A Fabulously Rich Old Recipe

December 28, 2011

Minetry’s Miracle

 I’ve been going through an old recipe folder filled with bits of crumbling paper that I tore from newspapers and magazines long ago. (Some are from my childhood, dating back to the fifties.)  One, in particular, caught my eye because it was what I considered the height of elegance at one point in my life. The date’s vanished, but it was something Craig Claiborne published in the New York Times, probably in the sixties.  I remember it as really, really rich. This will make 16-20 servings, and I’m thinking of making it for New Year’s Eve. 

 4 dozen amaretti

1 cup bourbon

1 pound butter

2 cups sugar

1 dozen eggs, separated

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate,melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

2 dozen ladyfingers

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped.

Soak the macaroons in the bourbon. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy Beat the yolks until light and mix into butter/sugar mixture.  Add the chocolate, vanilla and chopped pecans.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in.

Line a 10 inch spring from pan with the split ladyfingers.  Fill it with alternating layers of soaked macaroons and chocolate mixture.  Chill for at least 8 hours. Remove the sides of the pan, decorate with whipped cream, and serve.  




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  • Ruth, Sounds like a good old fashioned tiramisu, or trifle, with an update to the ingredients. I follow you on twitter and our book club read TENDER at the BONE lead by Pam Chirls. I also hung on to every word you wrote for the New York Times. Your words on food fascinate me, but don’t worry, I am not a crazy person or anything, just someone who findss relaxation in good food chat. Happy New Year. Martha

  • Peggy Wolff says:

    Thank you! I got the recipe from a fabulous cook at Moose Mountain Lodge in New Hampshire back in the 1970’s. It is incredibly delicious. Much better than tiramisu in my opinion. I’ve been asked to make it for an auction dinner in April 2017. A good excuse to make it again after many years dreaming about it.

  • Meredith Manitzas says:

    Dear Ruth–
    Did you go ahead and make Minetry’s Miracle for New Year’s? I had the original clipping and have never made it–cowardly–it has so many expensive ingredients I was afraid to risk a disaster. So if you did–was it a wow?

    (I am a long time fan–have all your books, recipe and memoir.)

  • Carol Blumenthal says:

    I made this cake today and a friend asked for the recipe. Since I didn’t want to retype it I did a google search and found the Ruth Reichl entry. The recipe originated in The New York Times Heritage Cookbook by Jean Hewitt, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1972. I first made it in 1972 for a wedding in Atlanta, Georgia. Since it requires no baking I was able to make it in my hotel room using a hand mixer. It is truly the best, most decadent dessert. Included in the same book is another winner that I’ve been making for 45 years, Cake a l’Orange, made in a bundt pan. We call it the “Yes” cake since everyone says this is the best they’ve eaten and I always say “yes”.

  • Lorraine Acquaro says:

    The first time I tasted this recipe was when I was in college and babysitting for a family on Sutton Place. I believe the mom was working at The NY Times. It was in the fridge and I had a taste and was immediately overtaken by sensory delight. I’ve since made it for holidays. One question: is there a version where one can pasteurize the egg yolks or am I being too paranoid?

  • Lisa says:

    I rarely serve recipes with uncooked eggs. Can I make this a day before serving? How can i make sure that none of my guest get food poisoning?

  • Charleswelles says:

    If you are old enough and led a life not to be afraid of the future, you will recall your ancestors ate, perhaps drank is the better word, raw egg
    yolks at several ceremonial days yearly like New Year’s Eve. The punch bowl was a necessary ingredient for Egg Nog. Christmas, too. And without spirits, it was even an occasional healthy food for children year round. Of course, this latter was flavored with vanilla, pricey now, but oh, so good.