Christmas cooking, decorating tips

Published: Nov/Dec 2000

Wrapping glass cylinder
with fresh asparagus

Sara Emma Hall, owner of Hart-Hall, Ltd. in Meridian, Miss., explains how
to create a quick and easy table decoration.
1. Stand asparagus stalks around the outside of a glass cylinder and hold them in place with a rubber band.
2. Tie ribbon to cover the rubber band.
3. Add flowers or a blooming plant.

Frosting fruits and flowers

Frosting fruits and flowers can be a clever way to enhance a holiday table, Hall suggests.
To begin, have on hand your choice of flowers or fruit, finely granulated sugar and egg whites.
Here’s what you do next:
1. Wash flowers or fruit.
2. Gently pat dry.
3. Pour sugar into one bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy
4. Using a pastry brush, apply a thin coat of egg white to the flowers or fruit.
5. Sprinkle with the sugar, being sure to cover all sides adequately.
6. Set on a cookie sheet or wire rack for several hours to dry. Then arrange.
7. Rose petals and violets can be layered in wax paper for up to a week.

Chef Patrick Mould’s Praline
Cheese Cake with Praline
(Yields 12-16 slices)

Graham cracker crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

Mix ingredients together in a mixing bowl until moist and crumbly.
Using the back of a large spoon, press crumb mixture firmly on bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan.

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Cream together until light and fluffy.
Beat eggs into cream cheese mixture one at a time until completely incorporated.
Add remaining ingredients and beat until completely incorporated.
Pour batter into springform pan lined with graham cracker crust.
Bake for one hour and 15 minutes. Chill before slicing and topping with praline sauce.

Praline sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Combine all ingredients except pecan pieces in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes
Add pecan pieces and allow sauce to come to room temperature before topping slice of cheesecake. Garnish cheesecake with whipped cream.

Chef Patrick Mould’s
Pecan Pralines

Ingredients (Yields 12-15 pralines)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons cane syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons vanilla
3 cups pecan pieces

Combine white sugar, brown sugar, butter, cane syrup, and evaporated milk in
a saucepot.
Bring to boil, then lower fire and simmer, stirring constantly until temperature reaches 234-degrees Fahrenheit on candy thermometer.
Stir in vanilla and pecans and remove from heat.
Drop by the tablespoon on parchment paper or wax paper. Allow to cool.

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