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SUPER BOWL XLIII
SUPERBOWL FEB 3, 2008
APPLES APPLES AND MORE APPLES
MEXICAN RECIPES
ASIAN COOKING
MICROWAVE COOKING
SEAFOOD
4th of July Celebration
ALL FOR KIDS
A PERFECT WEDDING
BABY SHOWER
COOKING FOR 2
GRADUATION
KENTUCKY DERBY
LOW FAT RECIPES
NASCAR
PICNICS
PROM DINNER PARTY
SLAMDUNK PARTY
SPRING GATHERING
OCTOBERFEST
TAILGATING PARTY
SOUPS

A SPECIAL WEDDING DAY

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Shower Power

A handbook for throwing the perfect bridal

You've done it again. Your friend is getting married or having a baby, and you've volunteered to make the food for her shower. Don't panic! Our helpful guide will keep you cool, calm, and collected as you turn out perfect party fare. We've got tips galore, as well as selected recipes for dozens of shower-appropriate dishes. And if you really want to go all out, take a look at the step-by-step demo on making stunning petits fours.

General Tips

• Save yourself a major headache by choosing recipes that can be made ahead and served at room temperature. You don't want to be stuck flipping 30 omelets over a hot stove instead of celebrating with your friend.

• Try to pick dishes that people can eat while having a conversation—finger foods encourage mingling.

• If serving hot coffee or tea to more than 10 people, look into renting a coffee urn from a party store so you can brew several pots ahead of time.

• A potluck can be a nice idea. Ask guests (or just the shower cohosts) to bring their favorite dish and a printout of the recipe. The recipes can be put in a binder as a present for the bride or, if you get them ahead of time, you can photocopy them and make booklets to give out as favors. Be sure to have people "sign up" for a certain kind of dish with whomever is tracking the RSVPs — that way you won't end up with 20 batches of brownies. (Even if you don't want to throw a potluck, you can still collect the guests' favorite recipes to make a cookbook for the bride).

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Perfect Petits Fours

Pretty treats to dress up any shower

Technically called petits fours glacés, these lovely little confections make a perfect shower treat. Protected by a coating of poured fondant (a sugar icing that dries a glossy white), they stay fresh for several days, so they're a perfect make-ahead item. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making this recipe:

• Genoise is a simple, eggy sponge cake. With so few ingredients, quality really makes a difference — splurge on pure vanilla extract and you'll be rewarded with extra depth of flavor.

• Don't be intimidated about rolling out the marzipan — less delicate than pastry dough, it's actually fairly easy to work with.

• Good-quality premade versions of poured fondant and royal icing (a mixture of egg whites and powdered sugar that hardens when dry) are readily available, so we didn't think it was worth the extra work to make these components from scratch. In addition, using royal icing mix (in which the eggs are pasteurized) alleviates the health concerns associated with raw eggs.

• For a baby shower, instead of rosebuds, try decorating the petits fours like children's blocks: Using a #2 tip, trace each edge of the cube, then pipe a pink or blue letter on top. You could also decorate the cakes with premade icing flowers (available at cake supply stores), candied fruit, nuts, or piped chocolate.

VANILLA PETITS FOURS WITH RASPBERRY FILLING AND MARZIPAN
Makes 45 petits fours

GENOISE

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering pan
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons high-quality pure vanilla extract (also called "Madagascar bourbon vanilla")

12- by 18-inch sheet or jelly roll pan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter pan and line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each end. Butter paper.

Make brown butter: Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Watch carefully and do not stir. Eventually, bubbling noise will quiet and solids will drop to bottom of pan. When solids have turned dark brown, remove butter from heat and strain through cheesecloth into a medium bowl. Cool to lukewarm.

In the metal bowl of standing mixer, whisk together eggs and sugar. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is quite warm (about 3 minutes). Remove bowl from heat and lock back into mixer base. Using whisk attachment, beat at high speed until mixture has tripled in volume and cooled to room temperature, about 7 to 10 minutes.

While eggs are being beaten, sift flour and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Stir vanilla into brown butter and set aside.

When eggs have tripled in volume, turn off mixer. Sift one third of flour mixture over eggs and fold in gently but thoroughly. Sift and fold in remaining flour mixture, half at a time.

Stir 1 cup of batter into butter-vanilla mixture. Quickly fold butter mixture into remaining batter until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle of oven until top is browned and cake shrinks away from sides of pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack, peel off parchment paper, and cool. Cake can be made and cooled 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

COGNAC SYRUP

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cognac

In a small saucepan bring water and sugar to boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in cognac. Syrup may be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.

ASSEMBLY

1 1/4 cups raspberry jam
12 ounces marzipan
Confectioner's sugar for rolling

Stir jam in a small saucepan over moderately low heat until hot and thinned. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Using a long serrated knife, cut cake into quarters. Cut each quarter horizontally into 2 very thin layers, for a total of 8 layers. Place 1 layer cut-side up on work surface. Brush lightly with syrup.

