Two chilled desserts, light and creamy Essay

Two chilled desserts, light and creamy



If you crave something light and creamy at the end of a special
meal, these two chilled make-ahead desserts fit the bill of fare. One is
dark with chocolate and shaped in a loaf to slice; the other is cool
with the underlying tang of sour cream and shaped in individual
portions.



Slices of pound cake, drizzled with liqueur, cap the molded
desserts as they are made, and become a base when you serve them with
vanilla custard sauce.



Freeze the extra pound cake; or slice thinly, toast, and serve with
these desserts.



Molded Chocolate Cream



1 slice frozen or freshly baked loaf-shaped pound cake, cut 1/2
inch thick and slightly larger than 4 by 8 inches



1 package unflavored gelatin


1/4 cup cold strong coffee



6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped



3 egg whites



1 cup whipping cream



1 teaspoon vanilla



1/4 cup creme de cacao or cream sherry



1 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated



Candied lilac or candied rose petals (optional)



Vanilla custard (recipe page 192)



Press open side of a 4- by 8-inch loaf pan through the cake slice
to make a piece that just fits the pan opening. Wrap cake slice
airtight and set aside.



In a 1-quart (or smaller) pan, sprinkle gelatin onto coffee; let
stand until gelatin is moistened, about 5 minutes. Stir over
medium-high heat until liquid. Remove from heat and add chopped
chocolate; stir until melted. Let stand until about room temperature
but still soft.


Whip egg whites until they hold soft peaks. With the same beater,
whip cream until it holds soft peaks. Gently fold together whites,
cream, chocolate mixture, and vanilla. Pour mixture into loaf pan and
lay reserved cake slice on top; press gently to settle firmly and make
level. Sprinkle cake with creme de cacao. Cover and chill at least 4
hours or up to 2 days.



To unmold, dip pan up to rim in hottest tap water just until sides
begin to melt slightly. Slip a knife around the edge of pan. Invert dessert onto a small serving platter, shaking gently to release.
Lightly pat grated chocolate on top of dessert and garnish with candied
flowers. If desired, cover and chill up to 1 day.



Pour about half of the vanilla custard around loaf. Cut into
3/4-inch slices and spoon remaining custard over individual portions.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.



Sour Cream Clouds



1 frozen or freshly baked loaf-shaped pound cake (about 1 lb.)



1 envelope unflavored gelatin



3/4 cup sugar



1/4 cup cold water



1 1/2 cups sour cream



1 teaspoon vanilla



1 cup whipping cream



2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur



Vanilla custard (recipe follows)



4 thin slices from 1 small orange, cut into quarters



8 small mint sprigs



Cut 3 or 4 lengthwise slices, each 1/2 inch thick, from pound cake
(save rest for other uses). Select 8 plain 1/2-cup-size metal molds.
Press open side of a mold through cake, cutting 8 pieces that fit the
opening of the molds. Wrap airtight; set aside.



In a 1- to 2-quart pan, mix gelatin and sugar. Add water and stir
over medium-high heat just until simmering. Remove from heat, whisk
into sour cream, and add vanilla. Let stand until at room temperature,
but still soft.



Whip cream until it holds soft peaks; fold into sour cream mixture
until well blended. Fill molds with cream. Gently press a piece of
cake on top of each dessert to settle in place and make level. (Cake can
extend above pan rim.) Sprinkle cake evenly with liqueur. Cover and
chill at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.



To unmold, dip each pan in hottest water up to rim just until sides
begin to melt slightly. Slip a knife around the edges and invert
dessert onto individual plates. Serve, or cover and chill up to 1 day.



Spoon 1/4 cup vanilla custard around base of each serving; garnish
each with 2 pieces of orange and 1 mint sprig. Serves 8.



Vanilla custard. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, stir 1/4 cup sugar with 4
egg yolks until blended. Add 1 cup milk and a 3-inch piece split
vanilla bean (or you can add liquid vanilla later). Cook over medium
heat, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of a metal spoon
in a smooth, thin layer, about 5 minutes (don’t let custard scald
or it will curdle).



Remove custard from heat and pour through a fine strainer. Rinse
bean and let dry (store for future use in a tightly closed jar of
sugar–it flavors the sugar). If you did not use bean, stir 1/2
teaspoon liquid vanilla into custard. Let custard cool; serve at room
temperature or chilled. Cover and chill up to 2 days.



Photo: Grated chocolate and candied flowers garnish molded
chocolate cream on pound cake base. Slices reveal dessert’s airy
texture



Photo: Dessert mold becomes a cooky cutter when you cut pound cake
to top the molded cream. Invert to serve



Photo: Fluffy white sour cream cloud rests in a pool of vanilla
custard. Orange liqueur flavors the pound cake base