Food You Can Eat: Huguenot Torte

Image via Martha Stewart

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 eggs

“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.



    • It’s what it looks like. When it comes out it looks nice and all but then you have to serve it. I was glad to see that Martha Stewart herself just breaks it down and glops it into a bowl and people help themselves or you serve out of that. 

    • I’m going to chime in again with something I should have mentioned in the original post.
      It’s a very strange recipe in a way because when you put it in the oven it looks one way, then you pull it out and it looks like “Oh yes, sort of a pie…” and then you try to break it up to serve and you give up. 
      When I was searching for images (I have a crappy phone so I don’t post photos of my own work, and believe me everything I make is sloppier and would send you running for the exits) I discovered that the Huguenot Torte was not exotic at all and is found in the Ozarks and through a small belt in the South. 

      • The image doesn’t do it justice. If you make/have this IRL the smell of it will have you salivating. A lot of the food that I make looks like it came out of a Soviet factory canteen circa 1959, dropped on the floor, and scraped onto plates. Instagram-able my food is not.
        But I rarely get complaints, and when I do it’s from a dinner guest who just doesn’t like the ingredient, not my method. I mentioned a while ago that when I have vegetarians over I sometimes make eggplant-based “Italian” recipes and after the second complaint I now know to call around and make sure everyone’s up for eggplant. I’m an omnivore, so is The Better Half, so we’ll pretty much eat anything (except for kale on my part; I consider it one of the Seven Plagues) but people are picky.

        • Oh, it looks delicious. I actually like the idea of the shit on a shingle recipe, but haven’t tried it because I’m vegetarian. Your eggplant lasagna is surely comforting.

    • I crafted a dozen replies to this but yes, it is delicious. It refrigerates well but it doesn’t freeze well. When I have any leftovers I take it out of the fridge, serve cold, but top with warm chocolate sauce. 
      The gist of my replies was you shouldn’t have leftovers because you’re serving this to a crowd and this shouldn’t be the only offering. I’m starting to suffer from the “Pandemic Snap.” I knew it would come. Yesterday I started researching kitchen stuff that would feed four, not a dozen.
      “What fucking use do I have for a 13X9 baking dish? This pot can hold 8 gallons. This skillet can make enough food to serve eight adults!”
      “Mattie, get hold of yourself. This will pass. Everything will pass. You were born during the Wilson administration and–”
      “Would you knock it off? I’m only a year older than you are.”

    • Really? My Dutch Baby recipe is very different. 3 eggs, half cup milk, half cup flour, and just a couple tablespoons sugar. Plus any fruit you like to add, and a generous amount of butter in the pan. 

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