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Angelica Archangelica Pie

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Candied angelica stalks are sold in top French confectionery shops. This gorgeous plant has been used as a medicine and food for over 2000 years. Watch how you can use it to make a delicious pie.

Angelica is a fascinating plant - the most archangelic of angels in the woods if we believe its Latin name. The huge stems and tender green leaves rise up to a man height in wet woodlands. I have one angelica plant in my garden too and watch her grow with reverence.

Not only is angelica part of many commercial drugs sold in regular pharmacies, it is edible. Its delicate taste permeates the stems, leaves and even seeds which are used in Persian cooking.

The French make candied angelica stems by immersing them in increasing concentrations of sugar for days. You'll find angelica in many chopped candied fruits mixes - they make the green part. But the whole stem is relatively rare to find and few dishes use it.

Last week I bought a few candied angelica stems at Béchard (picture) in Aix-en-Provence, the city's top confectionery stop and a mandatory stop for the wandering glutton.

Here are 3 of the 4 candied angelica stems I used in this recipe. The translucent green color is really awesome - there is definitely something magical in this plant.

 

Angelica Archangelica Pie
From Le Larousse des cuisines régionales
4 candied angelica stems
3 eggs
250 gr butter
250 gr flour
175 gr sugar
salt
1 dl cognac
a drop of orange blossom water
Part of Herb Blogging 11VI2007.

 

Take the butter out of the fridge an hour before starting. When it reaches room temperature, cut butter in small cubes (picture).

Separate the egg yolks from the whites and beat together sugar, yolks and butter. Add the cognac and a drop of orange blossom flower and mix (picture).

Beat the egg whites to a foam and delicately them mix into the batter until you obtain a smooth and airy mixture (picture).

Gradually add the cake flour (picture) and combine with a light ascending motion with a plastic paddle the French call maryse. Add the chopped angelica stems (picture).

Butter a cake pan and sprinkle a little flour inside to prevent the cake from sticking.

Gently pour the cake batter into the pan.

Sprinkle the reserved chopped angelica on top and bake at 180°C for about 50 minutes or until light brown.

Remove and let the cake cool down a little.

I won't lie and tell you this cake is the best I ever made. It was somewhat dry and lacked sophistication. I see this as a way to honor the lady of the woods - Angelica Archangelica.

Published 07/06/2007
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7 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by Tyrell
  • on: 11/06/2007
Sorry to leave this in the comments, but the last sentence says, "I won't like and...", did you not mean, "I won't lie and..."? Anyway, love your blog, the photos are magnificent.
  • #2
  • Comment by jo jo
  • on: 12/06/2007
Ooh this looks wonderful, both the cake and the candied angelica archangelica. Dying to try the candied angelique, is it available in any shops in paris ? I just looked it up and one of it's common names is wild celery ... Hmm I had seen something that looked like celery  in the woods. also, according to my reading, traditionally Angelica was planted at the four corners of the house to ward off pestilence and disaster. Umm perhaps you need to get 3 more ? :P
  • #3
  • Comment by Christine Pearson
  • on: 30/07/2007
How do you crystalise angelica.  I have three large specimens growing in my garden which are much loved by bees and other insects.  I would like to put at least one of the plants to good use, thank you!
  • #4
  • Comment by Thom Culpeper
  • on: 26/11/2008
Hm... a true angel of the botanicus.... you do this great mistress of the soil  a great justice... to all of you out there in the caring/ eating ether, give this gem a go, it's so easy to grow, after all 'The Angle' is wild in the Sub Arctic, Greenland, Finland  and Russia etc. May I enquire of you as to the lens details that you have used for the page images. The images and the pages are beautiful. Should this beauty not be your best, my devouring soul awaits you next 'failure'  Hmm.. again.. Should any of you out there wont fresh seed, and you must have fresh seed as it only remains viable generally in the year of growth. May be the Pageist could forward your request to me. Only the cost of Pack/ post would be involved. I will also enclose a growing and preserving note.  The Angle is a biannual, flowering in most places in it's second year. In the first year harvest the leaves, to dry, (air flow. not in the sun) and stems to be candied, and in the second year also the roots, to freeze or dry. Soumi/Lappish children in Finland play  a form of flute made from the dried stems.  Ah... there's more to life than  Z-box and so forth. prepare, cook and enjoy.... I doff my cap to the Pageist .... Bon.. Bon... A good day to you all... Culpeper...  ps..... Jo Jo, watch the plant identity... there are  a couple of nasties out there in the woods. Hemlock (pink spots on the stems) being one... Socrates weed to we botanists, don't mix them up.... Plato will explain.... regards Culpeper....  
  • FX's answer→ Hello Thom, thanks for your kind words! A beautiful plant indeed, actually I have a French book entirely devoted to Angelica Archangelica. What a poetic inhabitant of the woods! I used a Nikkor 60mm, the old version, great lens, and a 1000W photographic light shot through a translucent umbrella if my memory serves me right. You'll find 230 other articles on the website with similar pictures mostly.

  • #6
  • Comment by lynn walker
  • on: 20/06/2010
must try this recipe. ihave recently moved into a new(to me)house and this is growing in the garden
  • FX's answer→ Good luck in candying the Angelica stems, a lovely plant it is.


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