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In Praise Of The Potluck

Friends and neighbours in the Carman area sat down to a potluck meal and end-of-the-garden- year talk on a snowy night last week. The last meeting of the year for Carman Garden Club always includes a feast and seed exchange in the Home Economics Room of the local high school.

As per usual, this meal-with-no-particular- menu was delicious.

I love potluck meals; you can do a substantial “taste test” (meaning go back for seconds if you want) on all kinds of things your neighbours are making and baking, and you can ask for the recipe afterwards.

CAFE AU LAIT PIE

A couple more chocolate recipes for enjoying now or closer to Christmas with company. If you like the taste of coffee, you’ll adore this real cream dessert. This recipe is provided courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Crust:

1-1/2 c. finely crushed

biscotti or graham

wafer crumbs

1/3 c. butter, melted

Filling:

2/3 c. sugar

3 tbsp. each: cornstarch

and instant coffee

granules

2 c. 35 per cent real

whipping cream

2 tbsp. butter, at

room temperature

Topping:

1 c. 35 per cent real

whipping cream

2 tbsp. sugar

Cocoa powder

for dusting

Coffee beans (optional)

For Crust:

Stir together cookies and butter. Press onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in preheated 350 F oven 8 min. Cool completely. For Filling:

In heavy saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and coffee granules well. Over medium heat, slowly whisk in cream. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat; simmer one minute stirring continuously. Stir in butter a tablespoon at a time. Pour filling into pie shell. Refrigerate until cold. For Topping:

Whip cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Swirl whipped cream over coffee filling. Chill one hour before serving. Dust with cocoa and decorate with coffee beans.

Prep. time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes Freezing Time: 1 hour Yields: 8 servings

Last week we dined on meatballs, a huge variety of casseroles, and all sorts of vegetable-based dishes. And then we turned our attention to the desserts, bread puddings, truffles and squares, and slices.

Our table’s conversation turned to chocolate, and the variety of ways we bake with it. It was sparked by a wonderful and very light “Christmas log” dessert made with chocolate wafers brought by one of our club members. (See recipe below).

An evening spent eating great food, with friends who share a love of gardening, and who freely offer their own expertise and knowledge of it, is possibly one of the best ways to spend a cold, snowy November evening – especially when there’s chocolate dessert too!

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Here’s a wonderful recipe to get you started on your Christmas baking. This recipe is also provided courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

8 oz. semi-sweet

chocolate

2 tbsp. whipping cream

35 per cent

2 tbsp. Irish Cream

(Bailey’s) or coffee liquor

1/4 c. butter

2/3 c. icing sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. ground hazelnut

(in food processor)

1/2 c. cocoa powder

1/4 c. icing sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Melted butter

In top of a double boiler, slowly melt chocolate with both creams and butter. Once chocolate starts to melt, remove saucepan from double boiler and stir mixture until chocolate has completely melted. Sprinkle sugar over chocolate mixture and pour eggs yolks over the sugar (to protect from heat). Stir quickly. Return mixture to double boiler and cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and add vanilla and hazelnuts. Mix well. Pour mixture into large dish and cover. Let cool until mixture is easy to work. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix well cocoa, sugar and cinnamon. When chocolate mixture is ready to manipulate, cut in small squares. Smear fingers with butter and quickly shape chocolate squares into small balls. Roll balls into cocoa and sugar mixture and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.

Prep. Time: 35 minutes Cooking Time: 2 minutes Yields: 60 to 70 truffles

Sendyourrecipesorreciperequeststo:

ManitobaCo-operatorRecipeSwap

Box 1794, Carman, Man. R0G 0J0

or email [email protected]

CHOCOLATE WAFER LOG

This isJanet Scott of Carman’sslightly modified version of a recipe found on the back of a chocolate wafer box. Janet brought the “Christmas log” dessert, which she made using real whipping cream instead of Cool Whip, and decorated with maraschino cherries and mint leaves she’d picked off a mint plant she rescued from outdoors before the snows arrived. This is a very simple, light dessert made with “Mr. Christie” brand chocolate wafers.

1 pkg. chocolate wafers

1 carton of real

whipping cream

Whip the cream. Spread each chocolate wafer with whipping cream and stack in groups of six. Then place them end to end on plastic wrap to form a roll. Wrap and refrigerate about 2 hours. Then frost with more whipping cream and garnish. The dessert should be cut in diagonal slices to serve.

Makes about 10 servings.

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RECIPE SWAP

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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