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Sculpting ice cream into a log or wreath.

It's easy to transform ice cream or sorbet into a festive Yule log or Christmas wreath. You simply sculpt purchased, frozen desserts: the only cooking required is for the simple sauces and garnishes that accompany them.

To make the log, you lay cylindrical pints of ice cream end to end, then frost with more ice cream. For the wreath, you mound scoops of sorbet into a big ring. Garnish both desserts with chocolate leaves, or if you don't have time, decorate with nontoxic real leaves.

Both desserts can be made up to a week ahead of time and garnished before serving.

Ice Cream Yule Log

3 pints coffee, nut, or vanilla ice cream (in cylindrical containers about 4 in. tall)

2 pints chocolate ice cream

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Chocolate leaves (recipe follows)

Mocha fudge sauce (recipe follows)

Set a 12- to 16-inch-long platter into the freezer until it is very cold, at least 30 minutes.

Fill a 1-quart measuring cup or small bowl half-full with hot water. Dip each container of coffee ice cream, 1 at a time, into water to just below the container's rim; hold just until ice cream begins to melt around sides, 5 to 15 seconds. Slide spatula inside carton around sides, then ease ice cream out onto chilled platter. Lay pints end to end; push together to form log. Smooth joints with a spatula.

Return log (on platter) to freezer until surface is firm, at least 15 minutes. Cover if storing until next day.

Dip containers of chocolate ice cream in hot water, 1 at a time, and slide ice cream out into a large bowl. Cut into about 2-inch chunks and let soften in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, to the consistency of thick frosting, 10 to 20 minutes. (To soften in a microwave oven, put ice cream in a nonmetal bowl and heat at 50 percent power just until soft. Check after 20 seconds; continue at 10-second intervals up to 60 seconds, stirring so ice cream softens evenly without turning runny.)

Quickly spread chocolate ice cream over frozen log on platter; do not frost ends. Freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. If making ahead, wrap when firm and store in freezer up to 1 week.

Place nuts in an 8- or 9-inch-wide pan. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven, shaking pan occasionally, until nuts are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. If making ahead, wrap and store up to 1 week.

To serve, garnish log on platter with some of the almonds and leaves; arrange remaining nuts and leaves around platter rim. Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly, then cut into 3/4-inch slices. Offer mocha sauce to spoon onto slices. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Per serving: 325 cal.; 4.7 g protein; 20 g fat (11 g sat.); 36 g carbo.; 77 mg sodium; 50 mg chol.

Chocolate leaves. Rinse and pat dry 15 to 18 sturdy, nontoxic leaves (2 to 3 in. long), such as camellia or citrus. In the top of a double boiler set over hot (just below simmering) water, stir 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate or white chocolate baking chips just until melted. Remove from heat but leave over hot water; stir occasionally to keep chocolate evenly smooth.

With a small brush, paint a 1/8-inch-thick layer of chocolate over the backs of the leaves. Set leaves, chocolate side up, in a single layer on a flat pan and chill or freeze until chocolate hardens, at least 15 minutes or up to overnight. When firm, peel away real leaf. If making ahead, place chocolate leaves in a single layer on a pan; cover and chill or freeze up to 1 week.

Mocha fudge sauce. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, combine 1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) semisweet chocolate baking chips and 3/4 cup whipping cream. Stir over low heat just until melted. Stir in 3 tablespoons coffee-flavor liqueur or strong coffee. Serve warm. If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 week. Stir over low heat to warm.

Raspberry Sorbet Wreath

4 pints raspberry sorbet or sherbet, or 2 pints each vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet or sherbet

Chocolate leaves (recipe precedes)

Cranberry sauce (recipe follows)

Set a 12- to 16-inch-diameter rimmed platter in freezer until cold, at least 15 minutes. If sorbet is very hard, set in refrigerator to soften slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. (Or soften 1 container at a time in a microwave oven at 50 percent power. Check after 10 seconds. If needed, continue at 10-second intervals up to 30 seconds until firm-soft.)

With an ice cream scoop, make small (1 1/2- to 2-in.-diameter) balls of sorbet and set on chilled platter in a 10- to 11-inch-wide ring. Make another circle of scoops inside the outer ring; scoop remaining sorbet on top of the 2 rings, as pictured above. Work quickly; if sorbet begins to melt, return platter and sorbet to freezer to firm before continuing.

Freeze wreath until firm, at least 30 minutes. If making ahead, wrap wreath airtight when firm and freeze for up to 1 week.

Garnish with chocolate leaves and a few cranberries removed from the sauce. Serve several scoops for each portion. Offer cool or cold cranberry sauce to spoon on top. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 235 cal.; 1 g protein; 2.1 g fat (1.1 g sat.); 54 g carbo.; 15 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Cranberry sauce. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, mix 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup orange juice. Simmer, covered, on low heat; stir occasionally until berries are translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool. Stir in 1/4 cup orange-flavor liqueur or orange juice. If making ahead, chill up to 1 week. Serve cool or cold.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Best of the Holidays; recipes
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Tarts to celebrate the Western harvest.
Next Article:A Christmas tree for munching and dunking.

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