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Shouting 'Fore,' Thinking 'Fork'

August 19, 1993|NATHALIE DUPREE

For some, golf is a way to relax and let life sort itself out. For others, it's zen, a mystical experience. For me, it's a time to think about food.

When I golf, I work up a hunger. Most of my summer golfing is done early, to avoid the heat of the day, and by 10:30, I'm thinking of food. Nonstop. I pull out a tee and I think, "tea." What should I fix to serve with iced tea? How about pecan tassies? What about madeleines? Or ladyfingers? They are so light and airy.

Or a wonderful ladyfinger-lined charlotte russe ? No, not for tea, I think. For a dinner party. Or a women's luncheon, out on my patio!

A charlotte russe is so cooling that it slides down your throat. In 90-degree weather, a cold, smooth custard that melds into soft, light ladyfingers sounds like heaven.

I hit the ball, and it arcs high in the air, traveling farther than it has before on that hole. I swell with pride. That's it, I think--I can make the custard on Monday when the course is closed.

*

No wonder this dish is a classic. It looks very regal, with the ladyfingers forming a crown. When you eat it, the delicate ladyfingers melt into the cool, creamy custard, making a perfectly delicious finale to a meal.

CHARLOTTE RUSSE

10 to 12 ladyfingers

5 large egg yolks

Dash salt

1 tablespoon gelatin

1/3 cup sugar

1 2/3 cups milk or 1 cup whole milk and 2/3 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, whipped into soft mounds

Cut circle of wax paper to line bottom of 8-inch charlotte mold. Cut several ladyfingers into tear-drop shapes and arrange on wax paper in mold with points toward center to form flower pattern. Cut points off and fill in center with circular piece of ladyfinger.

Line sides of mold with piece of wax paper. Take remaining ladyfingers and trim ends flat. Place flat ends down and stand lady fingers up along sides of mold, slightly overlapping edges so Bavarian cream won't leak out.

To prepare Bavarian cream, stir together yolks, salt, gelatin and sugar in small, heavy saucepan with wooden spoon until well blended.

Heat milk in saucepan or microwave oven to 170 degrees. Stir several tablespoons into yolk mixture, stirring to dissolve gelatin. Gradually add remaining milk, stirring constantly. Heat mixture over medium-low heat almost to boiling point, 170 degrees. Cook and stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Mixture will be slightly thicker than whipping cream and will leave well-defined streak when finger is run across back of spoon. Immediately remove from heat and pour through strainer. Cool sauce in ice-water bath, stirring with large whisk until whisk marks barely begin to appear.

Add vanilla. Mixture will start to set around edges but will still be very liquid. With whisk, fold in whipped cream until just incorporated. Mixture will be like melted ice cream. Pour into ladyfinger-lined mold. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before unmolding.

When ready to serve, unmold and carefully peel off wax paper. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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