Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ozark Pudding - Huguenot Torte

Ozark Pudding, in this baked version, creates a sugar cookie type of topping as the flour rises to the top. Underneath is a gooey, super sweet filling, very reminiscent of pecan pie, so that the dessert becomes somewhat of a cross between that and apple pie.

Ozark Pudding

I was flipping through an old holiday cookbook last night - I don't even know the name of the cookbook or when it was published because the cover and the first 12 pages have been long missing to the point of where I had to fashion a cover out of card stock just to preserve what was left of it. I know that based on the typeset it is pretty old, and it is some kind of holiday cookbook because it has specific sections for holidays and occasions.

This cookbook was in my mom's stuff when The Cajun and I cleaned out her house after finally selling it after she passed away, though it does have my kid sister's name in the front of it. Since neither she nor my brother were there to pack and lay claim to anything left there, I guess I own it now by default and simple possession.

Anyway, I ran across this recipe for Ozark Pudding listed in the Thanksgiving section of that holiday cookbook and it had me curious so I made it, according to the directions of this recipe. I say that because after looking on the internet I see that there are a number of variations of this dish called Ozark Pudding, so I have no idea as to the authenticity of this particular recipe I used.

It seems that people have tweaked the recipe over time to their own liking, some adding a substantial amount of flour from this recipe to make it more like a cake than a pudding; some cook it in a square pan; some poured it into a pie plate and speak of cutting it into wedges, making it more like a torte; some recipes spoke of spooning it out into a dessert bowl or martini glass, making it sound more like pudding. Some versions use pecans, some use walnuts. This version I made has it cooking in a loaf pan, though the result was not something you could slice, but came out more pudding-like and therefore had to be spooned out.

To complicate the matter further, even though there are recipes all over the net, there are very few photos of this dish with those recipes to show what that version of an Ozark Pudding looks like, nor are the directions descriptive enough to tell you what it should look like. I have no idea if this version here is indeed how it should look. Perhaps someone from South Carolina or my friend Rebel who actually lives in the Ozarks will stop by and help to shed some light on these mysteries! At any rate, I present you with this version from this cookbook the way it turned out for me - authentic or not.

One source, All American Desserts by Judith Fertig claims that this dessert originated with the French Protestant Huguenots who fled religious persecution in France to settle in Charleston, South Carolina, taking with them recipes for a gateau aux noisettes or "cake with hazelnuts." Hazelnuts were not readily available in the Carolinas, but pecans were, so pecans were substituted. This version, apparently more cake-like, became known as Huguenot Torte. As southerners began to make their way westward to settle in the Ozarks of southern Missouri and in northeastern Arkansas, they substituted black walnuts and Huguenot torte became Ozark pudding.

When Winston Churchill joined President Harry Truman in Fulton Missouri in 1946 and gave his “Iron Curtain” speech, this dessert was on Bess Truman’s dinner menu.

I can't tell you if this is authentic. I can't tell you if this is what Ozark Pudding is supposed to look like. I can tell you that as this version baked, the flour sort of rose to the top, creating a crust on the very top, sort of like a sugar cookie crust. Underneath was a gooey and super sweet filling that is very reminiscent of a pecan pie filling, despite the fact that indeed there are also apples in there, so maybe it's more like a cross between pecan pie filling and apple pie filling. I did see some recipes on the net that included spices that would typically be found in an apple pie.

I can tell you that - authentic or not - this version was simply delicious.

Serve it warm and with a dollop of whipped cream on top, or if you can't be bothered with whipping cream at the moment, I'm pretty sure a little drizzle of heavy cream poured over the top would be equally good. Some vanilla ice cream would be most excellent.

Recipe: Ozark Pudding

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Whisk together in a separate bowl the flour, salt and baking powder; add the pecans and apples to the flour mixture. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Place into a greased loaf pan* and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until top is browned. The flour will create a crust similar to a sugar cookie, that will rise to the top and then fall some. This version made in a loaf pan came out more like a pudding and had to be served by spooning it out. Definitely serve it warm, scooping into dessert bowls or tall stemware, and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Some versions enhanced the whipped cream with rum. I did not.

