With Love From
Darling's Kitchen

32. Happy Endings!!

Renny Darling

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The Recipes 

Iced Lemon Cream Pie with
Raspberry Lemon Sauce

The Ultimate Chocolate Cheesecake On
Macaroon Crust

Easiest & Best Apricot Nut Torte with
Whipped Crème Fraiche

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Dear Fans,

 Gather ye round my friends, for I am going to share a few of my thoughts on entertaining.  To begin with, Entertaining is a Labor of Love, but when you take away the labor, all that's left is love.

Entertaining is a world of joys.  It is a world of family and friends.  It is a time for fun and laughter and sparkling conversation...and, always, it is a time to enjoy good company, delicious food and celebrate friendships. For the hostess and/or host, it is a time of excitement and anticipation ... the stage is set and the curtain is going up, as on opening night.

Yet, many people, who love going to parties and enjoy being with friends, secretly dread the thought of entertaining.  The idea of inviting friends for even the most casual dinner, can plunge them into a state of anxiety and nervousness.  No need to shiver or shudder at the thought of all that responsibility.  Let me assure you, right at the start, that Entertaining can be elegant and gracious and exciting...and it really can be fun, too  ... and, all at the same time.

Sitting around a table, with family and friends, sharing a delectable meal, is one of the true joys and loving pleasures of life. But it is only a joy if you are THERE, loving and enjoying every moment of it.  If you are in the kitchen, hectic and breathless and nervous, you will be wishing the whole affair would be ended...and chances are, your guests will feel uncomfortable for putting you through so much trouble.

I have dedicated myself, in every one of my books, and columns and lectures to the theme of enteraining with style and grace and WITHOUT a trace of worry or fear.  The recipes I create are easy, can be prepared in advance and need only to be heated before your party.  This will add to your fun and sparkle; your confidence and poise. It will make your guests happy and comfortable, too...happy and relaxed to be with you.

A good recipe is delicious and creative. but must also be foolproof with no last minute irritating chores.  A good recipe allows you to be a guest at your own dinner party...except for a little trip to the kitchen to pop a dish in or out of the oven.  This is true for the most casual to the most formal of dinner parties.  A good recipe says, "I like you." to your guests. It also says,  "I like YOU, too," by minimizing the labor in the kitchen.

My main emphasis is for you to develop confidence and poise and security, through the avenue of food ...
FOR WHEN YOU FEEL CONFIDENT...
THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT!

A Happy & Joyous New Year
Renny Darling

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Iced Lemon Cream Pie with
Raspberry Lemon Sauce

There is no iced dessert that is easier or more beautiful than this one. It is a variation of a recipe I shared with you in "The Joy of Eating" except this one is made a little lighter with half-and-half. This is a great dessert after a hefty meal.

            2   packages (12 count, each) ladyfingers, split in half.  The
                    lady fingers used to line the sides of the pan should be                     cut in half again. This is a low dessert.

          1  cup whipping cream
          1  cup half and half
          4 tablespoons lemon juice
       1/2 lemon, finely grated.  Remove any large pieces of membrane
         1 cup sugar

Line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Now, line the bottom and sides of the pan with ladyfingers, holding them in place with a smidgen of butter.

In a bowl, place the remaining ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Pour this into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.  Remove from freezer, and using the parchment paper to help you, slide dessert onto a serving platter.  To serve, cut into thin wedges and spoon a little Raspberry LemonSauce on top.  Serves 10 to 12.

Raspberry Lemon Sauce:
            1 package (10 ounces) frozen raspberries in syrup,
                  defrosted
            1 tablespoon lemon juice, or a little more to taste.

Simply stir ingredients together until dissolved. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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The Ultimate Chocolate Cheesecake On
Macaroon Crust

This is one IMPRESSIVE dessert that is also immensely delicious.  If you love cheesecake and are "mad" about chocolate, this is a little treasure you will use often.  It is a dense filling, so please don't overbeat. You do not want too much air incorporated in the filling. Just beat until blended, no more.

            1    tablespoon butter
            1    cup macaroon cookie crumbs

      1 1/2    pounds cream cheese, at room temperature (3 8-ounce
                        packages)
            1    cup sour cream, at room temperature
            3    eggs, at room temperature
        3/4     cup sugar
           2     teaspoons vanilla

           1    package (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

In a 10-inch springform pan, spread the butter on the bottom and sprinkle crumbs evenly over all.  Set pan aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla until blended.  Do not overbeat.  Beat in the melted chocolate until blended. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool and them refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Overnight is good, too.  Decorate top with a generous sprinkling of grated chocolate. To serve, cut into wedges and keep the portions small.  Serves 12.

Note: -Can be prepared 1 day earlier and stored in the refrigerator.

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Easiest & Best Apricot Nut Torte with
Whipped Crème Fraiche

Perhaps one of the easiest and most delicious desserts (if you love apricots and walnuts) is this marvelous chewy torte. It is tart and fruity and the frosting is the perfect accompaniment. Pecans can be substituted for the walnuts.

3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup sugar

1 cup soda cracker crumbs
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, beat together whites and sugar until mixture is creamy. (No need to beat until stiff peaks.)

In a food processor, chop apricots with sugar until apricots are finely chopped, but not minced. Add apricots and the rest of the ingredients to the beaten egg whites, and stir until everything is nicely blended.

Spread mixture evenly into a greased 9-inch deep dish pie plate and bake at 350-degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan.

When cool, swirl top with Whipped Crème Fraiche. Decorate top with a sprinkling of finely grated toasted walnuts and 1 or 2 glaceed cherries. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Overnight is good, too. Serves 8.

Whipped Crème Fraiche:
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream

Beat cream with sugar and vanilla until stiff. Beat in sour cream until blended. (Can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to frost torte.)

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The entire contents of this book are copyrighted and protected by
both United States copyright laws and international treaty provisions.
None of the contents, art or text, may ever be reproduced, in original or
modified form, -- including photocopying -- for any commercial or
other purposes, without express written permission from Renny Darling.