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Cake is cut into quarters, then each quarter is cut horizontally into thin layers. Only a small amount of syrup is needed to moisten each layer.

Spread with a thin layer of jam. Top with a second layer, cut-side down, and apply syrup and jam in same manner. Add 2 more layers, both cut-side down, in same manner.
Repeat to create a separate stack of 4 layers.

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Create 2 stacks of 4 layers each. First layer of each stack should be cut-side up: other layers should be cut-side down

Knead marzipan (before unwrapping) for a few seconds to warm and soften. Unwrap, press into a disk, and dust with confectioner's sugar. Dust a board and rolling pin with confectioner's sugar. Roll out marzipan to an 8- by 20-inch rectangle and cut into 2
8- by 10-inch rectangles

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Roll out marzipan as you would pie dough and cut into 2 rectangles, each slightly larger than 1 stack of cake.

Carefully lay 1 rectangle of marzipan over 1 cake stack, smoothing top. Use a paring knife to neatly trim edges of marzipan flush with edges of cake. If sides of cake are not even, trim them as well. Repeat with other marzipan rectangle and other cake stack. Chill cakes 1 hour.

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Trim edges of marzipam flush with cake. If cake layers are not stacked perfectly, trim them as well.

Using a long serrated knife warmed in hot water and dried, cut cakes into 1 1/2-inch squares. Use a gentle sawing motion to cut through marzipan layer, then press down to cut through cake. During cutting process, frequently wipe knife with a hot, damp cloth and dry thoroughly.

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Cut cake into squares. To stablize layers during cutting, place palm of hand flat on cake to left of knife.

DECORATION

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups ready-to-use poured fondant (also called roll icing)*
1 pound royal icing mix*
Rose-pink and leaf-green gel food coloring*

2 featherweight pastry bags with couplers*
#1 and #101 decorating tips*

*Available at baking supply stores and from New York Cake, 800-942-2539.

Make simple syrup: In a small saucepan bring water and sugar to boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Place fondant in a metal bowl and attach a candy thermometer to side of bowl. Set over a pan of barely simmering water and stir gently. Do not let fondant get over 105°F, or it will lose its shine. When fondant starts to warm, stir in simple syrup, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is thin enough to pour easily. Turn off heat, but leave bowl over water.

Place a petit four on a fork and hold above fondant. Use a large spoon to pour fondant over cake until completely covered. Scrape bottom of fork against rim of bowl to remove excess fondant, then use a second fork to gently slide petit four onto a wire rack.

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Spoon fondant over petit four to coat, and scrape excess fondant off bottom. Using second fork, slide petit four onto wire rack.

Repeat with remaining petits fours. (Stir bowl of fondant regularly to prevent a crust from forming. If fondant begins to thicken during dipping process, rewarm over pan of simmering water, taking care not to overheat.) Cool petits fours 20 minutes.

While petits fours are drying, prepare royal icing according to package instructions. Transfer half of icing to a medium bowl. Add pink coloring, a very small amount at a time, and mix with a spoon until icing is evenly pink. Tint remaining icing pale green in same manner. Fit one pastry bag with #101 tip and fill with pink icing. Fit other bag with #1 tip and fill with green icing.

When petits fours are dry, pipe a pink rosebud on each. To make first petal of rosebud: Position #101 tip with wide end touching surface of cake, thin end raised at a 45-degree angle and pointed slightly to the left (about 10 o'clock). Squeeze and pivot the tip (thin end should travel around thick end to about 2 o'clock) to form a fan. Continue squeezing as you raise tip slightly off surface of cake and move it toward you and to the left (ribbon of icing should fold over itself). Stop squeezing and pull away.

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Rotate tip clockwise to pipe a fan of pink icing, then let ribbon of icing fold partly over itself as you move tip toward you and to the left.

To make second petal of rosebud, start with tip tucked to left of inside edge of first petal, wide end down. Squeeze as you lift tip and move it toward you and to the right (ribbon of icing will curve up and over first petal). When you've covered bottom of first petal, stop squeezing, touch surface of cake, and pull away. Pipe rosebuds on remaining petits fours in same manner.

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Tuck second petal around the first one, moving tip up, over and down.

Add green sepals and calyx to each bud. To make sepals: Position #1 tip just below rosebud and pipe 3 short lines up onto bottom of bud (1 line in the middle and 1 on either side). Lines should start from same spot just below bud

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Pipe 3 sepals around bottom of each bud

To make calyx: Insert tip into point where sepals converge just below rosebud. Squeeze for a moment, letting icing build up, then pull away 1/8 inch and stop squeezing

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To pipe calyx, insert tip into point where sepals converge and squeeze to build up a knot of icing, then pull away.

