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Creamy pies a slice of summer delight

Thursday, June 14, 2001

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer


About four years ago, Peggy Ravas of Coraopolis wrote to Kitchen Mailbox hoping someone would have the recipe for Horne's Tea Room Angel Pie. A few weeks later, Kitchen Mailbox printed a recipe for Angel Pie. This past March, Peggy sent us a letter thanking us but explaining that it was not the correct recipe.

Second time is the charm -- we hope. We printed Peggy's request again with a description of the pie: "graham cracker crust, the middle was very high and firm and topped with strawberries." We received the recipe below from Kitty Hunter of Munhall. Kitty writes, "I believe this is the recipe for Angel Pie. I always had it at Horne's Tea Room." We hope Kitty is right.

Even if this isn't the requested pie, we were happy to test it. It's a delicious, creamy pie with almond and vanilla flavoring and a graham cracker crust. We mounded the pie with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Our next recipe, Chocolate Chiffon Almond Pie, is sinfully fabulous. The recipe doesn't call for a specific pie crust, so naturally we decided on a chocolate crust. We decorated the pie with fresh whipped cream. And it wouldn't hurt to add a few pieces of shaved chocolate. Note: We used a pastry bag for decorating with the whipped cream, but it's not necessary.

Either of today's pies would make eye-catching presentations at any formal dinner or even a picnic.

What's the difference between chiffon pie and mousse pie? "Joy of Cooking" states, "If the filling is based on a custard sauce stiffened with gelatin, you have a chiffon pie; otherwise call the filling a mousse." Straight and to the point. Now we know: Both pies today are definitely chiffon pies.

Kitty Hunter of Munhall sent us what she believes is a similar recipe to Horne's.

Angel Pie


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 17
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Add all ingredients and mix well. Press on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Set aside to cool.


1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sugar, divided in half
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup coconut

Soften gelatin in water 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix sugar, flour and salt in saucepan, then add milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin. Cool. When partially set, whip until smooth with electric mixer, then blend in extracts.

Whip the cream and fold into cooled milk mixture.

Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until satiny and stiff, but not dry. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, for a stiff meringue. Fold into pie filling, then fold in coconut. Spread filling in pie shell, sprinkle with more coconut if desired. May be served with additional whipped cream and strawberries.

Note: We used "Just Whites" in place of raw egg whites. Using the directions on the can, we mixed the equivalent amount of powdered eggs (for 3 egg whites), adding the required water. We then followed the recipe directions on whipping the egg whites with the cream of tartar and sugar.

Martha Berg of Oakland requested a recipe for Chocolate Almond Chiffon Pie. Here's the recipe -- sent in by Eliese S. Cutler of Point Breeze. The recipe is from "The Gourmet Cookbook," 1950.

Chocolate Almond Chiffon Pie

9-inch baked pie shell or cookie pie shell (we used the recipe below)
1/3 cup blanched, shredded, toasted and cooled almonds
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ground, blanched almonds
Whipped cream, for decoration

Spread the bottom of a pie crust with the 1/3 cup almonds; set aside.

Place gelatin in the cold water for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler with the almond extract. Stir in sugar, salt and hot milk. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thoroughly blended. Add softened gelatin and stir until dissolved -- cool.

When the custard begins to thicken, add the vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until very light. Whip the cream with the salt. Fold the cream into the custard along with the 3 tablespoons blanched ground almonds. Pour filling into pie shell and chill. Decorate pie with whipped cream.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, about 7 ounces

Butter 9-inch pie dish. Stir butter and chocolate in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Mix in cookie crumbs. Press onto bottom and up sides of prepared dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.


"Regarding Lori Shontz's article on the Food Network.

"All I have to say, Lori, is THANK GOD. There's another one like me. I refer to the shows on Food Network as an alternative to pornography. They are exciting, thrilling and sometimes have me saying 'How did he DO that?'

"Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only foodie around town."

Patti Geric,
East Pittsburgh

Regarding our newly designed food page:

"I love the new 'look' of the Food section. I really enjoy reading it and get so many great recipes from the Countdown to Dinner column (and even the Cooking with Kids column)! The section was great before, but the changes in appearance and the new columns that have been added are great."

Jennifer Braim,

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence.

Thursday, June 14, 2001

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