Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Angel Pie and the Gluten-Free miracle of meringue

If you like meringue, chocolate, coffee and whipped cream, you will certainly want to try the chocolate angel pie from Miss Grimble’s, a bakery loved by New Yorkers in the ’60s and ’70s that still has a wholesale operation. Miss Grimble’s original proprietor, Sylvia Balser Hirsch, said of the pie:

"Dieters fall off their diets and strong men go weak at the sight of it. It is beautiful to behold and luscious to eat."

Miss Grimble’s chocolate angel pie

Serves 8

Meringue crust:

4 large eggs, separated, whites at room temperature (refrigerate the yolks and reserve for the filling)

Large pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

5 teaspoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia D’Oro

Pinch of salt

4 large egg yolks (reserved from meringue crust)

1 cup very cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons Kahlua


1 cup very cold heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar (superfine is preferable)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, or fresh raspberries (optional)

1/3 cup shaved semisweet chocolate (optional)

Meringue crust:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan or a pie pan with a removable bottom and line the bottom with parchment paper; butter paper.

2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites together with salt on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating. When whites are opaque and beginning to stiffen, increase speed to medium and begin adding the sugar. Beating constantly, add it very slowly so as not to deflate the egg whites. When all the sugar has been added, add vanilla and increase speed to high. Continue beating until egg whites are very stiff.

3. Spread meringue mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan, building up the sides about 2 inches to hold the filling.

4. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.


1. Place chocolate, instant espresso powder, salt and 3/4 cup water in the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat until chocolate has just melted, stirring frequently.

2. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Set aside to let the mixture cool completely.

3. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Beat in Kahlua, then fold the mixture into the completely cooled chocolate. Refrigerate.

Assembly and topping:

1. Spoon the chocolate filling into the meringue shell, smooth the top and refrigerate until set, for at least 4 hours. The pie can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours at this point.

2. When ready to serve, carefully remove the pie from the pan and place it on a serving platter.

3. Whip the 1 cup cream together with sugar and vanilla until fairly stiff. Spread the whipped cream over the chocolate filling and decorate with berries, if using. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate, if desired.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 639 calories, 40 grams fat, 69 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams protein, 294 milligrams cholesterol, 100 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 54 percent of calories from fat.

— "Lost Desserts," by Gail Monaghan; adapted from Sylvia Balser Hirsch’s "Miss Grimble Presents Delicious Desserts" (Macmillan, 1983)

aculbertson@star-telegram.com Amy Culbertson is the Star-Telegram food editor, 817-390-7421

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