Once assembled, petits fours can be kept, covered, at room temperature for 2 days. Keep dry - fondant will melt if exposed to moisture. Do not refrigerate.

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Continental Breakfast at Home

Here's a new way to party: Make like a five-star hotel with a pastry buffet and all the delicious trimmings

Serves 12

Blueberry-Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Petits Pains au Chocolat

Quick Strawberry-Orange Marmalade

Walnut, Golden Raisin, and Fennel Seed Scones

The Continental breakfast, that room-service favorite, also happens to be a great way to feed a morning crowd. An assortment of pastries and breads means that there is something to please everyone. The cook will be happy, too, because everything can be done ahead.

This menu is as easy as a breakfast Bundt studded with blueberries, scones, and some surprisingly simple petits pains au chocolat. The cake and pastries can be made the night before, and the no-fuss jam a couple of days before that. In the morning, the delicious scones - flavored with fennel seeds, golden raisins, and walnuts - can be whipped up from scratch in about 20 minutes. As friends walk in, the house will be enveloped in a buttery, welcoming aroma.

Instead of the usual orange juice, try one or two of my refreshing and colorful juice mixes (see below). Add a basket of store-bought artisanal breads (think seven-grain, challah, and baguettes) and pots of double-strength coffee. Set it all out, then enjoy the company - and your own handiwork.

Juice Mixology Combine fruit juices and you'll get not only a drink with an impressive depth of flavor but also raves from the crowd. Try one of these combinations or devise your own.

• Mix pear nectar with orange juice, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

• Peach nectar gets some zing with a bit of freshly squeezed ginger juice, which is made by grating ginger onto a kitchen towel and squeezing to extract the juice.

• Puree seedless watermelon in a blender or food processor; add mango or passion fruit nectar and a squirt of lemon juice.

• For a vibrant red drink, blend freshly squeezed blood orange juice with pureed watermelon.

• Banana nectar pairs nicely with pink grapefruit juice.

• Ruby Red grapefruit juice punches up guava nectar nicely.

• For a homemade version of Hawaiian Punch, mix peach nectar, unsweetened cranberry juice, and orange juice.

• Pineapple juice, pear nectar, and peach nectar combine to make a delicious drink.

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BLUEBERRY-BUTTERMILK BUNDT CAKE

Using frozen blueberries in the batter will keep the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the pan as the cake bakes.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups frozen blueberries

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 10-inch-diameter Bundt pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 2/3 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in orange peel and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Fold in blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.) Transfer cake to plate, sift powdered sugar over, and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

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PETITS PAINS AU CHOCOLAT

These delicious small pastries are easy to make, and they're sure to disappear quickly.

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17.3-ounce package), thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares
1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
4 3.5-ounce bars imported bittersweet or milk chocolate, each cut into six 2x3/4-inch pieces

Sugar

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush top of each puff pastry square with egg glaze. Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of 1 pastry square. Roll up dough tightly, enclosing chocolate. Repeat with remaining pastry and chocolate. Place pastry rolls on baking sheet, seam side down. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pastries with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate remaining egg glaze.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush tops of pastry rolls with remaining egg glaze. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24.

QUICK STRAWBERRY-ORANGE MARMALADE

Celebrate the start of strawberry season by making this delicious spread. The fresh berry flavor is deepened by the cinnamon.

3 cups halved hulled strawberries (about 16 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup orange marmalade (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

Place strawberries in heavy medium saucepan; stir in sugar. Let stand until juices are released, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cook strawberry mixture over high heat 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add marmalade and cinnamon stick pieces; bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture is thick enough to coat spoon, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)

Makes about 2 cups

WALNUT, GOLDEN RAISIN, AND FENNEL SEED SCONES

The fennel seeds add a nice dimension to these tender scones.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter large baking sheet. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, blend mixture until coarse meal forms. Whisk egg yolks and buttermilk in small bowl to blend. Slowly stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Gently stir in raisins, walnuts, and fennel seeds. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead gently just until smooth, about 4 turns. Divide dough in half; pat each half into 6-inch round. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg glaze. Bake until scones are light brown, about 17 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12.

