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Posts Tagged ‘desserts’

  1. Ice cream cookie sandwiches

    August 4, 2016 by sarah

    It feels like summer has finally arrived; the schools are off so my commute to work takes half the time, the weather is warm enough to consider putting on a skirt or a dress (needs to be above 20°C for cold blooded me!), the lawns are looking a little yellow/brown, I can eat a meal outside (at least some of the time), my straw hat sits by the front door for walks in the evenings. And of course, ice cream. Not that I am against eating ice cream at any other time of the year, but in the summer the luxurious iciness seems perfectly, sublimely fitting. Almost  magical, probably from reminiscences of a ‘rose-tinted’ childhood!

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    I was inspired to make this recipe by the ‘delicious’ magazine that fell through the letter box at the weekend – this was the front cover. Though this recipe has several parts, it did not seem onerous to make. I have to admit to actually making the yogurt to go in the recipe, but only because I had excess milk in the house; please don’t bother. The ice cream recipes are supposed to be ‘non-churn’ but the raspberry ice cream was so hard that even after one hour out of the freezer, I needed to use a knife to get it out of the tub!! So I have amended the recipe so that it should not set as hard as concrete. Similarly, do not feel obliged to make ice cream at all; you can buy decent gelato at any supermarket (I admit to having a particular fondness for the cheap mint choc-chip – probably something to do with the Viennettas of the 80’s!).

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    IceCream Cookie Sandwiches

    Makes 10-12 cookies; they will keep in an airtight tin for a few days. The recipes make far too much ice cream for the cookies but it will keep in the freezer for a month.

    FOR THE COOKIES
    100g unsalted butter, soft
    100g caster sugar
    100g demerara sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
    1 medium free-range egg
    1 tsp vanilla paste
    165g plain flour
    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1/4 tsp fine salt

    1. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and grease 2 large baking sheets with flavourless oil. Mix the butter and both sugars with a stand or hand-held mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the egg and vanilla, then beat in the dry ingredients.

    2. Spoon the mixture on the prepared trays; half a dessert spoon was about right. Scatter with extra demerara sugar. Bake for about 8 minutes until golden around the edges and cracking in the middle. Remove the sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before removing with a spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM
    397g can Carnation caramel (I used home made salted caramel sauce as I had it left over from making chocolates)
    350ml double cream
    200ml full-fat greek yogurt
    A large pinch sea salt flakes (if not using salted caramel!)

    In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat until aerated and thick. Transfer to a freezerproof container with a lid and freeze overnight until completely firm.

    FOR THE RASPBERRY ICE CREAM
    350g tub frozen raspberries, thawed then pushed through a sieve (discard the seeds)
    100g icing sugar stirred into the raspberry puree
    400ml double cream
    100ml full-fat greek yogurt
    2 tablespoons of vodka or gin or invert sugar syrup

    In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients until aerated and thick. Ideally churn using an ice cream machine otherwise transfer to a freezerproof container with a lid and freeze overnight until completely firm.

    FOR THE MINT CHOC CHIP ICE CREAM
    350ml double cream
    397g can condensed milk
    1/4-1/2 capful of peppermint extract
    50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
    +/- green food colouring

    In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients until aerated and thick. Add the chocolate chips. Transfer to a freezerproof container with a lid and freeze overnight until completely firm.

    To make the ice cream cookie sandwiches, take the ice cream out of the freezer at least 10 minutes before needed (sometimes they need much longer). Use a spoon to scoop out flattish scoops of ice cream; place onto the bottom side of a cookie and top with a second cookie. Eat immediately or put on a tray and freeze again for up to 24 hours.

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  2. Damson bavarois with roasted damsons

    October 18, 2015 by sarah

    Here is a lovely seasonal recipe which makes fantastic use of a forgotten fruit. Don’t be put off by the steps needed as the result it most definitely worth it and any extra freezes well for a few weeks. Damsons are a old fashioned sour type of plum with a very intense plum flavour – far superior to anything in the shops. I find these in local hedgerows or the car park of a National Trust property south of London! A bavarois is very similar to a mousse but is usually based on a creme anglaise: in this case the egg yolks are beaten over heat. Pureed fruit or chocolate and gelatine are added, and after an initial cooling the bavarois is aerated with lightly beaten whipping cream. When allowed to stiffen in the freezer or refrigerator the bavarois acquires its characteristic creamy, airy texture.

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    This recipe is slightly modified version found here at The British Larder, a restaurant in Suffolk which I am dying to visit (they were fully booked when we tried to go there on a spur of a moment last year).

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    Damson Bavarois with Roasted Spiced Damsons

    For the spiced baked damsons
    250g damsons, halved and stoned
    125g soft brown sugar
    1 teaspoon mixed spice

    For the damson bavarois
    300g damsons, stones in but washed
    100ml cold water
    150g caster sugar
    5 medium free-range egg yolks
    3 sheets of gelatin, bloomed in cold water
    300ml double cream

    mini amaretti biscuits to serve

    To prepare the baked damsons, preheat the oven to 200 °C/180 °C fan. Spread the damson halves out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment (this really helps with washing up later!). Sprinkle over the brown sugar and spice and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring a couple of times until the damsons have turned all jammy. Allow to cool and store in fridge until needed (up to a week).

