Back in the 70’s, my mom introduced what was then known as Soda Cracker Pie. Our family thought it sounded weird but tasted wonderful, and it fast became a much requested favorite. But introduce the name of this dessert in a conversation about amazing baked concoctions and I’d get a “Soda Cracker Pie?” (saying this with their nose scrunched up) from just about everyone because let’s face it; Soda Cracker Pie sounds a lot like it could be called Paste-y Flour-y Salt-y Pie. Fast-forward many years and I’ve decided to give this delicious wallflower a twenty-first century makeover and Walnut Torte (or walnut pie) was born. The original recipe uses whipped egg whites, walnuts and soda crackers, which bakes up moist, airy and nutty-sweet. I think the secret to this dessert’s perfect tasty bite is the soda crackers that are folded in rather than mixing in raw flour which can result in kind of a tough sponge-looking dough when over-mixed.
For Ms. Soda Cracker Pie’s 2013 makeover I added healthy coconut oil for extra moistness and flavor; and then baked her in every pastry’s figure-shaping friend, an 8-inch cake pan rather than a pie plate which produced a shapeless muffin-top looking spill-over in the original recipe.
I present to you the new and improved “Soda Cracker Pie You Can Call Me Scrumptious Walnut Torte”!
Crunchy, nutty, sweet and light all at once with just the right hint of salty. Remember how weird we all thought kettle corn sounded with salty and sweet together until we tried it and now we’re ALL buying the huge trash bag sized portions at the outdoor tents where it’s made fresh? Yeah, that’s how good this tastes.
Try this for your next gathering and call it whichever name you like. Your guests will be too busy devouring it to care what it’s called. That is, until it’s all gone and EVERYONE wants the recipe!
As far as healthy desserts go, this recipe contains no cholesterol thanks to the egg whites. The fat content is deceptively high at 11.7 grams of total fat, but of that only 2.5 grams are saturated. The majority of fat in this recipe comes from healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat in the walnuts, which help reduce bad cholesterol levels. Each piece of torte is 230 calories which includes the whipped cream. See below for complete nutrition breakout.
Walnut Torte aka Soda Cracker Pie Revisited
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 cup sugar plus extra for whipped cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla plus 1 teaspoon for whipped cream topping
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil at room temperature
- 16 saltine crackers
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/2 shredded coconut optional
- 1 pint whipping cream
- Grease an 8" cake pan with butter, place a round of parchment in the bottom and butter that too. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add 3 egg whites and beat until fluffy, approximately one minute.
- Gradually add sugar and baking powder and stir until batter resembles runny pancake batter.
- Add vanilla and coconut oil, beating until well incorporated.
- In a sandwich size plastic bag, add saltines and crush with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon until crackers are about pea-sized pieces (does not have to be exact, just don't smash into a powder).
- Add walnuts and saltines to batter and fold in with a large spoon or spatula.
- Pour batter into the cake pan and spread to edges.
- Place pan in oven and immediately lower temperature to 325F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top and edges appear golden.
- Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around the edge to help release torte from the edge. Let torte cool completely on wire cooling rack.
- Have a cake plate ready. Run knife around edge of pan one more time to ensure it comes out easily. Place your hand over the torte and turn pan over. Torte is now upside-down on your hand. Remove parchment and quickly but gently flip torte onto cake plate.
- Meanwhile, place shredded coconut on a baking sheet and return to 375F degree oven. Toast coconut approximately 5-7 minutes, watching not to burn. Remove from oven and let cool completely while finishing torte.
- Whip cream to desired stiffness, adding sugar to taste and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Spread torte with whipped cream to edges.
- If time allows, chill at least one hour before serving to let whipped cream soften the top of the torte a bit. Note, you may serve immediately if necessary, but letting the whip cream sit on the torte for a bit makes it even more delectable. Even more delicious the following day.