Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Tips: An angel pie is made with a meringue pie shell and
a light-textured filling (here, the filling is chocolate and
very rich). You'll need a 9-inch heatproof glass pie plate and
a sturdy hand-held electric mixer (or electric stand mixer)
for the meringue. The shell bakes for 2 hours at a very low
temperature; it would be wise to check the temperature of your
oven with an oven thermometer, as some ovens have difficulty
maintaining a low temperature for a long period of time. Once
baked, the shell must stand at least overnight (stored airtight
at room temperature) before it is filled, but then again it
can stand for several days before you complete the recipe. Do
not make the pie shell on a humid day!
the filling, you'll need good-quality chocolate. I use Callebaut
Calets, which look like regular chips but are of very fine quality;
use whatever you can find. Note that this pie must chill for
at least 4 hours before serving. It is not a good "keeper";
even if held overnight in the fridge, the meringue shell will
become rather soggy, though it will still taste fine. The pie
does not freeze. For serving, I recommend sprinkling the pie
with dark chocolate shavings or topping each slice with a few
thin lines of good-quality chocolate syrup. Either way, the
darker chocolate appearance contrasts nicely with the pale pie
shell and light chocolate filling. Sliced or whole fresh strawberries
are a nice accompaniment, too.
3 egg whites, from eggs graded "large", at room
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup superfine sugar (see Note)
1 tsp. vanilla
7 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
ounce good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sifted or strained confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Dark chocolate shavings or good-quality chocolate syrup
Sliced or whole fresh strawberries
rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Butter
the inside of a 9-inch heatproof glass pie plate; set aside.
egg whites must be at room temperature (or slightly above it)
to achieve proper volume when they are beaten. Place the whites
in a medium bowl (or the small bowl of an electric stand mixer)
and add the salt. Sift in the cream of tartar. Beat at medium
speed until the cream of tartar is mixed in, then increase speed
to high and beat until white, very foamy, and increased in volume.
mixer speed to low. Begin adding sugar, about 1 tablespoon at
a time. After each addition, increase speed to high and beat
about 10 or 15 seconds. Decrease speed again before adding the
next addition. When all sugar has been added, reduce speed again
to add vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat vanilla in thoroughly.
This should be a stiff meringue, and it should be at stiff peak
stage but still glossy.
quickly, place the meringue by large spoonfuls all around the
pie plate where the sides and bottom meet. Using the back of
the spoon, form a thick layer of meringue on the bottom of the
pie plate, then form a high standing rim on the sides (the meringue
should be above the edges of the pie plate, but try to have
it going up more than it goes outward). Make sure there are
no air pockets along the sides or bottom of the pie plate.
in preheated oven. Bake for two hours. After one hour, turn
the pie plate back to front. During baking, shell will brown
slightly on bottom and may take a lighter color on the edges,
but it shouldn't be a dark color anywhere. After two hours,
turn oven off; allow baked shell to stand in turned-off oven
(with door closed) for one hour. If the shell has not already
cracked during baking, it will crack during this standing period--OK.
Remove pie plate to cooling rack in draft-free area. Cool completely
before storing airtight at room temperature at least overnight.
Filling: Chill a medium bowl and beater(s) from a sturdy
hand-held electric mixer.
In small, heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolates and salt.
In small saucepan, heat 2/3 cup heavy cream (reserve and chill
remainder) over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very
hot. Remove from heat. Pour about half of hot cream over chocolate.
Allow to stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk until
smooth. (If necessary, place bowl of chocolate over hot water
on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir frequently
until melted and smooth, then remove from heat and hot water,
drying bowl bottom and sides well.) Gradually stir in remaining
softened cream cheese in large heatproof bowl. With sturdy,
hand-held electric mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed
until smooth. Add one large spoonful of the melted chocolate
mixture and beat in at medium speed until smooth, scraping bottom
and sides of large bowl and beater(s) frequently. Repeat with
another large spoonful of the melted chocolate mixture. Beat
in remaining melted chocolate mixture in several additions,
beating after each addition until smooth and scraping bowl bottom
and sides and beater(s) frequently with rubber scraper. When
all of chocolate mixture has been added, the result should be
smooth and somewhat airy. Let stand at room temperature until
cooled completely, stirring occasionally. If you are using the
same beater(s) to whip the cream, rinse them and dry them thoroughly,
then chill until needed.
chocolate-cream cheese mixture has cooled to room temperature
(test a little on the inside of your wrist to make sure), stir
well to loosen slightly. In chilled medium bowl, beat remaining
1-1/3 cups heavy cream at high speed just until you can see
distinct traces of the beater marks in the cream. Add confectioners'
sugar and vanilla; beat in at low speed. Increase speed to high;
beat only until cream holds a soft shape--no longer!! If cream
is overbeaten, the filling will appear curdled when it's done.
chocolate-cream cheese mixture once more to loosen. Working
quickly, add cream to chocolate-cream cheese mixture. Fold in
gently but thoroughly; the filling will begin to stiffen while
you're folding the two mixtures together. Pour filling into
pie shell; it should fill or nearly fill the shell. If necessary,
spread filling to edges. Place in refrigerator; chill at least
4 hours before serving, covering tightly when filling has set.
serve, place the pie on a larger, flat plate or large folded
napkin (when you cut into this, the meringue shell will almost
certainly crumble, and having a plate or napkin underneath it
will make cleaning up easier). Before serving, garnish sparingly
with dark chocolate shavings or curls, or drizzle a few thin
lines of good-quality chocolate syrup over the top. Cut the
pie with a large, sharp knife; the first slice will probably
be quite difficult to remove, so a thin-bladed spatula or pie
server would be useful here. Pass fresh strawberries to go with
the pie, if desired.
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