Great Ideas

UPDATED 01/17/2011 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/17/2011 at 01:00 AM EST

PAULA DEEN'S DECADENT CUSTARD

The Food Network's queen of country cooking whips up a creamy treat that caters to chocolate lovers

BAKED CHOCOLATE CUSTARD WITH BUTTERSCOTCH WHIPPED CREAM

Serves: 6

1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

4 egg yolks

3 tbsp. sugar Pinch of salt

5 tbsp. butterscotch sundae syrup

1. Heat oven to 300.

2. Put chocolate chips in a medium heat-proof bowl. Bring 1 cup heavy cream and milk to a light boil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Pour hot cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt. Whisk in about ½ cup of chocolate mixture. Then add egg mixture to remaining chocolate mixture. Strain custard through a fine mesh sieve, and divide among six ramekins.

4. Put the ramekins in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover pan with foil and poke small holes in the foil. Bake on the center rack until the edges of the custard are slightly set but the center still jiggles, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let custards cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

5. In a bowl, beat remaining cream and sundae syrup with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until thickened. Top each custard cup with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook, courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Avril Lavigne's

QUICK BITES

When playing hostess, the kitchen-savvy singer scores a hit with this crowd-pleaser

BRUSCHETTA Makes 20-25 pieces

1 loaf French bread, sliced in 1-in. pieces

2-3 tbsp. butter, softened

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

6 large basil leaves, minced

Juice of ½ lemon

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter one side of each piece of bread and place pieces on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

2. In a bowl, mix tomatoes, garlic, basil, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Top each piece of bread with about a tablespoon of the tomato mixture. Serve.

Lavigne's new single, "What the Hell," off her upcoming album Goodbye Lullaby, is out this month.

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