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Lean but glamorous holiday desserts.

REFRESHING CITRUS accents these cool desserts. Their glamorous appearance and palate-pleasing flavors belie their relatively lean composition and offer little threat to your waistline.

Four-Orange Custard

1 envelope unflavored gelatin 1/4 cup milk 7 to 9 large (about 4 lb. total) oranges 1 package (8 oz.) neufchatel (light cream) cheese, at room temperature, cut up 3/4 cup powdered sugar About 1.4 cup orange-flavor liqueur (optional) Chocolate sauce (recipe follows)

Sprinkle gelatin over milk; let soften about 5 minutes.

Ream about 3 oranges to make 1 1/3 cups juice. If needed, strain to remove excess pulp. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, bring juice to a boil. Add gelatin mixture; stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. In blender or food processor, whirl juice mixture, cheese, and sugar until smooth.

Pour mixture into an 8-inch-square cake pan. Cover pan without touching custard and chill until firm, at least 4 hours, or up to 4 days.

To unmold, quickly dip pan in hot water to within 1/2 inch of pan rim. Set plate over pan; holding them together, invert custard onto plate. (If done ahed, chill custard up until next day.)

Up to 4 hours before serving, finely shred enough peel from oranges to make 1 tablespoon. Cut remaining peel and membrane off oranges. Thinly slice fruit crosswise to make about 24 slices; remove seeds. Cover and chill slices and peel separately until serving.

To serve custard, arrange about 3 orange slices on each 3 orange slices on each of 8 dessert plates. Pour liqueur over slices to taste. Cut custard into 4-inch triangles; place on plates. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and garnish with shredded orange peel. Serves 8.

Per serving: 230 cal.; 5 g protein; 10 g fat (6 g sat.); 33 g carbo.; 120 mg sodium; 23 mg chol.

Chocolate sauce. Seal 4 tablespoons semisweet chocolate baking chips and 2 teaspoons nonfat milk in a small (not pleated) zip-lock plastic bag. Set in top of double boiler over simmering water; heat until chocolate softens. Through plastic, blend chocolate and milk with fingers until smooth.

To use, trim a corner from bag to make an 1/8-inch hole. Pipe chocolate from bag.

Ruby Grapefruit

Terrine with Tea Sauce

8 to 9 large (about 1 lb. each) ruby grapefruit 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, thawed 1 tablespoon sugar 3 teaspoons (about 1 1/2 envelopes) unflavored gelatin Tea sauce (recipe follows) Citrus leaves, rinsed

Cut peel and membrane from 8 grapefruit. Over bowl, cut fruit between inner membranes to free segments. Carefully drain juice from bowl and measure. You need 2 1/2 cups juice and 6 cups segments. If needed, segment or ream another fruit. Cover and chill 8 to 10 good-looking segments until ready to serve.

In a 4 1/2- by 8-inch metal loaf pan, neatly layer remaining segments to within 1/2 inch of pan rim.

In a 1- to 2-quart pan, mix together 1 cup grapefruit juice reserve remainder for sauce), orange concentrate, sugar, and gelatin. Let gelatin soften about 5 minutes. Stir over medium heat until all gelatin dissolves. Pour over segments.

Cover terrine and chill at least 8 hours or up to 1 day. To serve, dip chilled terrine briefly in hot water to within 1/2 inch of pan rim. Uncover and place platter over pan; holding them together, invert terrine onto platter.

Pour equal portions of tea sauce on 8 to 10 dessert plates. with a sharp knife, carefully cut terrine into 8 to 10 equal slices. Set slices on sauce. Garnish with reserved segments and leaves. Serves 8 to 10. -- The Donatello, San Francisco.

Per serving: 84 ca.; 2 g protein; 0.2 g fat (0 g sat.); 20 carbo.; 3.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Tea sauce. In a 2- to 3- quart pan, stir together 1 1/2 cups grapefruit juice (reserved from terrine) and 2 tablespoons sugar. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon black tea leaves; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine wire strainer. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 3 days.)

Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stir into grapefruit mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let cool.

Sage and Gin Sherbet

2 1/2 cups water 2 cups sugar 1 cup (about 1.2 oz.) lightly packed fresh sage leaves, chopped; or 1 tablespoon dried sage leaves

About 2 tablespoons chopped lemon peel (yellow part only)

1/2 cup lemon juice About 1/3 cup gin, chilled in freezer Fresh sage leaves or thin lemon slices

In a 2- to 3-quart pan, stir water and sugar over high heat until boiling and sugar dissolves. Pour over chopped sage and lemon peel; cover and steep about 4 hours. Chill until cold, about 2 hours or up until next day. Pour syrup through a fine strainer; discard sage and peel. Add lemon juice to syrup.

Freeze syrup 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 use your freezer. Pour mixture into a metal pan (8 to 9 in. square or 9 by 13 in.); cover and freeze until solid, at least 4 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.

Serve, or cover and freeze up to 1 month. If mixture becomes hard, beat to soften before serving.

To serve, scoop sherbet into 6 to 8 martini or wine glasses and drizzle with gin to taste. Garnish with sage leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8. -- The Donatello, San Francisco.

Per serving: 221 cal.; 0.1 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 51 g carbo.; 4 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1991
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