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Wedding in the City for 50

CITY WEDDING MENU:

Dried Apricots with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Smoked Caviar and Hummus on Pita Toasts

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Merguez Sausage Alban Vineyards Central Coast Viognier '98

Grilled Charmoula Lamb Chops

Spicy Lemon-Marinated Shrimp

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon

Broiled Eggplant with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Beet and Jícama on Endive with Garlic Yogurt Dressing

Alsonso Olives Boutari Nemea '96

WHITE CHOCOLATE AND LEMON WEDDING CAKE

PREPARATION


1 month ahead
• Bake cake layers and freeze

6 days ahead
• Make filling for grape leaves
• Make syrup for cake

5 days ahead
• Stuff grape leaves and cook
• Make spice mixture for lamb chops

3 days ahead
• Make marinated shrimp
• Make cream-cheese frosting
• Drain yogurt for dressing
• Reheat sweet potatoes and rolls

2 days ahead
• Make hummus for hors d'oeuvres
• Marinate lamb chops
• Toast pita triangles for hummus hors d'oeuvres
• Make yogurt dressing for endive

1 day ahead
• Thaw cake layers
• Grill lamb chops
• Prep for couscous
• Cook eggplant
• Prep for endive with beets and jícama
• Assemble and crumb-coat cake tiers

Day of wedding
• Assemble and decorate cake
• Make vinaigrette for eggplant
• Assemble couscous
• Assemble dried-apricot hors d'oeuvres
• Assemble hummus hors d'oeuvres
• Reheat lamb
• Assemble endive with beets and jícama

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DRIED APRICOTS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PISTACHIOS


To ensure you get moist, beautiful-looking apricots, avoid those sold in boxes and bags that you can’t see through. If you buy Turkish apricots, keep in mind that they’re usually sold pitted but whole and, unlike most California apricots, will need to be halved horizontally.

Active time: 40 min. Start to finish: 1 hr.

150 dried apricot halves (2 lb.)
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios, 1/2 of them toasted
1 lb. soft mild goat cheese, chilled

Toss apricots with juice and let stand, tossing occasionally, 20 minutes.

Chop all pistachios, preferably by hand, and season with salt. Drain apricots, cut sides up, on paper towels. Top each with a small chunk of cheese and sprinkle with nuts.

Cooks' note:
• You can assemble these 1 day ahead and chill them, covered, but they can’t be stacked and will take up a lot of refrigerator space.

Makes 150 hors d'oeuvres.

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SMOKED CAVIAR AND HUMMUS ON PITA TOASTS

Using a pastry bag to pipe the hummus onto the pita toasts saved us a lot of time (and made for nice-looking hors d'oeuvres). You can make your own pastry bag with a heavy-duty plastic bag. Just spoon the hummus into the bag and squeeze it into one corner. Then snip off the corner to make a small hole and begin piping.

Active time: 1 hr. Start to finish: 1 hr.

10 (5- to 6-inch) pita pockets
3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
For hummus
4 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
2 (15 1/2-oz.) cans chick-peas, rinsed
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup stirred tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup water

11 1/2-oz. jar smoked whitefish caviar

Garnish: 160 small fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Toast pitas:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Halve pitas horizontally and stir together oil and paprika. Brush rough sides of pitas with paprika oil and season with salt. Cut each pita round into 8 wedges and bake in single layers on a large baking sheet in middle of oven 10 minutes, or until crisp.

Make hummus:
Finely grind cumin seeds in an electric coffee/spice grinder. Purée chick-peas in a food processor with cumin, garlic, parsley, tahini, lemon juice, and salt and add enough water to make smooth.

Assemble hors d'oeuvres:
Put hummus in a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip. Pipe a scant 1/2 teaspoon onto each pita toast and top with 1/4 teaspoon caviar.

Cooks' notes:
• Pita toasts may be made 2 days ahead, cooled, and kept in sealable plastic bags at room temperature.
• Hummus can be made (without lemon juice so parsley remains green) 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Stir in lemon juice just before assembling.

Makes 160 hors d'oeuvres.

 

STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES WITH MERGUEZ SAUSAGE

While this recipe isn't terribly difficult, it is labor-intensive. We recommend you break it up into a couple of steps: Make the filling, then enlist a friend or two to help you do the rolling the following day.

Active time: 5 hr. Start to finish: 6‚ hr.

3 1/2 (1-lb.) jars brine-packed Greek or California grape leaves
3 large lemons
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
1 1/2 lb. merguez or hot Italian sausage
3 cups finely chopped red onion
10 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup dried currants
4 (14 1/2-oz.) cans chicken broth

Prepare leaves:
Unfurl stacks of grape leaves into a large bowl of water (leaves should remain stacked) and gently agitate without separating leaves. Blanch stacks in batches in a large saucepan of boiling water 3 minutes. Transfer stacks to a colander and refresh under cold running water.

Make filling:
Finely grate zest from lemons and squeeze 1/2 cup juice.

Bring water with salt to a boil in a large saucepan and stir in rice. Cook rice, covered, over moderately low heat until water is absorbed, 17 to 20 minutes, and transfer rice to a large bowl.

Remove sausage from casings and cook in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring to break up lumps, until no longer pink. Cool to room temperature and crumble into 1/4-inch pieces.

Cook onion with 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft but not browned and stir into rice with zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, sausage, nuts, dill, parsley, currants, and salt and pepper to taste.

