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A Sweet End to Your Sweet Seder

April 13, 2006
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Below are some sweet suggestions to bring your seder to a fitting end. Enjoy!

Lemon Meringues

This is a fabulous Passover dessert. The three components: meringues, lemon cream and chocolate-dipped nuts can all be prepared 2 to 3 days in advance and assembled right before serving.

Meringue Ingredients:

2 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Lemon Cream Ingredients:

11/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup potato starch
2 cups water
juice of 3 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
3 egg yolks
1 container (8 oz.) whipping cream

Garnishes:

2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tsp. margarine
6 hazelnuts or cashews

For Meringue: Allow the egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. If you are short on time, place the egg whites in a stainless steel bowl and set in in a bowl of warm water for 2 minutes to bring the whites to room temperature quickly.

Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to the lowest possible temperature, 140 degrees to 175 degrees.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the salt about 5 minutes or until soft peaks form; the tips will curl. Gradually add the sugar, beating on high until stiff peaks form; the tips will stand straight and sugar will be dissolved. Fold in vanilla and almond extracts.

Evenly spread the meringues into 12 circles. Flatten slightly so they have a diameter of about 3- to 4-inches.

Place the two baking sheets in the oven for 4 hours. When they are done, remove from the parchment; if the bottoms are sticky in the center, return them to the oven for longer. You want them completely dried out but not browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

When completely cool, place in an airtight covered container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

For Lemon Cream: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and potato starch. Whisk in the water, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice.

In a small bowl, stir the egg yolks with a fork. Add a spoonful of the lemon cream to the eggs. Slowly stir the egg mixture into the lemon cream. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cool for 15 minutes. Cover the top of the filling with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the cream or a skin will form. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days in advance.

In a large bowl, with mixer at high speed, whip the whipping cream. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in three-quarters of the whipped cream into the lemon cream. Reserve the rest of the whipped cream for a dollop on top.

For Garnishes: Over a double boiler or in a microwave, melt the chocolate with the margarine. Roll each nut in the chocolate and gently remove with a fork to a sheet of wax paper. Let stand until chocolate is set and shiny; can be put in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To Assemble: Spread half the meringues with lemon cream. Top with meringues. Place a small dollop of whipped cream on the top of each "sandwich" and top with a chocolate dipped hazelnut or cashew.

Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Frozen Mousse Bars

Raspberry and white chocolate flavors are the ultimate combination in these make ahead frozen mousse bars.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 cup matzah meal
1/2 cup potato starch
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 Tbsps. cold butter or margarine

Filling Ingredients:

2 pints raspberry sorbet, softened
1 bar (4 oz.) white chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream (or non-dairy substitute)

Garnish Ingredients:

fresh raspberries
white chocolate baking bar, shaved for curls

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all crust ingredients except butter in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Cover; process until ingredients are blended (30 to 60 seconds). Add butter; process just until mixed.

Press onto bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

Spread softened raspberry sorbet evenly over cooled crust. Freeze until firm (2 hours). Place white chocolate and a half cup of whipping cream in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high, 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving 2 minutes; stir until smooth. Cool 30 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature.

Beat remaining whipping cream in small bowl until soft peaks form. Gently stir whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Spread over frozen raspberry sorbet. Freeze until firm (2 hours or overnight).

Garnish with raspberries and white chocolate curls just before serving. Store frozen.

Tip: White chocolate curls add the finishing touch as a garnish, and are very easy to make. Warm 1 (4-ounce) bar white chocolate with hands. Gently peel chocolate towards you using a vegetable peeler.

Makes 32 bars.

Approximate nutrients per bar: calories, 120; protein, 1 g; fat, 6 g; carbohydrates, 315 g; cholesterol, 15 mg; sodium, 25 mg.

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse

Chocolate and raspberry are the perfect ending to a very special dinner.

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 squares (1 oz.) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted, cooled
1/2 cup pasteurized refrigerated real egg product
2 tsps. raspberry liqueur, if desired
1/2 pint raspberries

Combine butter and sugar in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add chocolate; continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add egg product; continue beating, scraping bowl often, until very creamy. Stir in raspberry liqueur, by hand, if desired.

To Serve: Place 4 raspberries in bottom of each of 4 parfait glasses. Top with a quarter cup of chocolate mousse, 4 raspberries and another quarter cup of chocolate mousse. Garnish with remaining raspberries. Store refrigerated. Any remaining mousse can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 400; protein, 5 g; fat, 29 g; carbohydrates, 30 g; cholesterol, 170 mg; sodium, 35 mg.

Pineapple Delight Cheesecake

This luscious tropical cheesecake can be made ahead of time for easy entertaining.

Crust Ingredients:

1/3 cup matzah meal
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
4 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, well-drained

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1 tsp. freshly grated orange peel

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Place all crust ingredients except butter in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Cover; process until ingredients are blended (30 to 60 seconds). Add butter; process just until mixed. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (3 to 4 minutes).

Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time and beating well after each addition (1 minute). Add sour cream, 1 cup coconut and drained pineapple. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (1 minute).

Spoon cream cheese mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 70 to 90 minutes or until set 2 inches from edge of pan. Sprinkle top with a quarter cup of toasted coconut. Turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven 2 hours.

Loosen sides of cheesecake from pan by running knife around inside of pan. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut and orange peel.

Serves 12.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 540; protein, 9 g; fat, 39 g; carbohydrates, 42 g; cholesterol, 175 mg; sodium, 320 mg.

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