Príncipe Alberto, a dessert from La Palma with a unique story
The origin of this typical dessert of the Isla Bonita is, to say the least, curious. It is necessary to go back to the baker Mrs. Matilde Arroyo Felipe to know its history. She is probably known for being the best baker of the whole island and even of the Canary Islands. She started cooking with traditional recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation and soon she was able to open her own bakery. However, to know the origin of the name of this delicious dessert, we have to remember Prince Albert himself, current head of state of Monaco, who was one of the fashionable singles of the 70s and 80s.
Peolpe say that one of Dona Matilde’s daughters asked her, when she saw this dessert, what name she would give it. She just answered: “Príncipe Alberto, because it is as good as he is”. Others say that she simply called the dessert that way because the Prince visited the island at that time. This dessert is famous all over the Canary Islands, and it is part of the incredible gastronomy of the archipelago. It is easy to prepare because of its ingredients and has a unique flavor, although you have to be careful with the elaboration and follow the steps. With such a curious story, Príncipe Alberto is perfect and light to enjoy any day of the year.
Príncipe Alberto, decorated with some mashed nuts and a slice of lemon | Shutterstock
Ingredients for the Príncipe Alberto:
For the base:
200 ml of coffee
30 g of coffee powder
80 g of sugar
80 g of flour
For the mousse:
100 g chocolate for melting
60 g of butter
50 g of hazelnuts
50 g of almonds
How to make the Príncipe Alberto:
To prepare the base, first, beat well the 2 eggs we prepared earlier with the sugar in a bowl. If you have a stick blender, you can beat them with it, but if not, you can do it by hand without any problem. After this step, add the cocoa powder and the flour until you have a uniform mixture. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180ºC.
Pour the mixture into the pan, about 1 cm high. Put the mold in the oven and leave it for about 10 minutes. After this time, remove the mold from the oven and add the coffee. Let the base with the coffee stand aside for a few minutes.
Now, to prepare the mousse, place the hazelnuts and almonds on a baking sheet with paper and put them in the oven at about 200ºC to toast them a little. Leave them in the oven for 5-8 minutes. When the time has passed and you see that they have a toasted color, remove the tray from the oven and wait for them to cool separately. When they are cool, remove the skins little by little and grind them into small pieces. You can do this with a food processor or, if you do not have one, put the nuts in a bag or, with the help of a sheet of baking paper, crush them with a rolling-pin.
Then, once the nuts have been crushed, we can move on to the next step. Separate the yolks from the whites of the 3 eggs that we have reserved at the beginning. In a separate bowl, pour the yolks and add the sugar. Beat them and set this mixture aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie. You can use a pot with hot water and put a bowl with the ingredients on top, so that they melt little by little. Stir gently until the mixture is homogeneous and, when ready, add the egg yolk mixture with the sugar already incorporated and continue mixing.
Finally, whip the egg whites that you separated from the yolks in the previous step and just a portion of the reserved crushed nuts. Stir this mixture until it is uniform. Place the mousse on the sponge cake base and sprinkle the leftover mashed nuts on top of the mousse as decoration.