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EXPRESS LINE : Luxury in a Hurry

November 08, 1990|MINNIE BERNARDINO and DONNA DEANE | TIMES FOOD STYLISTS

CRABS AND CAKES

Steamed Dungeness crab

Sliced avocado, lettuce and tomato salad

Sourdough French bread or garlic bread

Espresso Praline Berry Cake

Sometimes, after a long, busy work day, you need a luxurious meal. Served with wine and lit by candlelight, this easy dinner lets you pamper yourself without the fuss and expense of eating out.

The main course is easy and fast. Simply pop the Dungeness crab, covered, in the microwave on HIGH for several minutes to steam. Melt some butter with crushed herbs, lemon juice or garlic and along with French bread, serve with the crab.

With the time you save, you can make dessert. Dress up packaged angel food cake with espresso-flavored whipped cream and colorful berries. Chopped praline made from caramelized sugar and cashews adds crunch and sweet flavor.

Whipped in the food processor, the cream won't be as fluffy as real whipped cream but it's smoother, richer and more stable. However, watch carefully--whipped cream that spends too much time in the food processor turns into butter.

ESPRESSO PRALINE BERRY CAKE

Staples

Sugar

Butter

Shopping List

1 small can cashew halves

1 pint whipping cream

1 small bottle instant espresso

or coffee powder

1 package angel food cake

1 or 2 baskets fresh berries

1. Place 3/4 cup sugar in small heavy skillet over medium heat. Melt sugar to golden brown caramel, stirring occasionally.

2. Quickly stir in 1/2 cup cashew halves and 1 teaspoon butter. Turn into tray to spread. Cool.

3. Stir together 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder in food processor or mixer bowl and process or whip until soft peaks form. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar and process or whip until stiff.

4. Place praline on chopping board and chop into medium or fine pieces, as desired.

5. Slice 1 package angel food cake into two layers.

6. Fill 1 layer with coffee cream, sprinkle with chopped praline.

7. Cover with remaining layer and ice top and sides with remaining coffee cream.

8. Sprinkle with remaining chopped praline and garnish with berries. Chill until serving time.

Makes about 8 servings.

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