A what? Lots of years ago we became friendly with a couple and one of the guys mentioned that he was from Boston, like My Better Half. He was a distant descendant of Peter Faneuil, wealthy merchant and builder of Faneuil Hall, and a prominent French Huguenot. “What did French Huguenots eat?” “I don’t know, Boston, 1700s, baked beans? Cod?” “Come over for dinner in a couple of weeks.”
I never learned what the French Huguenots ate in Boston in the pre-Revolutionary era but I came across this recipe for a Huguenot Torte. I had never heard of it but apparently it is now very common. I make this at least once a year when the weather is cool. This is a handwritten recipe transcribed by me and annotated so I don’t know who to credit. Thank you, cookbook from circa 1993 available to me at the local library!
“2 shakes from the salt shaker”. Cousin Matthew, what does this mean? It doesn’t matter, as you’ll see.
1 1/2 cups sugar
“2 Granny Smith apples from [supermarket X] not the big ones from [supermarket Y].” Let’s call this 1 cup. Peel, core, and chop them, but not too much, they should be chunky.
“Bag of chopped pecans.” The bag is 4 oz. That’s 1 cup, and your apples should be about the same amount.
1/4 cup flour, but it’s easier to just scoop straight from the bag. 4 tbs.
A little vanilla. 1 tsp.
“Slightly less than 1 tbs. baking powder.” How drunk was I when I wrote this down?
Some butter to grease a 9 X 9 baking dish. I have this amazing circular, white, ribbed, ceramic thing that’s about this size. A housewarming gift. I use this because I serve out of it.
In a mixing bowl crack in the 2 eggs and add the salt. Using a mixer beat the eggs and salt together until the eggs are kind of fluffy/foamy. Then, a little at at a time, add the sugar and keep beating. I tried to do this once sans mixer, just with a whisk, and it didn’t work. A more experienced baker could tell me/us why.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
NOW you switch over to the whisk. Add the “2 Granny Smith apples from supermarket X” and the contents of “the bag of chopped pecans” and whisk gently. Add the flour, vanilla, and baking powder and whisk again, gently, so it mixes in.
Pour all of this into your greased baking dish and put in the oven for 45 minutes. You don’t really need to keep an eye on it but if you do you’ll notice that as the juices cook off it will deflate. That’s what it’s supposed to do. It will also form a crust. That’s what makes it a torte.
Pull it out, let it cool, and serve with whipped cream. I make so much whipped cream. I should intern/apprentice at a whipped cream factory (or dairy maybe?) for a week so I can’t stand the sight of it anymore.