Wendy Robin from Cockeysville was looking for a recipe for a dessert her mother used to make in the '50s and '60s. As she recalls, ladyfingers were used to line the bottom and the sides of a springform pan and there was some sort of a chocolate, mousselike filling. It was served chilled.
Alice Murphy from Providence, R.I., sent in a recipe from the August 1999 issue of Bon Appetit for a Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cake that she thought was probably just what Robin was looking for.
Murphy says she substitutes cream cheese for the butter because she thinks it gives the filling a richer flavor and improved texture, and she also brushes the ladyfingers with Kahlua before she uses them to line the pan. I followed her suggestions when I tested the recipe, and the result was a decadently rich showstopper of a dessert.
This is not difficult to make; the most challenging part of this recipe may be finding the ladyfingers. Fortunately, my local gourmet grocery stocks them year round.
Pat Mooney from Baltimore is looking for the recipe for the shrimp in garlic sauce that is served at Tio Pepe restaurant in downtown Baltimore.
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Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cake
Makes: 12 servings
60 ladyfingers (sponge cake type, three 3-ounce packages)
2 3/4 cup whipping cream (chilled)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar, (plus 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature); cream cheese may be substituted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ounce semisweet chocolate (grated)
1/4 cup or more Kahlua (optional)
Line bottom of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with ladyfingers. Line sides of pan with ladyfingers, standing ladyfingers side by side with the rounded side facing out.
Stir 3/4 cup whipping cream, unsweetened chocolate and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a heavy saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and cool to room temperature.
Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup powdered sugar, butter (or cream cheese) and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl until blended. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture.
Combine remaining 2 cups cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and cinnamon in another large bowl. Using clean dry beaters, beat until firm peaks form. Fold half of whipped cream mixture into chocolate mixture.
Spread half of the chocolate filling into ladyfinger-lined pan. Top with layer of ladyfingers, then remaining chocolate filling. Pipe or spread whipped cream mixture over filling. Sprinkle with grated semisweet chocolate.
Refrigerate until firm, at least three hours. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Remove pan sides from cake and serve.