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Recipes

Huguenot Torte

From Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking: Recipes and Ruminations from Charleston and the Carolina Coastal Plain

Cake:
1-3/4 cups nut mix (see note)
2 large apples, peeled
4 large eggs, at room temperature (see note)
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Garnish:
16 (perfect, if possible) pecan halves
Sugar
2/3 cup cream

Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by lightly greasing them, lining them with wax paper or parchment, greasing the paper and lightly dusting with flour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven.

Finely grind the nuts in a nut grinder, blender or food processor, proceeding in small batches. (Blending too long will render the nuts oily.)

Very finely chop the apples with a knife in a series of quick bursts in a food processor. You should have 1-3/4 cups.

 

In a warmed electric mixer bowl (see note), beat the eggs and egg yolk on high speed until doubled in volume. It may take 10 minutes or more. Slowly add the sugar while beating and continue beating until the volume is tripled. The eggs should be very thick and light in color. Don't be afraid of over-beating.

Sift the flour over the egg mixture. Sprinkle the ground nuts over all, followed by the apples. With a large spatula, fold the mixture together rapidly but gently, being certain to bring all the elements from the bottom of the bowl up into the mixture.

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sides have begun to pull away. Do not push on the meringue-like top, or it may cave in.

Place on a rack in a draft-free place and let cool completely.

Lightly toast the pecan halves while the cakes are in the oven. While the pecans are hot, quickly dip them in water and then roll them in sugar until they are lightly coated. Let them dry on a rack.

The cakes must be perfectly cool or the heat will melt the cream. Invert the pans to remove the cakes, discarding the paper liners and turn the cakes back over again so that the crusty top surface is in its original position. Place the cake on a serving platter.

Whip the cream until stiff and pipe 8 rosettes or place 8 dollops of the cream evenly around each cake. Garnish each bit of cream with a sugared pecan and serve immediately or chilled. (To be especially authentic, Hoppin' John notes that the cake may be served to interested adults with a shot glass of bourbon neat.)

Note: To prepare nut mix, mix 2 pounds shelled pecans, English walnuts and black walnuts in whatever combination, but with no more than 1/3 pound of the black. (You may also choose your own selection of nuts; Hoppin' John's favorite combination is 1 pound pecans, 2/3 pound walnuts and 1/3 pound black walnuts.) He notes that if you can't find black walnuts in a nearby major supermarket or natural foods store and want to include them in your mix, Funsten brand canned black walnuts are available through the Tracy-Luckey Co., Inc., 110-140 North Hicks St., Harlem, GA 30814 (706-556-6216).

Regarding the eggs: Hoppin' John calls for the eggs at room temperature, but then notes that he brought them to room temperature in the subtropical warmth of the Lowcountry. He suggests, after bringing the eggs to room temperature in your kitchen, to "warm both mixing bowls and eggs by running hot water over them before using them in baking recipes." Do not leave eggs out of the refrigerator for longer than it takes them to just get to room temperature since they should not be left unrefrigerated longer than that.

 

 

(Updated: 10/07/08 SN)


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