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Beyond the pumpkin pie.

Sweet secrets are hidden behind the sophisticated good looks and holiday flavors in these five desserts

CLASSIC CONCEPTS restructured give these desserts unexpected virtues. None of them are difficult to make, all are handsome--and two look like the work of a pastry chef. Some are sinfully rich. Some are amazingly lean, but flavor hides the fact. For the time-pressured cook, each of these holiday desserts can be made at least a day ahead of time.

Chocolate Twig Cake

6 large egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Chocolate mousse frosting (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon powdered sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

To make chocolate meringue, line 2 baking sheets, each 14 by 17 inches, with cooking parchment, or butter sheets and dust with flour. On 1 sheet, draw 2 circles, each 7 1/2 inches in diameter (use knife tip on floured sheets).

In large bowl of a mixer, beat 4 egg whites and 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, about 1 tablespoon every 30 to 45 seconds; scrape bowl occasionally. Mix another 1/4 cup sugar with 4 tablespoons cocoa; beat into whites at the same rate. Whites should hold very stiff peaks; beat until they do.

Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain or fluted tip. Add meringue to bag, filling no more than 2/3. Twisting bag top, squeeze bag to pipe meringue about 1 inch thick over each circle, covering evenly and using all the meringue.

Bake meringues in a 250 |degrees~ oven until they feel firm and dry to touch, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in the same bowl (using unwashed beaters), beat remaining 2 egg whites, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 6 tablespoons sugar as directed for the meringue disks, preceding. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whip into whites, as directed.

Pipe remaining meringue in 1/2-inch-thick long ropes about 1 inch apart on the remaining baking sheet. Add to oven with meringue disks, moving disks to another rack. Bake ropes until they feel firm and dry to touch, at least 50 minutes; if disks are dry first, remove from oven until ropes are dry. Then, with both pans in oven, turn off heat and let meringues stand in closed oven 2 hours.

Slip a spatula carefully under pieces to release. If making ahead, store airtight up to 1 week. If pieces crack, patch together with frosting when finishing cake.

To assemble cake, set 1 meringue disk on a flat plate. Spread about 1/3 the chocolate mousse frosting level over top of disk. Set second meringue disk on top of the first and gently press to secure to frosting. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Break meringue ropes into 1- to 2-inch lengths and press gently but firmly into frosting on top and sides of cake. Serve. Or, if making ahead (and for easier cutting), cover and chill up to 1 day. Dust with powdered sugar mixed with cocoa. Serves 12 to 16.

Per serving: 219 cal. (45 percent from fat); 2.8 g protein; 11 g fat (7 g sat.); 30 g carbo.; 30 mg sodium; 25 mg chol.

Chocolate mousse frosting. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, combine 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Stir over medium heat just until chocolate is smoothly melted. Chill, covered, until cool but not solid, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1 more cup whipping cream and 2 to 3 tablespoons coffee-flavor liqueur (optional); beat cream until it holds distinct peaks.

Spiced Pumpkin Roll

About 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon each baking powder and ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice and ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup canned pumpkin

About 5 tablespoons powdered sugar

Vanilla yogurt filling (recipe follows)

Rinsed and dried nontoxic fall leaves, or paper stencils cut like leaves

Marmalade topping (recipe follows)

Lightly oil a 10- by 15-inch baking pan; line pan bottom with waxed paper cut to fit. Oil paper and dust with flour.

Mix 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs at high speed until thick and foamy, gradually adding sugar, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and pumpkin; mix on low speed or stir until evenly moistened.

Evenly spread batter in prepared pan. Bake in a 375 |degrees~ oven until top springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. With a knife, cut between cake and pan rim; immediately invert cake onto a towel sprinkled with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Gently peel waxed paper from cake, and roll cake from a narrow end with towel (to keep sections of cake apart) into a cylinder; set on a rack until cool.

Gently unroll cake and leave on towel; spread cake to the rim evenly with yogurt filling; reroll, using towel to guide. Set roll on a flat plate; wrap airtight. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day. Unwrap, lay leaves on top of cake, and dust with remaining powdered sugar. Carefully lift off leaves. Slice roll into portions and accompany with marmalade topping to add to taste. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 268 cal. (10 percent from fat); 7.1 g protein; 3.1 g fat (0.4 g sat.); 54 g carbo.; 154 mg sodium; 56 mg chol.

Vanilla yogurt filling. Line a fine strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. Set strainer over a deep bowl (bottom of strainer should sit at least 2 in. above bottom of bowl).

Spoon 6 cups vanilla-flavor low-fat yogurt into cloth. Cover airtight. Chill and let drain until yogurt is the consistency of whipped cream cheese, at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.

Discard accumulated liquid. Stir 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste, into the yogurt. Makes about 2 cups.

