History of Food

History of Food

Friday, March 12, 2010

March 13, 2010 National Coconut Torte Day

Together a coconut torte does not have any discernable history. However, separately, coconuts and tortes have interesting facts.

The first mention of the English name of coconut printed in English was in 1555. The word coconut comes from the Portuguese Spanish word coco and means monkey face. The Spanish and Portugese saw the resemblance of a monkey's face in the three round indented markings or "eyes" found at the base of the coconut.

Like many different things in history coconuts were used as currency.  They were used as currency on the Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean. Coconuts continued as a form of currency through the early part of the twentieth century.

Cococnuts are fruits of the coconut palms which are native of Malaysia, Polynesia and southern Asia. Through the advancement of modern global civilization they are now prolificin South Amercia, India, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, and Florida. The coconut's name is a not actually accurate. It is not a nut, but rather a seed and it the largest known seeds in the plant world.

The word torte is German and literally means cake. One of the oldest known torte's in the world is the Linzer Torte - which was named after the city of Linz, Austria. Torte refers to both a multi-layered cake filled with buttercream, jam, or cream and to a rich, moist, and dense single-layered cake. When tortes are multilayerd and fancifully decorated they are closer to gateaux EXCEPT for the fact they can last quite nicely for several days.

One Excellant Recipe for Coconut Crunch Torte
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. moist coconut
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 pt. butter brickle ice cream

Combine crumbs, coconut and nuts. Beat egg whites, salt and vanilla until foamy. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks have formed. Fold cracker crumb mixture into egg white mixture. Spread in well greased and floured 9 inch glass pie plate.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cool. Cut into wedges. Top with scoops of butter brickle ice cream. Drizzle a little caramel sauce (store bought) over top.

NOTE: Make torte a day ahead. Cover with wax paper and keep at room temperature. Less crispy this way

From a Dietitian's Perspective - this is a relatively decent recipe when reviewing it for fat content.  The primary sources of fat in this recipe is the walnuts, the ice cream, and the coconut.  Walnuts contain heart healthy omega-3 fats, the ice cream can be changed to a low fat version, and the coconut - unfortunately is a saturated fat.  However saturated, it is not a large amount and with choices made within moderation, coconut can be a part of your diet.



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