Light, festive desserts

Perhaps you have noticed how often when it's time for the holiday dessert, no one has appetite left for the rich two-crust pies and heavy fruitcakes. This Thanksgiving or Christmas why not make something special and spectacular, a grand finale for the feast, that will please the eye yet not be as rich and heavy as steamed puddings and pies.

Christmas Torte

11/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

11/2 cups ground fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup whipping cream

In mixing bowl combine cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of 8-inch springform pan. Chill.

In large mixer bowl, combine cranberrries and 1 cup sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Add unbeaten egg whites, orange juice concentrate, vanilla, and salt.

Beat on low speed of mixer until frothy. Then beat at high speed till stiff peaks form. In small mixer bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Fold into cranberry mixture.

Turn into crust. Freeze firm. To serve, remove torte from pan. Place on serving plate. Spoon cranberry glaze in center. Place sliced oranges around outside. Serves 8 to 10.

Cranberry Glaze

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 cup fresh cranberries

2/3 cup water

In saucepan stir together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in cranberries and water. Cook and stir until cranberry skins pop. Cool to room temperature. Do not chill. Makes 1 cup.

Candy Cane Pie

1 9-inch chocolate-wafer crumb crust

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candies

6 eggs, separated

3/4 cup milk

Prepare crust but do not bake. Refrigerate. In medium saucepan stir gelatin with sugar and crushed candy until well mixed. In small bowl, with wire whisk, beat egg yolks with milk just until mixed. Stir into gelatin mixture.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats spoon. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white.

In large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. With wire whisk gently fold gelatin mixture into whites. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until set. Garnish with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.

Chocolate-Wafer Crust

11/2 cups chocolate-wafer crumbs

1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Mix crumbs and melted butter together. With back of spoon, press mixture on bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate.

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