Marmalade topping. Stir together 3/4 cup orange marmalade, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup orange juice.

Ruby Grapefruit Sorbet

1 envelope gelatin

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups water

4 cups unstrained ruby grapefruit juice (takes about 4 lb. of fruit)

2 tablespoons sweet vermouth (or grapefruit juice)

2 tablespoons grenadine syrup (or grapefruit juice)

Grapefruit segments and rinsed citrus or mint leaves (optional)

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, stir together gelatin and sugar; add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Add grapefruit juice, vermouth, and grenadine syrup.

Freeze in a 1-quart or larger ice cream freezer container (self-refrigerated, frozen cylinder, or with ice and salt), following the manufacturer's directions.

Or pour mixture into a metal pan (about 9 by 13 in.); cover. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours or up to 1 month. Break into small chunks and whirl in a food processor or beat with a mixer until a smooth slush forms. Return to freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve sorbet softly frozen. If stored, sorbet gets very hard; just beat again for smooth texture.

Spoon into chilled dishes and garnish with grapefruit segments and leaves. Makes 2 quarts, 10 to 12 servings.--Mrs. L. K. Ross, Elk Grove, California

Per serving: 140 cal. (0.6 percent from fat); 0.9 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 34 g carbo.; 2.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Chestnut Tiramisu

12 ounces ladyfinger cookies or pound cake

1 can (17 1/2 oz.) or 1 1/2 cups sweetened chestnut spread

2 tablespoons rum or orange juice

Orange syrup (recipe follows)

1 cup whipping cream

2 cups unflavored nonfat yogurt or regular sour cream

3 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate

3 or 4 thin crosswise slices peeled orange, Clementine, or tangerine (optional)

Separate ladyfingers (or thinly slice cake) and lay pieces side by side (or overlap, as needed) to cover a rimmed patter or very shallow bowl 14 to 15 inches wide; leave a 1-inch-wide bare area between cookies and dish rim.

Mix chestnut spread with rum and 2 tablespoons of the orange syrup. Pour remaining syrup over ladyfingers to moisten evenly. Gently spread chestnut mixture over ladyfingers, leaving a 1-inch rim uncovered.

Beat the whipping cream until it holds distinct peaks; whisk in the yogurt. Swirl over chestnut spread and most of the exposed ladyfinger rim.

Pare chocolate with a vegetable peeler to make curls, or finely chop with a knife or in a food processor. Scatter chocolate over tiramisu; top chocolate with orange slices. Serve. Or cover airtight without touching topping and chill up to 1 day. Scoop out portions. Serves 10 to 12.

Per serving: 469 cal. (23 percent from fat); 7.8 g protein; 12 g fat (6.2 g sat.); 80 g carbo.; 92 mg sodium; 126 mg chol.

Orange syrup. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, boil on high heat, uncovered, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel until reduced to 3/4 cup. Let cool slightly and add 1/4 cup rum or orange juice. Use hot or cool.

Cashew Caramel Tart

10 sheets (each 12 by 16 in., about 5 oz. total) fila

About 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups (1 or 2 jars, about 20 oz. total) purchased caramel sauce

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon each grated orange peel and lemon peel

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups salted, roasted whole cashews

About 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Stack fila sheets; cut in half crosswise to make pieces. Cover fila with plastic wrap to prevent drying when not using.

Lightly brush butter onto an 11-inch plain or fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Brush 1 fila piece lightly with butter; cover about 2/3 of the pan bottom with the sheet and drape extra fila over pan rim; rub fila to attach it lightly to pan bottom. Gently fold extended edge of fila down into pan to make a rim that is slightly higher than the side of the pan.

Repeat step with another buttered fila piece, covering pan bottom from the opposite direction. Repeat step with 2 more pieces of fila, but position them to form a cross over the first layer.

With 4 more fila pieces, make another cross on top of the first, but rotate cross to cover corners of first layer. Repeat this pattern, alternating cross positions, using all but 4 fila pieces.

Lightly butter each remaining fila piece and fold in half lengthwise. Arrange pieces around the inside of the fila rim to make a puffy border.

Stir caramel sauce in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan over high heat until barely warm. In a bowl, beat eggs to blend with orange peel, lemon peel, and lemon juice; stir in caramel sauce. Pour caramel mixture into fila-lined pan and sprinkle evenly with cashews. Bake in a 325 |degrees~ oven until fila is a rich golden brown and caramel bubbles, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool until caramel firms, at least 1 1/2 hours. If making ahead, wrap airtight up to 1 day. Remove pan rim, and dust tart with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 329 cal. (44 percent from fat); 6.1 g protein; 16 g fat (4.8 g sat.); 45 g carbo.; 408 mg sodium; 46 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Bateson, Betsy Reynolds; Di Vecchio, Jerry Anne
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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