    For the damson bavarois, you first need to prepare a puree. Place the washed damsons and water in a medium pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the damsons have burst and broken down. Remove from the heat and press the mixture through a sieve into a non-metal bowl and place in the fridge to cool down.

    Place the caster sugar, egg yolks and 30ml of water in a glass bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. With a hand-mixer whisk continuously until thickened and pal e yellow in colour (took about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatin until all dissolved and now add the cooled damson puree and whisk in. Whisk the cream in a separate bowl until it reaches soft peak then fold into the egg/damson mixture.

    Spoon or pipe the bavarois mixture into glasses or small ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until set and only then cover with cling film It can then be frozen if required or served with the roasted spiced damsons on top and some dessert biscuits.

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  3. Rhubarb semifreddo

    July 3, 2014 by sarah

    Here is another recipe that uses up eggs. Can you tell that we have an egg glut at the moment? I also didn’t realise that chickens love rhubarb leaves. I wonder if it makes the eggs taste of rhubarb? Anyone noticed? Rhubarb leaves are supposedly toxic due the high levels of oxalates they contain, but either birds excrete oxalates in a different way to mammals or the chickens are slowly poisoning themselves. I have had to resort to netting the plants to prevent the chickens getting to them; for their sake and the poor rhubarb plants!

    This recipe is delectable, especially enjoyed on a lovely sunny evening like today. It tastes like rhubarb and custard in the most unctuous, dreamy state imaginable. Once served, it is cold but not icy like ice cream can be; all the better for taking large bites of. I like to serve this dessert with roasted rhubarb. Roasting the rhubarb means it keeps it shape and dries it slightly so it is not soupy like stewed rhubarb can be. Cut the rhubarb into 2cm lengths, lay single depth on a roasting tray or dish, sprinkle with caster sugar and roast in a medium oven for about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

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    500g rhubarb
    120g caster sugar
    2 egg yolks
    2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
    250ml double or whipping cream
     
    Chop half the rhubarb finely and add to a pan with 100g of caster sugar plus the elderflower cordial. Bring to simmer and with lid off cook until very soft. Puree with potato masher or hand blender or pushing through a sieve. The other half of the rhubarb cut into 2cm lengths and arrange in singe layer on a baking dish, sprinkle with couple tablespoons sugar, cook in oven until soft (about 180 C for 3o-40 minutes). Leave to cool and then store in a ceramic or glass dish in the fridge until ready to serve the semifreddo.
    Make the sabayon base: in bowl over a pan of gently bubbling water, whisk the egg yolks and 20g caster sugar until light and fluffy and pale. They should triple in volume. Take off heat and allow to cool.
    In another bowl whisk the cream to soft peaks then fold in the pureed rhubarb and sabayon.
    Line a 2 lb loaf tin with two layers of cling film. Pour in the creamy mixture. If you have left over meringues or almond biscuits, crumble over the top. Fold over the cling to seal the surface of the semifreddo and place the tin into a carrier bag. Put in the freezer for at least 4 hours, ideally over night. When you want to serve, put the tin in the fridge for half an hour, turn out onto a plate and serve with the roasted rhubarb.
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  4. What to do with all those eggs? Recipe for Creme Caramel

    June 10, 2014 by sarah

    There once was three chickens
    Called Mrs Red, White and Blue,
    They laid so many eggs
    I didn’t know what to do,
    So I made some meringues,
    Ice cream and creme caramels,
    That used up lots of eggs
    And then all was well.
     
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    Mrs Red, White and Blue enjoying the sun in the garden.

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    Mrs Red enjoying rhubarb leaves.

    My girls are currently on full steam with the egg laying. Which means I get at least two eggs every day and three eggs most days so a potential of about 20 eggs a week. Even with selling a box or two at work, it still leaves a lot of eggs for eating! Many are eaten at breakfasts, lunches or light dinners as boiled, poached, scrambled or baked eggs with various accompaniments but this usually leaves a box or two of eggs and me wondering what to do with them. So here is my go to list for inspiration when there are eggs to use and cooking to be done. If I spy a recipe I want to use that uses yolks, I make sure I also have an egg white recipe in mind, and visa versa, though egg whites do freeze well if necessary.

