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2018 Holiday Recipe Contest Winner: $500 Best Sweet

Tammy Rainwater Starr | Deep East Texas EC

This elegant dessert, perfectly at home on a pretty holiday table, is a mashup of the best pecan recipes. The torte combines the richness of pecan pie filling with a delicious cookielike base and creamy glaze. Serve it with strong coffee for an afternoon get-together or as punctuation to a holiday dinner.


2 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, plus more for pan
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk


3/4 cup half-and-half
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Torte: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread chopped pecans on a baking sheet and toast lightly, about 5 minutes. Heavily butter the inside of a 10-inch springform pan and sprinkle in 3/4 cup of the toasted pecans, coating the bottom and sides.

2. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add egg yolks, vanilla, flour, baking soda, buttermilk and 3/4 cup of toasted pecans. Fold in egg whites gently. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a parchment- or waxed paper-lined rack and cool completely.

3. Glaze: In a small saucepan, combine half-and-half, corn syrup, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Whisk over medium heat until a low boil begins. Continue to boil about 1 minute or until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in butter and vanilla and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely before spreading glaze over top of torte. Sprinkle top of glaze with remaining toasted pecans.

Serves 6–8.

Cook’s Tip

Torte may be baked in a regular 9-inch round pan. It also can be cut horizontally and spread with glaze between layers as well as on top, if desired.