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 specialmeal, these two chilled make-ahead desserts fit the bill of fare.

One isdark with chocolate and shaped in a loaf to slice; the other is coolwith the underlying tang of sour cream and shaped in individualportions. Slices of pound cake, drizzled with liqueur, cap the moldeddesserts as they are made, and become a base when you serve them withvanilla custard sauce. Freeze the extra pound cake; or slice thinly, toast, and serve withthese desserts. Molded Chocolate Cream 1 slice frozen or freshly baked loaf-shaped pound cake, cut 1/2inch 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 sliceto make a piece that just fits the pan opening. Wrap cake sliceairtight and set aside. In a 1-quart (or smaller) pan, sprinkle gelatin onto coffee; letstand until gelatin is moistened, about 5 minutes. Stir overmedium-high heat until liquid.

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Remove from heat and add choppedchocolate; stir until melted. Let stand until about room temperaturebut 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 andlay reserved cake slice on top; press gently to settle firmly and makelevel. Sprinkle cake with creme de cacao. Cover and chill at least 4hours or up to 2 days.

To unmold, dip pan up to rim in hottest tap water just until sidesbegin 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 candiedflowers. If desired, cover and chill up to 1 day. Pour about half of the vanilla custard around loaf. Cut into3/4-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 theopening of the molds. Wrap airtight; set aside. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, mix gelatin and sugar. Add water and stirover medium-high heat just until simmering. Remove from heat, whiskinto 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 mixtureuntil well blended. Fill molds with cream. Gently press a piece ofcake on top of each dessert to settle in place and make level. (Cake canextend above pan rim.) Sprinkle cake evenly with liqueur. Cover andchill at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. To unmold, dip each pan in hottest water up to rim just until sidesbegin to melt slightly.

Slip a knife around the edges and invertdessert onto individual plates. Serve, or cover and chill up to 1 day. Spoon 1/4 cup vanilla custard around base of each serving; garnisheach 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 4egg yolks until blended. Add 1 cup milk and a 3-inch piece splitvanilla bean (or you can add liquid vanilla later).

Cook over mediumheat, stirring constantly, until custard coats the back of a metal spoonin a smooth, thin layer, about 5 minutes (don’t let custard scaldor it will curdle). Remove custard from heat and pour through a fine strainer. Rinsebean and let dry (store for future use in a tightly closed jar ofsugar–it flavors the sugar). If you did not use bean, stir 1/2teaspoon liquid vanilla into custard. Let custard cool; serve at roomtemperature or chilled. Cover and chill up to 2 days. Photo: Grated chocolate and candied flowers garnish moldedchocolate cream on pound cake base.

Slices reveal dessert’s airytexture Photo: Dessert mold becomes a cooky cutter when you cut pound caketo top the molded cream. Invert to serve Photo: Fluffy white sour cream cloud rests in a pool of vanillacustard. Orange liqueur flavors the pound cake base

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