Fill and roll grape leaves:
Arrange 1 grape leaf, smooth side down, on a kitchen towel. Trim stem flush with leaf (if leaf is extra large, trim to about 5 1/2 inches wide), saving any trimmings. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling onto leaf near stem end and tightly roll up filling in leaf, folding in sides and squeezing roll to pack filling. (Roll should be about 3 1/2 inches long.) Make more rolls using remaining filling in same manner.

Cook grape leaves:
Heat broth just to a simmer and keep warm, covered. Line bottom of a large heavy pot with leaf trimmings and any remaining whole leaves and arrange rolls, seam sides down, close together in layers over leaves, seasoning each layer with salt. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons oil and remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and cover with an inverted heatproof plate slightly smaller than pan, pressing down gently.

Add just enough broth to reach rim of plate and bring to a boil. Cook rolls at a bare simmer, covered with plate and lid, 50 minutes (stuffed leaves should be tender, but filling should not be mushy). Remove from heat and transfer rolls with tongs to large trays to cool, brushing with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until cool.

Cooks' notes:
• You can make filling 1 day before rolling. • Stuffed grape leaves keep, chilled, in an airtight container 5 days.

Makes 150 hors d'oeuvres.

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GRILLED CHARMOULA LAMB CHOPS


We ordered our lamb chops ahead to allow time for the butcher to french them to the eye (to trim them of all fat and scrape the rib bone clean). This not only makes for a nice presentation but also makes it much easier for guests to pick them up.

Our chops, cost $400 and were by far the most expensive part of this wedding menu. Sounds like a lot, we know, but just think what a caterer would charge.

Charmoula is a fragrant, spicy Moroccan marinade and sauce often used with fish and seafood.

 

Active time: 1 1/2 hr. Start to finish: 3 1/2 hr.

3 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 cup paprika (not hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic (1 large head)
100 lamb rib chops, frenched to the eye (about 17 lb. frenched)
4 cups chopped fresh cilantro (4 large bunches)

Break cinnamon sticks into 1-inch pieces and finely grind in batches in an electric coffee/spice grinder with coriander, cumin, and cloves. Stir together with paprika and cayenne.

Stir together 1/4 cup oil and 1 tablespoon garlic in a large bowl and add 25 lamb chops, tossing to coat. Season with salt and toss with 1/4 cup spice mixture and 1 cup cilantro to coat. Transfer coated lamb to sealable plastic bags and coat remaining meat in same manner. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours.

Prepare grill.

Season lamb with salt and grill in batches on an oiled rack about 4 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on the other for medium-rare. (Alternatively, broil lamb under a preheated broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat.) Serve lamb warm or at room temperature.

Cooks' notes:
• Spice mixture may be made up to 1 week ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.
• Lamb chops may be marinated up to 1 day and/or grilled (or broiled) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat the chops in batches, in single layers in shallow baking pans, in a 425°F. oven 8 minutes, or until chops are heated through.

To make 6 servings:
Follow the directions above using the following ingredient amounts:

1 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
3 whole cloves
2 tablespoons paprika (not hot)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 (8-rib) racks of lamb, frenched to the eye (about 2 3/4 lb. frenched)
4 cups chopped fresh cilantro (4 large bunches)

Serves 50.

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SPICY LEMON-MARINATED SHRIMP


Terms like large and jumbo can vary among fishmongers. In this recipe we used what are known universally as "U 16/20s" (16 to 20 of them make a pound). We asked our fishmonger to shell and devein the shrimp for us. It cost a little more but saved lots of time.

The dried Aleppo chile flakes we call for in this recipe are from the Aleppo province of northern Syria. Their earthy, robust flavor—with more richness than heat—is famous throughout the Middle East.

Active time: 1 hr. Start to finish: 9 hr.

8 large lemons
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1 1/2 cups white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried Aleppo or New Mexican chile flakes or 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
8 tablespoons coarse salt
1/4 cup pickling spices
10 lb. large (U 16/20) shrimp, shelled and deveined
Remove zest from lemons with a vegetable peeler and remove any white pith from zest strips with a sharp knife. Squeeze 1 1/2 cups lemon juice. Finely grind coriander seeds in an electric coffee/spice grinder. Whisk together zest, juice, coriander, vinegar, oil, water, sugar, chile flakes, and 6 tablespoons kosher salt in a large bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved.

Bring an 8-qt. pot of water to a boil with pickling spices and remaining 2 tablespoons salt and cook shrimp, 2 lb. at a time, 1 1/2 minutes, or until just cooked through. Return water to a boil between batches. Transfer cooked shrimp with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain and add warm shrimp to marinade, tossing to coat.

Cool shrimp slightly and divide among about 8 large sealable plastic bags with marinade. Stack bags in a large roasting pan, keeping shrimp in single layers. Marinate, chilled, turning bags occasionally, at least 8 hours.

Drain shrimp before serving.

Cooks' note:
• You can marinate the shrimp up to 3 days.

To make 6 servings:
Follow the directions above using the following ingredient amounts:

1 large lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Aleppo or New Mexican chile flakes or 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons pickling spices
1 lb. large (U 16/20) shrimp, shelled and deveined

Serves 50.

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ISRAELI COUSCOUS WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PRESERVED LEMON


A U-shaped peeler with a horizontal blade (available at most supermarkets) makes peeling the squash easier.

Here it’s okay to pulse the parsley in a food processor rather than chop it by hand, but pat it dry with paper towels first.

Active time: 45 min. Start to finish: 1 hr.

1 preserved lemon
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 3/4 cups Israeli couscous or acini di pepe (tiny peppercorn-shaped pasta), about 1 lb.
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Halve lemons and scoop out flesh, keeping both flesh and peel. Cut enough peel into 1/4-inch dice to measure 1/4 cup. Put lemon flesh in a sieve set over a bowl and press with back of a spoon to extract juice.

Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil and salt to taste in a large shallow baking pan and spread in 1 layer. Roast in upper third of oven 15 minutes, or until squash is just tender, and transfer to a large bowl.

Cook onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to turn golden. Add to squash.

Cook couscous with cinnamon stick in a large pot of boiling salted water 10 minutes, or until just tender, and drain in a colander (do not rinse). Add couscous to vegetables and toss with 2 tablespoon oil to coat.

Add lemon peel and juice, parsley, nuts, raisins, ground cinnamon, and salt to taste. Toss to mix well.

To adapt this recipe to serve 50:

Active time: 3 hr. Start to finish: 3 hr.

4 to 5 preserved lemons
5 lb. butternut squash, peeled and seeded
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil
3 cups chopped onion
7 cups Israeli couscous or acini di pepe (tiny peppercorn-shaped pasta), about 3 lb.
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups pine nuts, toasted
2 cups golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Halve lemons and scoop out flesh, keeping both flesh and peel. Cut enough peel into 1/4-inch dice to measure 1 cup. Put lemon flesh in a sieve set over a bowl and press with back of a spoon to extract juice.

Cut enough squash into 1/4-inch dice to measure about 12 cups and toss with 1/3 cup oil and salt to taste. Roast in single layers in batches in your largest shallow baking pan in upper third of oven 15 minutes, or until just tender.

Cook 1/2 of onion in 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to turn golden. Add to squash. Repeat with remaining onion and more oil.

Cook couscous with cinnamon sticks in an 8-qt. pot of boiling salted water 10 minutes, or until just tender, and drain in a colander (do not rinse). Toss couscous with 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add squash, onion, lemon peel and juice, and remaining ingredients. Season with salt (you’ll need a lot) and toss to mix well.

Cooks' note:
• Preserved lemons may be prepared and squash, onion, and couscous cooked (toss couscous with a little oil) 1 day ahead and chilled separately in sealable plastic bags. Bring to room temperature before combining.


Makes 6 servings.

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BROILED EGGPLANT WITH CILANTRO VINAIGRETTE

Active time: 40 min. Start to finish: 1 hr.

25 small (4-oz.) eggplants
1 3/4 cups olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat broiler.

Halve eggplants lengthwise. Brush cut sides with 1/4 cup oil and season with salt. Arrange as many eggplants, cut sides up, as will fit in 1 layer on rack of a broiler pan and broil 2 to 3 inches from heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn oven setting to 450°F. and move pan to middle of oven. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining eggplants.

Blend remaining 1 1/2 cups oil and remaining ingredients in a blender until emulsified.

Serve eggplants at room temperature, drizzled with vinaigrette.

Cooks' notes:
• Eggplants may be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
• You can make the vinaigrette without lemon juice 8 hours ahead (with lemon juice, only 1 hour ahead) and chill it, covered.

To make 6 servings:
Follow the directions above using the following ingredient amounts:

6 small (4-oz.) eggplants
8 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Serves 50

BEET AND JICAMA ON ENDIVE WITH GARLIC YOGURT DRESSING

Active time: 1 hr. Start to finish: 9 hr.

For dressing
32 oz. whole-milk plain yogurt
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
For salad
2 lb. trimmed beets
2 1/2 lb. jicamas (about 1 1/2) 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 Belgian endives

Make dressing:
Drain yogurt in a large sieve lined with double thickness of cheesecloth, chilled, at least 8 hours. Stir drained yogurt with garlic, mint, and salt to taste.

Make salad:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Wrap beets in foil and roast in middle of oven 1 1/4 hours, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Cool beets. Peel beets and jícamas and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Toss with sugar, zest, orange juice, vinegar, oil, fennel, and salt to taste.

Stir lemon juice into a large bowl of cold water. Cut ends from endives and separate into leaves. Soak in lemon water 10 minutes to keep endive from discoloring. Drain and spin dry.

