- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Place steaks on a hot grill, stuff baked potatoes, toss together a salad and prepare a rum-laced chocolate dessert. No, it’s not a special birthday or anniversary; it’s backyard barbecue season and time to honor dad.

Our Father’s Day will be spent at the pool and then in the back yard, where our honoree gets to savor a rare steak, which he will cook. That’s because he’s the best griller in the house.

The rest of us tend to the rest of the meal — the twice-baked potatoes, the nice green salad with arugula and shavings of Parmesan cheese, and a decadent do-ahead dessert that a friend of my mother’s passed along to me years ago.

This dessert is handy because it is made the day before. You begin with a store-bought angel food cake and then make a simple homemade custard on top of the stove.

Flavor some of it with rum or vanilla, some of it with chocolate and then layer the custards with chunks of the angel food cake in a large glass dish. Cover, chill, then serve. No dad will be able to resist.

Five time-shaving ideas for using supermarket angel food cake

• Make a quick tiramisu. Brush slices of angel food cake with sweetened strong coffee, then layer in a pretty bowl with half whipped cream and half sour cream. After a few layers, dust the top with cocoa.

• Place a slice of angel food cake on each plate. Top with sweetened fresh sliced peaches and add a dollop of whipped cream.

• Layer angel food cake slices with raspberry and orange sherbet in a loaf pan. Cover, freeze, then slice and serve with fresh raspberries.

• Frost the cake with a homemade chocolate or caramel frosting. No one will ever guess you bought the cake.

• Slice and serve the angel food cake with a dollop of good store-bought lemon curd. Top with sweetened strawberries or blueberries.

Chocolate custard icebox cake

The preparation time is 25 minutes, and the assembly time is 10 minutes.

CUSTARD:

1½ cups whole milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 envelope (1 ounce) unflavored gelatin

Water

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons light rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla

1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream

CAKE:

1 10-inch angel food cake

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Have ready 1/3 cup cold water.

For the custard, place milk, eggs, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk and cook until froth has disappeared and mixture is smooth and thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Dissolve gelatin in 1/3 cup cold water in a small bowl. Stir into custard.

Working quickly, measure out 1 cup warm custard and place it in a small bowl with the chocolate chips. Stir until chips have melted. Place chocolate custard, uncovered, in refrigerator to chill.

Stir rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla into remaining custard in saucepan. Pour rum custard into a medium-size mixing bowl and place bowl, uncovered, in refrigerator to chill.

Chill a large mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 1 minute. Pour heavy cream into chilled bowl and with an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove rum custard from refrigerator and gently fold in whipped cream. Return to the refrigerator.

Tear angel food cake into bite-size pieces and place in bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

Spread the rum custard evenly over the cake with a rubber spatula. Drizzle chocolate custard evenly over rum custard.

Cover pan with plastic wrap or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Spoon individual servings onto pretty plates, then sprinkle the top with toasted pecans. Makes 16 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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