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Instead of sweet, these desserts are savory and subtle.

Instead of sweet, these desserts are savory and subtle

A good marriage of simple foods and wine can provide a light, satisfying end to a meal. Here, three such combinations range from casual to classic. Bring dinner to a close with sweet-hot crackers and chilled sangria or rose wine, or end the meal elegantly by presenting cheese and fruit with a late-harvest white wine, or nuts and cheese with port.

Dessert tortillas

Crackling crisp, these baked, sugar-brushed flour tortillas have a sweetness tempered by an underlying nip of cayenne. Munch them with a lively sangria. Or enjoy them with fresh and fruity rose or blush (blanc de noir) wines--dry or slightly sweet.

Hot and Sweet Tortilla Crackles

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne

10 flour tortillas (8-in. diameter)

About 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) melted butter or margarine

Sangria (recipe follows)

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar with cayenne. One at a time, lightly brush tortillas on each side with butter. On 1 side only, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of the sugar mixture and gently rub evenly over tortilla. Set sugar side up on a 12-by 15-inch baking sheet. Repeat to season enough tortillas to fill pan; edges should not touch.

Bake tortillas in a 450| oven until puffed and slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Watch closely to avoid scorching.

While the first batch of tortillas bakes, season more to fill the pan again. To bake tortillas using 2 pans in 1 oven, rotate pans about halfway through baking to toast evenly.

Slide hot tortillas onto platter and serve whole to break into pieces; or slide tortillas onto a cutting board and cut into wedges, then pile on platter. Serve hot or at room temperature. If made ahead, store airtight up to 1 week. To reheat, arrange in a single layer on baking sheets and place in a 450| oven until hot, about 4 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

Sangria. Mix together 5 cups dry red wine, 1 cup orange juice, and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Chill, covered, until cold or up to overnight.

Pour the sangria into a pitcher and add 2 cups sparkling water. Pour into glasses and float 1 thin lemon slice in each glass. Makes about 8 cups, enough for 8 to 10 servings.

A Western classic

Thoughtful pairing of fruit and cheese adapts this traditional dessert to Western harvests and tastes. Sweet pears balance the mild tang of double- or triple-cream cheeses, or the delicate bite of certain youthful buttery blue cheeses; a sprinkle of black pepper is a bold finishing touch.

The intense varietal character and sweetness of a late-harvest Gewurztraminer, White (Johannisberg) Riesling, or a golden Muscat wine like Muscat Canelli or Muscat Amabile complement the pears and cheese; serve the wine chilled.

Pears, Pepper, and Cheese

4 medium-size firm-ripe pears

1/2 pound double- or triple-cream cheese such as St. Andre, explorateur, or boursault; or a buttery blue-veined cheese such as dolce gorgonzola or cambozola (from Bavaria); or a pepper-flavored soft cheese spread

Pepper mill with black peppercorns, or fresh coarse-ground black pepper

Rinse pears. Present the fruit, a chunk of cheese, and a pepper mill or small dish of pepper on a tray. To eat, slice off a piece of fruit, top with a portion of cheese, and sprinkle with pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Pastries--fast and flaky

Another time-honored finale is nuts with cheese, particularly in the company of a glass of vintage port--one that bears the year of its production on the label.

Here the nuts are warm, the cheese melted, and the combination enclosed in a flaky cylinder of fila dough. With this savory pastry, sip room-temperature port.

Fila dough is sold in 1-pound packages in the refrigerated or freezer section of most supermarkets, or in Middle Eastern delicatessens. The extra dough, wrapped airtight, can be frozen to use another time.

Nut Cheese Fila Rolls

1/2 cup (about 3 oz.) chopped, roasted, salted almonds or cashews; or unroasted walnuts

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar, shredded jarlsberg, or crumbled blue cheese

8 sheets fila dough (about 1/3 lb.), each about 12 by 17 inches

About 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) melted butter or margarine

Choose the combination of flavors you prefer: almonds with cheddar, cashews with jarlsberg, or walnuts with blue cheese. Mix nuts and cheese together, then set mixture aside.

Except when working with the fila, keep the dough covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Lay 1 sheet of fila out flat and brush the top lightly with melted butter. Leaving about a 1-inch margin at edge, spoon 1/8 of the nut-cheese mixture in an even band along a 12-inch side of the fila. Also leave a margin of fila about 1/2 inch wide at each end of the band of cheese.

Fold the 1-inch fila margin over nut mixture; roll just until nut mixture is enclosed. Then fold the 1/2-inch-wide margins over enclosed filling and fila sheet. Continue to roll fila until it forms a cylinder. Brush a little butter under the fila edge of the roll to seal. Set roll, seam side down, in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan.

Repeat to fill and shape remaining 7 sheets of fila; you need 2 pans. If made ahead, cover airtight with plastic wrap and chill up to overnight.

Bake rolls in a 425| oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes; if using 1 oven, switch positions of pans halfway through baking. With a wide spatula, ease rolls off pan (sometimes cheese oozes and sticks). Serve hot or warm, or let cool on racks to room temperature. With a sharp knife, cut each roll into 3 equal lengths. Makes 8 servings.

Photo: Toasted triangles of flour tortillas, glazed with cayenne-spiced brown sugar, go well with cool sangria. Bake the dessert crackers ahead; reheat, if you like. Or instead of sangria, offer a chilled rose or blush wine

Photo: Chilled splash of golden late-harvest Gewurztraminer accompanies ripe pear slices topped with St. Andre cheese and sprinkling of pepper

Photo: Flaky fila rolls enclose melted cheese and crisp nuts; enjoy hot or at room temperature with garnet-hued port. Assemble pastries ahead, if you wish
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Sep 1, 1986
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