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Zwieback Cream Pie, Eggplant Soup


DEAR S.O.S.: I've lost all of my "good recipes," including one for zwieback pie, made from crushed baby toasts and homemade vanilla pudding, topped with a high meringue. It was delicious.


DEAR JOANNE: Here is a recipe much like the one you've described, though we thought a topping of whipped cream better complemented the vanilla cream filling.


3 cups half and half or whole milk

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

Zwieback Crust

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons crushed zwieback crumbs

Combine 1 1/2 cups half and half and 1/4 cup sugar in saucepan. Heat to scalding, stirring occasionally.

Combine egg yolks, remaining half and half, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Mix until blended.

When half and half mixture in pan is near boiling, stir in egg yolk mixture. Cook and stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool.

Spoon cooled custard filling into Zwieback Crust. Whip whipping cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream. Shape topping to swirls with back of metal spoon. Dust with zwieback crumbs. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about:

503 calories; 268 mg sodium; 221 mg cholesterol; 32 grams fat; 47 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.01 grams fiber; 57% calories from fat.

Zwieback Crust

1 1/2 cups zwieback crumbs (about 24 biscuits, including topping)

1/2 cup butter

With fingers work crumbs with butter until crumbly. Press onto bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Makes 1 crust.

DEAR S.O.S: I seem to remember a couple of years ago reading about an eggplant soup that was extremely low in calories. Can you help?


DEAR DOTTY: What you're looking for sounds a lot like this Roasted Eggplant-and-Sweet-Red-Pepper Soup, from chef Patrick Healy of Champagne Restaurant. It has only a little more than 100 calories per serving and was selected as one of our 10 best recipes of 1990.


3 large Japanese eggplants

Salt, pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 sweet red peppers

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 quart chicken stock

1 bunch fresh basil

Wash eggplants and split lengthwise in halves. Lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with olive oil to taste.

Roast eggplants at 400 degrees 45 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Puree flesh with skin in blender or food processor. Set aside.

Place peppers under broiler until skins are scorched on all sides. Place in plastic food bag 10 minutes to soften, then peel and remove seeds. Puree flesh in food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Cover to sweat over very low heat 5 minutes. Add roasted eggplant puree and chicken stock to onion-garlic mixture.

Cook over low heat 15 minutes until flavors blend and mixture is heated through. Puree mixture in blender or food processor until smooth, then strain into clean bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut basil leaves into tiny cubes, resembling confetti.

Place each serving of soup in deep bowl. Spoon sweet red pepper puree in center and swirl into soup. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with basil. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

107 calories; 569 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0.43 grams fiber; 65% calories from fat.

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