Make-at-home `sampler' is a dessert lover's dream come true
Have you ever been presented with a dessert menu in an elegant restaurant and found it difficult to make a choice because there was so much to choose from? If you have, you're not alone. And now, some restaurants are offering a dessert ``sampler'' - an alluring prospect for those of us who often share our desserts with our dinner companions. Instead of having to choose a slice of cheesecake or an order of mousse from the dessert trolley, the sampler lets you feast your eyes on an attractive assortment of things like petit fours, apple tart, sorbet, lacy sugar cookies, tiny eclairs....Skip to next paragraph
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Such a sampler isn't that difficult to do in your own kitchen, if you plan well and prepare the treats ahead as much as possible. If the preparation is ``staggered,'' you will find it an easy way to invite guests to a dessert lover's dream come true. Nectarine Tart 1 17-ounce package frozen puff pastry 1 egg yolk 3 tablespoons milk 1 pound nectarines or peaches, peeled, if desired, and sliced thin 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup peach jam Whipped cream
Prepare puff pastry according to package directions. Stack both sheets of pastry and roll out on lightly floured surface to a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Cut two 1-inch wide strips from long end. Cut two 1-inch strips from short end. This rectangle of pastry will be the base for the tart.
In small bowl, beat egg yolk with milk. Brush egg mixture along edge of base. Carefully transfer base to ungreased baking sheet. Place long strips of dough on sides of base and short strips at top and bottom to form rim. Brush top of strips with egg mixture. Pinch seams together. Prick surface of base with fork. Place in preheated 425 degrees F. oven for 18 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool.
In bowl, toss nectarines or peach slices with lemon juice. Drain. Then arrange slices in 2 rows on pastry. In small saucepan, heat peach jam until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Brush over peaches to glaze. Serve with whipped cream. Serves 6 to 8. Kiwi Fruit Sorbet 1 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup light corn syrup 3 or 4 kiwi fruit, pared 5 teaspoons lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Combine water, sugar and corn syrup in saucepan. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Puree kiwi fruit in food processor or blender to equal 3/4 cup puree. Add lemon juice, lemon peel, and sugar mixture. Pour into shallow metal pan. Freeze 1 hour or until firm but not solid. Spoon into chilled bowl and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Return to freezer. Freeze about 2 hours or until firm enough to scoop. Serves 4. Miniature Cheesecakes Crust 21/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 12 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Filling 1 8-ounce package cream cheese 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Cream the cheese with sugar. Add 1 egg at a time and beat well. Add flavoring. Combine graham crackers with butter. Line tiny cupcake tins with midget-size paper liners. Put 1 rounded teaspoon graham cracker crumb mixture in bottom of paper cups and press firmly into place. Add filling slowly to 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Decorate each cheesecake with a piece of fruit or a berry.