Les Heures D'Etienne Chavalier: The Adoration of the Shepherds
...Adoration of the Shepherds
Jean Fouquet
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Nativity, Monastery of San Jacopo Di Ripoli, Early 14th Century
Nativity, Monastery of San Jacopo
di Ripoli, Early 14th Century
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Graduale No.5 Historiated Initial P Depicting the Nativity
Graduale No.5 Historiated
Initial P Depicting the Nativity
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Franchi, Rossello
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The Nativity, Late 15th Century
The Nativity, Late 15th Century
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La Belle Cuisine


Eggnog Cheesecake

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9 whole graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cinnamon sticks

For the crust:  Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375
degrees F. Grind graham crackers, sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
in food processor. Transfer the crumb mixture to medium bowl. Add
melted butter and toss until evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture
over bottom and 1 3/4 inches up sides of 9-inch springform pan. Freeze
crust until cold, about 10 minutes. Bake until just beginning to brown,
about 8 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and allow to cool.
For the filling:
  Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl of
electric mixer until very smooth. Add rum, brandy, vanilla and nutmeg,
beat to blend.  Reduce speed to low. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after
each addition until just blended. Spoon filling into crust. Bake until filling
is puffed, very light brown and softly set in center, about 45 minutes.
Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 30 minutes. (Center may fall
slightly.) Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
For the topping:
  In medium bowl whisk sour cream, sugar and vanilla
to blend. Pour mixture gently over cheesecake, filling center depression
and spread evenly to edges. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Transfer
the cheesecake to rack and cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut
around sides of pan to loosen. Release pan sides. Sift the ground
cinnamon and nutmeg over cheesecake.  Arrange cinnamon sticks
in center and serve.


Almond Pear Torte with
Whiskey Custard Sauce

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Whiskey Custard Sauce:
6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups half-and-half
6 tablespoons single malt Scotch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Almond Whiskey Génoise:
2/3 cup sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons single malt Scotch
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,
melted and cooled to lukewarm
1/2 cup finely ground almonds

Pear Filling:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium Bartlett pears (about 1 pound),
peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon single malt Scotch

Confectioner's sugar

For custard: Blend egg yolks with sugar in medium bowl. Bring
half-and-half to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Slowly whisk
half-and-half into egg mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir
over low heat until mixture thickens and leaves path on back of
spoon when finger is drawn across, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to
bowl. Stir in Scotch and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
Cover and refrigerate. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead.)

For génoise:  Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350
degrees F. Butter two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Cut
parchment circles to fit bottoms. Dust pans with flour. Gradually
beat sugar into eggs and continue beating until pale yellow and
slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted. Blend in
Scotch and almond extract. Stir half of flour over egg mixture.
Fold in gently. Fold in 2 tablespoons butter. Repeat with remaining
flour and butter. Fold in nuts; do not overmix. Spoon batter into
prepared pans. Bake until edges of cake are light brown and cake
pulls away from sides of pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on
rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
(Génoise layers can be prepared 1 day ahead, wrapped in plastic
and refrigerated.)

For filling:  Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add pears and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to
high. Add sugar and whiskey and cook until liquid is reduced to
shiny glaze, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
To serve, place 1 cake layer on large platter. Spread with warm filling.
Cover with second cake layer. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Cut
into 6 wedges. Spoon sauce onto half of each plate. Set cake slice
on other half.

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