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Valentine Food Fantasies : What is the food of romance? : The Crema of Dessert

February 14, 1991

"The wonderful part of this dessert," says chef Mario Martinoli of Mario's Cooking for Friends, "is the contrast of the caramel sauce and la crema: hot/cold, soft/chewy."

CREMA AI CARAMELLO

1 quart whipping cream

1 pint milk

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

8 large egg yolks

1 large egg

Caramello

Combine cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Mix egg yolks and whole egg without beating. Combine eggs with cream mixture and mix well. Let stand 5 minutes then pass through fine strainer.

Fill 12 to 14 individual souffle molds or custard cups with mixture and place in bain-marie 2/3 full of very hot water. Bake at 275 degrees 40 to 45 minutes (center will be soft). Remove, cool and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, heat Caramello slowly and spoon hot over cold crema. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Note: Recipe may be cut in half.

Caramello

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/3 cup water

2 cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in heavy saucepan and bring to light boil. Cook over medium heat until light brown.

Remove from heat and whisk in cream. Return to heat and bring to boil over medium-high heat until slightly thickened. Add lemon juice, stirring continuously until mixed. Remove from heat and set aside.

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