*The recipe called for a loaf pan which is what I used, but apparently you can successfully use a pie plate or a 9" square pan also, adjusting time down as needed. The results this way may be different from that pictured above.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on November 25, 2008
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  1. Ozark Puddin'. Yum Yum. My recipe is about the same as yours but I use brown sugar instead of white and only 1 cup. This recipe has been in my family since I reckon the beginnin' of time (just kiddin'). My Mom and Grandma always used scaly bark nuts which grow well in these parts, they're a type of hickory nut, or they used black walnuts. I usually use pecans. And it is always baked in an iron skillet. And I don't mean to sound snobby but this puddin' originated in the Ozarks and then became the Huguenot torte. Really. They renamed it because of the love the Huguenot community had for it.
    I really think it's cool that you are interested in our neck of the woods cookin'. You always have so many delicious recipes on your blog.
    Thanks. R.

  2. Heck yeah I'm interested! I love regional foods - to me that's better than anything. I love to cook and I love to eat, what can I say ... which is why I can't ever stay on any diet for long and lose weight.

    I noticed that there was a bit of controversy in some web discussion boards about the origins of this recipe, that's why I quoted what I wrote as only one source on its origin. Still, I'm glad to see that this recipe was kinda close! It sure was tasty I tell ya. I followed the recipe on the pan to use but the iron skillet makes much more sense to me - I knew I could count on you!

  3. This sounds especially delicious Mary...I wish my grandmother was still living so I could ask her about this. She spent all of her married years living in Arkansas.
    However, this version looks especially yummy. All that gooeyness with apples too!

  4. Lynda, yes. I think this has become one of those lost recipes - can't seem to really find much about it!

  5. I made this yesterday, in a loaf pan, and ended up with more of a "fruitcake" texture, instead of the pecan pie-like gel on the bottom and crusty top.

    It was still pretty good, just not exactly what I expected. Did not look like your picture at all.

  6. Hi Annie - sorry, I have no idea why it would turn out different. Course this was my first and only time making Ozark Pudding myself so I can't even offer any suggestions. Actually I followed this recipe as it was written and I would have preferred a more cakey texture as you described instead of gooey like this - would love to know how you got that result! Very strange. Thanks for stopping back by to comment!

  7. My grandmother always made this is a cast iron skillet...boy I sure miss her cooking! This is sometimes referred to as apple pudding cake, I think. Nonnie always used pecans or walnuts because those were the trees growing on her property. The Ozarks are in northwest Arkansas and travel down to meet the Ouachitas. We have places in both areas and love exploring regional "cuisine." Of course, we dearly love your neck of the woods as well. Ya'll come for a visit!

  8. I don't think All American Desserts is correct, simply because South Carolina is nowhere near the Ozarks, which is primarily in Missouri but extends to Arkansas (of course, even the exact geographic lines of the Ozarks is subject to debate.) Rebel's comment that this became the Huguenot recipe is very possible, and I'll defer to her comment because she knows more about it than I do. I never heard this recipe called an "Ozark pudding;" the only time I heard that term was in the Truman menu you mentioned.

    This is very similar to all manner of desserts my grandmother made. She lived her whole life in the Ozarks and I grew up in the Ozarks, too. We have a couple of regional cookbooks with similar recipes. Like others said, this was always made in cast iron, just as upside down cakes and cornbread and nearly everything else which was baked were.

  9. Well, your post certainly got my attention since a) I'm a decedent of Claude Phillipe De Richebough, founder of the first and only still standing French Huguenot Church in Charleston (sorry, I had to give you all that detail in honor of the time my dad has put into researching it!) b) I'm from South Carolina and c) this just looks goooood!

    There's certainly nothing like this recipe in my family (and we've got some oldies) so I think the info online that says it's an Ozark recipe renamed as Huguenot mid-century might be right. (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Cakes/HuguenotTorte.htm)

    Anywho, I can't wait to try it! I hope it turns out gooey just like your photo!

  10. Thanks so much! As I noted this was in an old holiday cookbook of my mama's so that is the extent of my knowledge of it, except for what I found in the other cookbook by Judith Fertig. Sure wish this Ozark Pudding would be resurrected by those who know it! I need to make it again to see if I get the same result I did that first time!

  11. Found this recipe yesterday, made it yesterday, we ate it up yesterday! It was so easy, but boy was it easy.

  12. This is a fascinating, honest investigation into a regional recipe. I plan to make it tomorrow.


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