Pecan Torte Day
August 22 is the annual National Pecan Torte Day, a food holiday in the United States of America. A torte is dessert made up of a number of layers stuffed with jams, whipped creams, fruits, nuts and butter creams. In making a torte, very little flour is used since nuts and bread crumbs are used in its place. No leaveners are used and its fluffy texture can be credited to the usage of whipped eggs.
The word “pecan” actually means “a nut requiring a stone to crack.” The pecan grows from a tree which belongs to the family of Juglandaceae, which can normally be found in temperate zones. The scientific name for the pecan is Carya illinoinensis which means “Illinois nuts”. The pecan is one of the oldest and most well-known edible tree nuts in the U.S. Consumption of these nuts are important to reap their health benefits. Pecans are a sustainable primary source of energy. They are also a good source of protein, manganese and omega-6 fatty acids such as oleic acid. Consuming pecans can also reduce the risk of forming gallstones and can even be used to reduce high levels of cholesterol and deter problems involving coronary heart diseases. It can also be used to hinder the degeneration of nerve muscles brought about by aging. The pecan is also packed with antioxidants such as ellagic acid, and also contains beta-carotene, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin which are active components against cancer and other infectious diseases. This popular nut also provides vitamin B-complex which helps improve our body’s metabolism.
Pecans have proven their versatility in many culinary delights with their successful incorporation in everything from desserts to salads and main dishes. However, there are still a great many people who would rather eat their pecans – as nature intended – straight out the shell. These nuts are enjoyed roasted, raw, salted sweetened or natural. The pecan is quite buttery yet sweet. This taste combination brings an added dimension to desserts such pies, biscuits, cakes, and muffins, to name a few. These nuts are sometimes crushed and used as sprinkles in ice creams, sundaes, and parfaits. It is also used in manufacturing pecan nut butter which can be spread over toast or bread.
The pecan tree is no stranger to America as it is grown locally. It achieved much importance in the year 1906 when James Stephen Hogg, governor of Texas, made an unusual request of having a pecan tree be placed on his grave instead of the usual headstone. He then asked that the pecan seed be circulated throughout the state of Texas as he wanted it to be known as the “Land of Trees.” As his wish was fulfilled, much attention was drawn to the pecan tree. Hence, in 1919, the pecan tree was officially declared the state tree of Texas and the town of San Saba soon became known as “The Pecan Capital of the World.”
On August 22, let us all join in and celebrate Pecan Torte Day. Let us have Pecan Torte and eat it too so we can profit from pecan’s health benefits.