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THE HOME COOK

Holiday Desserts : Back to the Drawing Room

November 18, 1990|MARION CUNNINGHAM

Lemon custard, fresh raspberries and almond cakes floated across many a drawing room tea table in Jane Austen's days. According to her, these were days rich in "disposable time." Time for swinging in hammocks, playing lawn croquet, picnics and long, sociable teas on summer days.

How quiet the atmosphere must have been in those days--no glutted freeways, no radios, no television. Hard to imagine such a quiet life with only the sounds of people talking, dogs barking and children playing.

We can't turn the clock back and perhaps we don't even want to, but lemon custard and almond tea cakes are just as pleasing today as they were around the turn of the century. The Almond Cakes are moistly delicate and nice next to the flavor of the Lemon Custard and Raspberry. Some things are worth preserving. Try these recipes and be reminded that good things are timeless.

LEMON CUSTARD AND RASPBERRIES

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups fresh raspberries, lightly sugared

Put egg yolks in heavy-bottomed pan. Lightly beat with fork. Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat, until mixture is very thick, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Stir occasionally as mixture cools.

Whip cream to soft peaks. Gently stir into yolk mixture. Stir only until mixture is blended. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Serve in individual dessert dishes with raspberries spooned on top. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

The Almond Cakes are very special served warm with chilled Lemon Custard and Raspberries.

ALMOND CAKES

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

1 1/3 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

1 1/4 cups blanched almonds, cut into pieces

Powdered sugar

Cream butter and granulated sugar together until soft and light. Add eggs, beating thoroughly. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk. Mix well and stir in almonds. Spoon batter into buttered muffin tins 2/3 full.

Bake at 375 degrees 12 to 14 minutes, or until center is dry when straw is inserted. Dust tops with powdered sugar. Makes 8 muffins.

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