    Savoury
    –          omelette
    –          Frittata/tortilla
    –          Quiche/tarts
    –          Soufflés
    –          Mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce
     
    Sweet – whole eggs
    –          Sponge cake especially Genoese sponge/swiss roll/roulade
    –          Clafoutis
    –          Choux pastry e.g. profiteroles
    –          Pancakes/crepes
    –          Cheesecake
    –          Lemon tart
    –          Bread and butter pudding
    –          Custard Tart
     
    Sweet – whites
    –          Meringue, pavlovas
    –          Angel food cake
    –          Macaroons, of various types
    –          Mousses and soufflés
     
    Sweet – yolks
    –          Lemon curd
    –          Gateau Breton
    –          Custard/creme anglais – therefore accompaniment to stewed fruit or a steamed pudding and of course, the base for making
    –          Ice cream
    –          Crème patisserie – filling for fruit tarts or a base for trifles

     

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    Lovely bowl of fresh eggs.

    And now for the recipe – a delectable smooth and creamy favourite – creme caramel. When homemade, it is a million miles away from the insipid stuff in pots in the supermarket or even the ubiquitous pudding option in any food establishment pertaining to be remotely French. It works because the creamy coolness of the just set custard is counter balanced by a caramel that is a bit acid or tart so you must get enough colour on the caramel to get that.

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    Creme Caramel

     
    500g milk (whole milk ideally or fat reduced milk with splash of cream, though I have used semi-skimmed and it turns out fine)
    1 vanilla pod
    4 medium eggs
    50g sugar
     
    Caramel – 50g sugar
     
    Put the milk into a non-stick heavy based pan, split the vanilla pod and add the seeds and empty pod to the milk and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse until ready to use. Heat oven to 150 C/fan 120 C.
    Make the caramel by heating the sugar with 1 tablespoon of water in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. If the sugar is crystallising around the edge of the pan, wipe around the edge with a silicon pastry brush dipped in water. Continue to bubble until a deep golden colour is reached and then pour the caramel directing into the bottom of 4-5 ramekins. Watch out as hot sugar is very hot and will burn. Allow to cool then grease the insides of the ramekins with a little butter.
    In a bowl whisk the eggs and remaining sugar until combined but do not continue to whisk (adding air bubbles at this stage will put air bubbles in your creme). Strain over the infused milk and whisk in. Strain this egg and milk mixture into a jug and use to fill the moulds evenly.
    Sit the moulds in a roasting tin and pour boiling water around the outside until comes half way up ( a bain marie – lovely name, means Mary’s bath) and cook in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until just set (should still wobble a little). Take out of the water and allow to cool entirely and then refridgerate before unmoulding. To unmould, run you finger around the top of the custard to prise it away from the ramekin, sit the base of the ramekin in hot water for 30 seconds then up end over a plate. Serve immediately as the caramel will lose its colour.
     
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  5. French Chocolate Tart

    April 26, 2014 by sarah

    When you read this, we will be on our holidays in Iran. Isn’t modern technology great? I have been so looking forward to this trip; exotic and unknown. I am also looking forward to sharing with you when I get back, especially on the food.

    This recipe is a stand-by for dinner parties or get to togethers because it is thrown together with minimal fuss and made in advance. Despite the speed at which it is put together, the resulting tart is luscious and very chocolaty. The taste depends on the quality of the ingredients so do not skimp and buy the best chocolate and butter you can. Hope you have occasion to use it too; please invite me!

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    Ingredients

    • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
    • 135g unsalted butter, chopped
    • 55g caster sugar
    • 1 tablespoon brandy or orange-flavour liqueur
    • 3 large eggs (total weight in shells 200-220g)
    • ¾ tablespoon plain flour

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    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180 ⁰C/fan 160 ⁰C.
    2. Generously grease a 18cm diameter springform tin. Line the base with baking parchment and grease this too. Wrap the outside of the tin with tin foil so it will be water tight up to half its depth.
    3. In a saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter, chocolate and sugar, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove to heat and allow to cool to below body temperature and add the liqueur.
    4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly until a little foamy. Sift over the flour and then beat in. While whisking the eggs, pour over the chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.
    5. Pour into the prepared tin. Sit the tin in a deep roasting tray and pour boiling water around the edge to come 2cm up the sides of the tin.
    6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are set but there is still wobble in the middle. Take the tin out of the water and cool the tin on a cooling rack until completely cool then remove the cake from the tin. Decorate with icing sugar if wished.

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  6. Rhubarb fool

    April 18, 2014 by sarah

    The first rhubarb of the Spring is a special thing and deserving of a kind of reverence. The first crop from the garden; the start of hopeful bounty from the earth. And then the pale pink to deep red stems that haven’t yet been turned green with age. So here is my homage to the first rhubarb of Spring. Yes, you can buy it at Christmas in the supermarkets but that is not the same as harvesting your own. But if time is pressing, rather than saying there is no time to make a real pudding, cheat and use the excellent ready made custard available to buy. I admit it. I did.

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    Rhubarb Fool

    • 180ml/ half pint of double cream, cold from the fridge
    • Half the amount of the custard from the recipe below or half of a pint/500ml tub of good quality vanilla custard (e.g. Waitrose Madagascan vanilla custard)
    • Medium bunch of fresh spring rhubarb
    1. