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THE BIG CHILL FROZEN DESSERTS ARE THE HOTTEST FINALES IN TOWN.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

Look at a restaurant dessert menu these days and more than likely you'll find at least one decadent ice cream selection among the offerings. It's not surprising. Ice cream in any shape or form is comfort food. If you're dreaming of or screaming for ice cream, you'll love these spectacular desserts designed to serve at Labor Day festivities.

We challenged four top Los Angeles-area pastry chefs - from Max in Sherman Oaks, Union in Santa Monica, Campanile in Los Angeles and Spago Beverly Hills - to concoct a fast and fabulous creation using store-bought ice creams and sorbets along with other readily available ingredients such as shortbread, pound cake, fruits, caramel sauce, nuts, candies and chocolate.

You'll be amazed at the sophisticated, great-tasting inspirations they came up with that don't take a lot of work in the kitchen. Make them a day or two or three in advance and keep stashed in the freezer until serving time.

Feel free to tinker with the recipes and substitute your favorite ice cream/sorbets flavors, cakes, fruits, cookies, etc., providing they complement the other ingredients.

Working fast is essential with ice cream. Although some of the recipes call for a bit of freezing/hardening time before adding another layer of ice cream/sorbet, we found that if you work fast it was feasible to just continuously layer all at once until the pan was filled. Also, it was easiest and quickest to layer ice cream/sorbet straight from the carton by simply cutting into rounds or pieces and filling in the spaces with additional smaller cut pieces.

If softening the ice cream is required, do so only slightly, otherwise you'll end up with a big, melted mess.

Be sure to clear a large enough space in the freezer ahead of preparation time so the dessert has a little breathing room and won't be touching other items.

Keep these desserts frozen until serving time. For ease in slicing, use a sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry.

BAKED ALASKA

(Sherry Yard, pastry chef, Spago, Beverly Hills)

This easy, sensational-looking creation is inspired by an individual baked Alaska that Sherry Yard had on the dessert menu when the restaurant first opened. You can make it a few days in advance and keep it frozen. Vary the ice cream/sorbet flavors as desired. Although the dessert was made in a loaf pan for the photograph, it's feasible to assemble in a springform pan, says Yard, in which case you'll need to line the pan bottom with cake slices and then top with layers of sorbets/ice creams. Then just simply remove the springform ring before covering with the meringue.

If desired, serve slices with a raspberry sauce whipped up in a jiffy by cooking a cup of raspberries with 1/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water until broken up. Then strain and add 1 cup fresh raspberries.

1 pint strawberry OR raspberry sorbet

1 pint apricot OR orange sorbet

1 pint vanilla bean ice cream

1 pint melon sorbet OR chocolate ice cream

1/2 (cut lengthwise) of a 15-ounce package chocolate pound cake, cut lengthwise into 3/8-inch-thick slices

6 egg whites

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Line a 9 1/2 x 5 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting edges hang over several inches. Working quickly, layer flavors in the following order, making layers as even as possible: strawberry, apricot, vanilla and melon.

Top with pound cake slices, covering ice cream completely. Fold over plastic wrap. Freeze 6 hours or overnight, until firm.

Up to a day or 60 minutes in advance of serving, with an electric mixer, beat egg whites with 1 tablespoon sugar to soft peaks. Continue beating, adding remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, 2 to 4 minutes or until meringue reaches stiff peaks.

To assemble, remove cake from freezer and turn upside down on a shallow foil-lined baking pan so cake is on the bottom. Remove plastic wrap. With a spatula or knife completely cover ice cream with meringue so no ice cream is showing. Make a peak pattern on top of meringue with a table knife. (OR make meringue using 8 egg whites and 2 cups of sugar; after covering cake completely in meringue, using pastry bag and star tip, pipe on remaining meringue in desired design). Return to freezer a minimum of 45 minutes or overnight.

To bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Remove Alaska from freezer and bake in preheated 500-degree F oven 50 to 60 seconds. Turn and bake 50 to 60 seconds longer, until golden brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning.

Remove to serving plate. Cut into slices with a sharp (hot) knife and serve immediately with raspberry, strawberry or chocolate sauce on the side, if desired. Freeze any remaining cake. Makes 10 or more servings.

MILE HIGH RASPBERRY MANGO PIE

(Jan Purdy, pastry chef, Max, Sherman Oaks)

A lovely, refreshing pie to have freezer-ready when friends drop by. If time is at a premium, forgo making the Mango Sauce and opt for a store- bought one. Or streamline the sauce by simply pureeing some fresh mango in a food processor with a little lime or lemon juice and stirring in some cut-up mango pieces. A versatile pie, you can change the fruit sauce and sorbet flavors with the seasons, if desired.

Coconut Crust

2 pints vanilla bean ice cream

1 pint raspberry sorbet

1 pint mango sorbet

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted

Fresh raspberries for garnish

Mango Sauce

Prepare and cool Coconut Crust. Spread 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream in cooled crust, slightly mounding up in center. Freeze 15 minutes to set. Spread 1/2 pint raspberry sorbet over ice cream and freeze 15 minutes to set. Spread all mango sorbet over raspberry layer and freeze again to set. Spread remaining 1/2 pint raspberry sorbet over mango layer; freeze to set. Spread remaining 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream neatly on top and freeze pie 4 hours or until thoroughly frozen.

Just before serving, whip cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks. Using a pastry bag and tip, pipe rosettes of cream around edges of pie. Sprinkle coconut in center of pie. Return to freezer, if desired, or serve, cut into slices, immediately. Garnish with fresh raspberries and Mango Sauce. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

COCONUT CRUST: Blend 15 cookies (from a 13-ounce package of shortbread macaroons) in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add 2 tablespoons softened butter and 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut; blend until crumbs are moistened. Firmly press crumbs onto bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven about 10 minutes, until crust is lightly toasted. Cool completely.

MANGO SAUCE: Skin, core and dice 2 large (1-pound) mangoes into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside. Boil 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently swirl pan - do not stir - until caramelized a pale amber, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, add mangoes and toss well. Cook 2 minutes more over medium-high heat until fruit absorbs caramel and becomes slightly translucent. Cool and serve with pie slices.

VANILLA, MILK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL TERRINE

(Kimberly Boyce, pastry chef, Campanile, Los Angeles)

Be sure the chocolate coating has cooled to a spreading consistency before you attempt to frost this ice cream terrine. Work quickly but carefully and stash the dessert back in the freezer as soon as possible to firm up. Gild slices with a store-bought caramel sauce enhanced with milk chocolate. Another time, try varying the flavors of the ice cream, nuts and sauce.

2 quarts high-quality fudge-swirled vanilla ice cream

1 cup unblanched whole roasted, salted nuts

2 (5.3-ounce) packages shortbread fingers

Chocolate Glaze

1 (10- to 12-ounce) jar high-quality caramel sauce

3 to 4 ounces milk chocolate

Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting edges hang over several inches; place in freezer.

To assemble terrine, soften ice cream slightly to a smooth, creamy consistency (do not let melt or get too soft). By hand fold in 1/3 of almonds. Quickly layer 1/2 of ice cream evenly in prepared pan. Gently place 1 box shortbread fingers on top of ice cream. Repeat with remaining ice cream and shortbread fingers. Freeze until solid, 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

To finish terrine, remove from freezer and spread a thin layer of cool Chocolate Glaze over exposed part of terrine. This will be the bottom. Freeze until firm, 30 to 40 minutes.

To glaze top, remove terrine from pan using plastic wrap to assist. Flip terrine over (chocolate side will be down) on a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan. Ladle cool Chocolate Glaze over terrine until it is covered completely in chocolate. Return to freezer until firm, a few hours or overnight.

Just before serving time, combine caramel sauce and milk chocolate in a glass cup. Microwave on high power until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

To serve, cut terrine into 3/4-inch slices using a hot, sharp knife. Evenly spoon milk chocolate caramel mixture onto dessert plates. Place a slice of terrine on each plate and garnish with remaining roasted almonds. Makes 10 or more servings.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Finely chop 1 pound bittersweet OR semisweet chocolate. Place in a large microwave-safe glass measure with 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter. Microwave on high power 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until smooth when stirred. Stir in 2 tablespoons corn syrup and 2 tablespoons brandy until well blended. Set aside to cool.

TWO-TONE APRICOT-PECAN ICE CREAM CAKE

(Natasha MacAller, pastry chef, Union Restaurant, Santa Monica)

Patterned after an ice cream sandwich that Natasha MacAller serves at the restaurant, this showstopper sports layers of chocolate and butter pound cake along with two layers of ice cream. The top is spread with melted semisweet chocolate (use the microwave), drizzled with white chocolate and topped with salted toasted pecans. Accompany slices with a divine apricot sauce that goes together in minutes with dried apricots and orange juice.

1 (15-ounce) chocolate loaf cake

1/2 of a 12-ounce butter loaf cake

1/2 of a 10-ounce jar apricot all-fruit jam

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened

1 pint butter pecan ice cream, softened

Apricot Sauce

1/2 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Line sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with plastic wrap, letting edges overhang. Cut loaf cakes lengthwise in half and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces.

Layer 1/2 of chocolate cake on bottom of springform pan tightly tucking bits of cake in all spaces.

In a small mixing bowl, stir jam until broken up and as smooth as possible. Gently fold in softened vanilla ice cream. Spread vanilla-apricot ice cream on top of cake in pan.

Then top evenly with all butter pound cake slices, being careful not to press too hard into soft ice cream layer. Add all of pecan ice cream, making an even, smooth layer. Top with remaining chocolate cake.

Fold edges of plastic wrap over top and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Place a pie tin on top and then weigh down with a 2- to 3- pound can. Place in freezer and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight until firm.

Meanwhile, make Apricot Sauce (can be prepared the day before serving and refrigerated).

An hour or two or just before serving, remove cake from freezer and allow to stand 10 minutes. Toss pecans with salt in a small bowl and set aside. Place semisweet chocolate chips in a small glass cup and microwave on high power about 30 to 60 seconds, until just melted and smooth when stirred. Melt white chocolate in microwave on medium power in a second glass cup. Remove springform ring and plastic wrap from cake and turn upside down on a serving plate.

Quickly pour semisweet chocolate over top of cake smoothing with a spatula and letting some of it run down sides. Using a fork, stir white chocolate and drizzle over semisweet chocolate. Quickly sprinkle pecans on top before chocolate sets.

Serve cake immediately or return to freezer for an hour or two. Cut into wedges with a hot sharp knife and serve with a pool of Apricot Sauce. Garnish with edible flowers, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

APRICOT SAUCE: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup dried apricots, 3 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice and 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Gently simmer 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside until needed (refrigerate if not using within an hour or two of preparation).

CAPTION(S):

8 photos

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) Baked Alaska

(2 -- color) Sherry Yard, Spago

(3 -- color) TWO-TONE APRICOT-PECAN ICE CREAM CAKE

(4 -- color) Natasha MacAller, Union

(5 -- color) Jan Purdy, Max

(6 -- color) MILE HIGH RASBERRY MANGO PIE

(7 -- color) Kimberly Boyce, Campanile

(8 -- color) VANILLA, MILK CHOCOLATE CARAMEL TERRINE

Tina Burch/Staff Photographer
COPYRIGHT 2002 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Aug 28, 2002
Words:2226
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