Get out your party hats and get ready to celebrate because April is National Pecan Month! I can’t think of a nut more worthy of a month long celebration than the pecan. My grandparents used to own a pecan farm in Georgia, so I grew up eating lots of pecans and became a die hard pecan fan at an early age. It is hard to beat just a plain old roasted pecan but it is always worth a try. When thinking of a recipe to include in a salute to the pecan, Huguenot torte came immediately to mind. It is a quintessential Charleston dessert. (The Huguenots were French Protestants who fled to Charleston, among other parts of the world, to escape religious persecution beginning in 1685). It is gooey, rich and sweet with just enough pecans to make you understand why this recipe has endured the test of time.
Huguenot torte first appeared in Southern culture in 1952 when Evelyn Anderson Florance served it at the St. Phillips Episcopal Church’s tea room in Charleston. It has been on the menu (and in countless cookbooks) ever since. There is some question as to the roots of this fine dessert before it arrived at the tea room and many attribute it to Bess Truman and a recipe called Ozark Pudding. Oddly enough, I happen to have a booklet of recipes that was compiled and printed by the South Side Day Nursery in St. Louis, Missouri in the 40s and to which Bess Truman was a recipe contributor (frozen lemon pie). Sadly they must have run out of room for the Ozark Pudding recipe because the contributor’s name is not listed but it may indeed be Mrs. Harry S. Truman’s original recipe. Whether you know it as Huguenot Torte or Ozark Pudding, the cake is delicious and is an excellent way to celebrate National Pecan Month!