, then scoop onto serving plates – it will crumble when plated. Serve warm topped with whipped cream and strawberry slices.

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