Sunday, October 24, 2010

Angela Pia

This tasty, bake-free holiday dessert, whose name translates to "pious angel," is rich, flavorful, and simple to make. The only ingredients you might not have on hand are whipping cream and unflavored gelatin.

I once heard that a major newspaper called for any recipe readers had for this lovely mousse-like dessert, which had once been the signature dish at a local restaurant that had closed. The paper received 300+ responses, and every single recipe was identical. What are the odds?

1 package unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water cold
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream (1 cup)
1 oz brandy (2 oz if you have no rum)
1 oz dark rum (2 oz if you have no brandy)
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted,
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings or dusting of cocoa powder


1. Sprinkle gelatin in the cold water in a heatproof dish and allow to soften about 5 minutes. Place dish in a hot water bath and stir to completely dissolve the gelatin.

2. Optional step (if you are serving children or people who choose not to consume alcohol): boil rum and brandy together for about five minutes to remove alcohol but maintain flavor.

3. Beat egg yolks in a large bowl until frothy. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until thick and pale. Beat in brandy and rum. Add gelatin and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

4. Whip egg whites until stiff but not dry. Set aside.

5. Whip the cream and vanilla to soft peaks.

6. Fold into the egg mixtures. Spoon into individual serving bowls with a ladle to avoid drips, and refrigerate covered for at least two hours or overnight.

Optional: Garnish with sliced, toasted almonds, shaved chocolate, or a dash of cocoa powder, or any combination. Crushed candy canes would be good too!

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