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Grand Holiday Desserts

Holiday meals will keep many of us busy this month and great desserts add to the
joy of these special occasions. Who can resist Creme Brulee or Bananas Foster
as an elegant ending to a favorite meal? And Holiday Meringues are festive when
filled with spumoni, peppermint, or your favorite ice cream. They’re a snap to
make-just don’t forget to let the kids help.

I’ve included two great cake choices this month. The Pineapple Pecan Cake freezes beautifully in bars if you need a dessert in a hurry. And from Kentucky’s Best-50 Years of Great Recipes, my Christmas Cake with Brown Sugar Icing, made with stewed apples and cherries, will show your loved ones how much you care.

Relax and enjoy the season. And from my house-peace to you and yours!

MRS. WHEELER’S PINEAPPLE PECAN CAKE

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour

2 cups white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 cup vegetable shortening or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple

3 eggs

TOPPING

2 cups white sugar

1 stick margarine

1-1/2 cups evaporated milk

1 cup pecan pieces

1 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix all ingredients for cake together and pour in large pan about 9×13 inches (make sure pan is at least 2 inches deep). Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

While cake is baking, combine sugar, margarine, and evaporated milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. After mixture reaches boiling, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add pecans and coconut. Pour over warm cake and serve. This cake can be cut into bars and frozen individually. Serves 20.

BANANAS FOSTER

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons brown sugar, packed

Juice of 1 small orange

1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

4 ripe bananas, sliced lengthwise

4 Tablespoons dark rum

Dash of cinnamon

Vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in saucepan and add brown sugar. Melt sugar, stirring constantly. Add orange and lemon juice and stir until mixture begins to boil. Add banana slices and toss until bananas are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Pour rum into saucepan and mix gently with the bananas and sauce. Remove from heat and ignite rum. Sprinkle cinnamon over bananas and allow flame to burn down. Serve immediately over scoops of good quality vanilla ice cream. Makes 4 servings.

CREME BRULEE

1 cup milk (whole or 2%)

1 cup half-and-half

4 large egg yolks

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a saucepan heat milk and half-and-half to boiling. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla to make a smooth paste. Spoon 1/2 of hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and mix until well-blended. Stir the egg mixture into the saucepan and blend custard well. Cook custard over medium-low heat until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring constantly.

Pour custard into 4 baking cups and place cups in a large baking pan. Fill baking pan with 2 inches of boiling water. Bake 20 minutes until custard is set, then remove cups from pan. Chill 3 hours.

When chilled well and almost ready to serve, turn on broiler. Divide brown sugar evenly and sprinkle on top of each custard cup. Place cups again in large baking pan. Place pan under broiler and heat 3 to 5 minutes until sugar has caramelized. Watch closely so as not to burn. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

CHRISTMAS CAKE WITH BROWN SUGAR ICING

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

3 cups all-purpose flour

Dash of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup stewed apples, sweetened

1 bottle maraschino cherries, chopped

1 cup nuts, chopped (I use pecans)

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add soda to buttermilk. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Add to cream mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Mix until well-blended. Fold in stewed apples, chopped cherries, and nuts. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with icing. Serves 12-14.

ICING FOR CHRISTMAS CAKE

3 cups light brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups milk

6 Tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugars, milk, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring, to 242° using a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until mixture is of spreading consistency. Thin with half-and-half or evaporated milk if icing hardens too fast.

HOLIDAY SPUMONI MERINGUES

3 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Dash of salt

1 cup sugar

1 pint spumoni or your favorite holiday ice cream

Graham cracker crumbs

Have egg whites at room temperature. Add vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until frothy. Gradually add sugar, a little at a time, beating until very stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Cover cookie sheet with waxed paper. Using large pastry bag with star tube, form 5 meringue bowls using 1/2 cup mixture for each. Bake in low oven (275°) for one hour. Let dry in oven for one additional hour. Fill cooled meringues with ice cream and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Makes 5 servings.

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