Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeggers love their specialty desserts

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Today's column features two desserts, as requested by readers, that are Winnipeg specialties.

Carol Carver was looking for a recipe for Shmoo torte that has been in the Free Press a few times over the years, and it appears again today. Thanks to Cheryl Warkentin, Wanda Urschatz, Lynn Hamilton, Jacqueline Lemoine, Michele LaTourelle, Kristina Goertzen, Deborah Hosey, Mary Normandeau, Helen Pitura, Dolores Campbell, Sharon Tierney, Judy Mahon, and Sybil Finnson of St. Andrews.

Susan Kempin had asked if anyone had a recipe for the halvah dessert served at bar mitzvahs. Thanks to Heather Brenan and Wanda Urschatz who both sent in the recipe re-printed today. Wanda writes that it was in the Free Press 18 years ago in a feature on bar mitvah party delights, and was from the Rosh Pina Synagogue Sisterhood cook book.

Other readers with dessert requests include Sandra Masters, who is looking for a no-bake chocolate apricot cake recipe that includes a crushed chocolate wafer base, apricots (or mandarin oranges) and whipped cream, and is topped with chocolate crumbs. Gloria Petrow has lost a recipe for a lemon loaf that calls for lemon instant pudding and asks if anyone else may have it.

Does anyone have a good porridge bread recipe for a bread machine? Pat Deally says that porridge bread is a favourite , but she has not been able to adapt her conventional recipe for the bread machine she recently received as a gift.

If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an e-mail to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Darlene Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, Man., R2X 3B6. Include your first and last name, address and telephone number. Please note that your recipe may not appear right away due to space limitations.

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Shmoo torte

6 egg whites

6 egg yolks

1 ml (1/4 tsp) cream of tartar

250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar, divided

2 ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla

125 ml (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder

250 ml (1 cup) pecans, chopped fine

Filling

500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream

30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) icing sugar

Sauce

250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter

375 ml (1 ? cups) brown sugar

Oil bottom of a 25 x 10 cm (10-inch) tube pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 160 C (325 F).

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until almost stiff. Add cream of tartar and very gradually add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the granulated sugar.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks until light. Add remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) granulated sugar and the vanilla.

Fold yolk mixture into whites. Then fold in flour and baking powder. Fold in chopped nuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and invert to cool. When cool, remove from pan. Slice cake into 2 or 3 equal layers.

Filling: Whip the 500 ml (2 cups) of whipping cream, sweetening lightly with the icing sugar.

Use to fill between layers and to cover top and sides of torte. Decorate torte with rosettes of whipped cream.

Sauce: Bring 250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream, butter and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and cool. Just before serving, re-warm the sauce and drizzle some over the torte. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Taste Tester Notes: This lovely torte will delight caramel fans. Once the batter is in the pan, you can swiftly rotate the pan to the left and right a couple of times to even out the top. Decorating with the rosettes of whipped cream is optional, and you can also use additional whole pecans to decorate. If plating individual servings, drizzle sauce on each piece instead of over the whole torte. If you like lots of caramel sauce, you can make 1 1/2 or 2 times the sauce, as some readers mentioned that they do.

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Halvah and honey crunch cheesecake

Crust

Unsalted butter, melted

6 phyllo pastry sheets

Filling

3 - 250g (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature

4 large eggs, at room temperature

60 ml (1/4 cup) honey

60 ml (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

60 ml (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

30 ml (2 tbsp) plain yogurt

1 large egg yolk

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

1 ml (1/4 tsp) sesame oil

175 ml (3/4 cup) vanilla halvah, coarsely chopped

Topping

5 phyllo pastry sheets

Unsalted butter, melted

45 ml (3 tbsp) honey

80 ml (1/3 cup) pistachios, finely chopped

80 ml (1/3 cup) toasted sesame seeds

Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 350 F. Lightly brush bottom of 9-inch spring form pan with melted butter.

Crust: Stack phyllo and cut into 9-inch rounds, using pan bottom as a guide. Place one round in bottom of prepared pan and brush with butter. Top with second sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Repeat layering with remaining phyllo and butter. Brush top with butter. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in honey, sugar, flour, yogurt, egg yolk, vanilla and sesame oil. Stir in chunks of halvah.

Pour filling into baked crust; bake cheesecake in 350 F oven for about 35 minutes or until center is just barely firm. Remove from oven and cool completely on rack.

Topping: Stack phyllo and cut into 9 1/2-inch rounds. Butter a heavy baking sheet. Place one phyllo round on baking sheet; brush with melted butter. Top with second phyllo round and brush with butter; repeat layering with remaining sheets and butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut round into 10 wedges. Brush top with melted butter and bake in 350F oven until pastry is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

Using a metal spatula, place baked wedges atop cheesecake, reforming round. Chill cake overnight. Run sharp knife around sides of cheesecake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to serving platter. Drizzle honey over phyllo and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and sesame seeds. Serves 10.

Taste Tester Notes: This different but good cheesecake will please sesame and honey fans. (Halvah is a sweet confection made primarily of sesame seed paste and honey. It is sold in bars or slabs and can be found in some large grocery stores with the specialty cheeses, or in vacuum sealed packages where other Middle Eastern foods are located, and in specialty stores.) If you have not worked with phyllo before, these thin sheets of pastry will dry out very quickly, so only take out as much as you need, and keep covered with a damp tea towel if not using right away. (You can save the large trimmings, wrapping well to re-freeze for another use, such as appetizers). The top layer of the bottom crust may puff up a lot after baking, but the weight of the filling will push it down, or you can lightly score an "X" across it before baking to help keep it flat. If plating individual servings, you can drizzle a bit of extra honey on the plate around each piece.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2008

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