Spread some dressing on each leaf and spoon beet salad over it.

Cooks' notes:
• You can make dressing 2 days ahead and chill it, covered.
• Beets may be roasted, and beets and jícama diced, 1 day ahead. But keep separate, chilled, in sealable plastic bags.

Serves 50.

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How to Make a Masterpiece

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WHITE CHOCOLATE AND LEMON WEDDING CAKE
The cake pans, cardboard rounds, and dowels are available at cake and candy supply stores; or call Jane's Cakes and Chocolates at 800-262-7630.

50 servings


LEMON CURD
Make the curd in two separate batches. It's used as a filling between the cake layers and as a component in the mousse.

Makes about 10 1/2 cups

6 cups sugar
9 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh lemon juice
36 large egg yolks
3 cups (6 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Whisk 3 cups sugar and 4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups lemon juice, then 18 yolks. Add 1 1/2 cups butter. Cook over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, whisking constantly, about 18 minutes. Transfer curd to medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd. Make second batch of curd, using same amount of each ingredient. Refrigerate at least 1 day. (Can be made 7 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

FROSTING
Make the frosting in two separate batches at least one day ahead. One batch is for the 12-inch cake, one for the other two cakes. Cream replaces butter in this variation of the standard cream cheese frosting, so it's spreadable straight from the fridge. Use heavy whipping cream for the best results.

Makes about 16 cups

16 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped (do not use chips)
6 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
5 cups (packed) powdered sugar (about 1 1/4 pounds)
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

Place 8 ounces chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir just until chocolate is melted, smooth, and just warm (do not overheat); remove from over water. Using electric mixer, beat 3 packages cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in 1 1/4 cups sugar, then warm chocolate. Beat 2 cups cream and 1 1/4 cups sugar in medium bowl until medium-firm peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions. Cover; chill. Make second batch of frosting, using same amount of each ingredient. Refrigerate frosting at least 1 day and up to 4 days.

LEMON-WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Makes about 7 cups

4 cups lemon curd (see above)
14 ounces imported white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped (do not use chips)
1 1/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

Place lemon curd in large bowl and refrigerate. Place white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir just until chocolate is melted, smooth, and just warm (do not overheat); remove from over water. Beat whipping cream in another large bowl until medium-firm peaks form; fold in warm white chocolate. Fold mixture into lemon curd in 3 additions. Cover bowl and chill mousse until cold and set, at least 1 day and up to 4 days.

ORANGE BUTTERMILK CAKE
Use half of these ingredients to make the 12-inch cake and half to make both the 9-inch and the 6-inch cakes. Sift the flour first, then measure it.

11 cups sifted cake flour
11 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
5 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups egg whites (about 20 large)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Position rack just below center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Butter and flour 12-inch-diameter cake pan with removable bottom and 3-inch-high sides. Butter and flour 9-inch-diameter cake pan with removable bottom and 3-inch-high sides. Butter and flour 6-inch-diameter cake pan with removable bottom and 3-inch-high sides. Sift 5 1/2 cups sifted cake flour, 5 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 3 times into large bowl. Mix 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, and 2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla in small bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 1/4 cups sugar, then 3/4 cup oil. Beat in 1 more cup sugar. Beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions, scraping down sides of bowl often. Using clean dry beaters, beat 1 1/4 cups (about 10) egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until whites fall from beaters in thick, puffy (not stiff) ribbon, about 4 minutes. Fold whites into batter in 4 additions. Transfer batter to prepared 12-inch pan.

Bake cake until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes. Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides. Maintain oven temperature.

Make second batch of cake batter following same technique as for first cake and using same amount of each ingredient. Transfer 8 1/2 cups batter to prepared 9-inch pan; transfer 4 cups batter to prepared 6-inch pan. Bake cakes until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for 6-inch cake and 1 hour 18 minutes for 9-inch cake. Cool cakes in pans on racks 30 minutes. Cut around cakes to loosen. Remove pan sides. Cool all cakes completely. (Can be made 1 day before filling and frosting the cakes. Return cakes to pans. Cover with foil and store at room temperature.)

FILLING AND FROSTING CAKES
To make filling and frosting the cakes easier, use tart-pan bottoms or buy cardboard rounds from a cake and candy supply store.

2 11-inch-diameter tart-pan bottoms or cardboard rounds

1 8-inch-diameter tart-pan bottom or cardboard round (cut from 9-inch round)

1 5-inch-diameter tart-pan bottom or cardboard round (cut from 6-inch round)

14 12-inch-long, 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels

Push 12-inch cake up to release from pan. Using large serrated knife, cut off enough of top crust to make cake 2 1/2 inches high. Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers, each about 3/4 inch thick. Using tart-pan bottom or 11-inch cardboard round, transfer top layer to work surface and cover; transfer middle layer to work surface and cover. Cut bottom layer from pan bottom and place on tart-pan bottom or cardboard round. Spread generous 1 3/4 cups mousse over. Drop 1 3/4 cups curd over by tablespoonfuls and spread to cover mousse in even layer
.

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Dollup lemon curd over mousse layer and spread evenly to cover

Refrigerate until mousse and curd are firm, about 1 hour. Using tart-pan bottom, place middle layer on bottom layer. Spread with same amounts of mousse and curd. Using tart-pan bottom, place top layer on cake and press lightly. Refrigerate assembled cake.

Push 9-inch cake up to release from pan. Cut off enough of top crust to make cake 2 1/2 inches high. Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers, each about 3/4 inch thick. Using tart-pan bottom or cardboard round, transfer top layer to work surface and cover; repeat with middle layer. Cut bottom layer from pan bottom and place on 8-inch tart-pan bottom or cardboard round. Spread 1 1/4 cups mousse over. Drop generous 2/3 cup curd over by tablespoonfuls and spread to cover mousse in even layer. Refrigerate until mousse and curd are firm, about 1 hour. Using tart-pan bottom, place middle layer on bottom layer. Spread with same amount of mousse and curd. Using tart-pan bottom, place top layer on cake and press lightly. Refrigerate assembled cake.

Push 6-inch cake up to release from pan. Cut off enough of top crust to make cake 2 1/2 inches high. Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers, each about 3/4 inch thick. Transfer top layer to work surface and cover; repeat with middle layer. Cut bottom layer from pan bottom and place on 5-inch tart-pan bottom or cardboard round. Spread generous 1/2 cup mousse over. Drop 6 tablespoons curd over by tablespoonfuls and spread to cover mousse in even layer. Refrigerate until mousse and curd are firm, about 1 hour. Using large spatula, place middle layer on bottom layer. Spread with same amount of mousse and curd. Using large spatula, place top layer on cake and press lightly. Refrigerate assembled cake.

Spread 2 1/4 cups frosting thinly over top and sides of 12-inch assembled cake as first coat.

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Frost each assembled three-layer tier thinly with a "crumb coat" to provide a smooth, even surface for the final frosting.

Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting thinly over top and sides of 9-inch assembled cake. Spread 3/4 cup frosting thinly over top and sides of 6-inch assembled cake. Chill all cakes 1 hour.

Spread 5 cups frosting over 12-inch cake. Spread 3 2/3 cups frosting over 9-inch cake. Spread 2 cups frosting over 6-inch cake. Refrigerate 6-inch cake.

Place 12-inch cake on platter. Press 1 dowel straight down into center and through to bottom of cake. Mark dowel 1 1/4 inches above level of frosting

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Press one dowel through the center of frosted tier and mark 1 1/4 inches about frosting: this dowel will be the template.

Remove dowel and cut with serrated knife at marked point. Cut 7 more dowels to same length. Press 1 dowel back into center of cake. Press remaining 7 dowels into cake, spaced equally apart and 3 to 3 1/4 inches from center dowel. Chill cake with dowels.

Press 1 dowel straight down into center of 9-inch cake. Mark dowel 1 1/4 inches above level of frosting. Remove dowel and cut with serrated knife at marked point. Cut 5 more dowels to same length. Press 1 dowel back into center of cake. Press remaining dowels into cake, spaced equally apart and 2 inches from center; chill with dowels. (Can be made 2 days ahead. After frosting is firm, cover cakes with cake domes or loosely with foil; keep chilled.)

ASSEMBLY AND DECORATION
Mix of large and tiny white roses and freesias (about 5 dozen)

Place 9-inch cake atop dowels in 12-inch cake.

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Center middle tier atop dowels in bottom tier: finish with top tier.

Place 6-inch cake atop dowels in 9-inch cake. Place large roses between bottom and middle tiers, fitting in tiny roses and freesias to fill space. Fill space between middle and top tiers with mix of flowers.

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Insert flowers between the tiers, filling spaces completely.

BERRY COMPOTE
This fruit compote contributes color and flavor contrast to each serving of the cake.

Makes about 16 cups

8 1-pint containers fresh strawberries, hulled, halved
2 1/2-pint containers fresh blackberries
2 1/2-pint containers fresh raspberries
2 1/2-pint containers fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss to coat. Cover; chill until juices form, at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

SERVING
Place top and middle cake tiers on work surface. Remove flowers and dowels from cakes. Cut top cake into 8 slices. Cut middle cake into 16 slices. Insert knife straight down into 12-inch cake 3 inches from edge. Continue to cut around cake 3 inches from edge, making 6-inch-diameter circle in center. Cut outer ring into 18 slices.

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To serve bottom tier, cut a six-inch-diameter circle in the center: then slice the outer ring first

Cut 6-inch center into 8 slices. Place cake slices on plates; spoon compote alongside each.

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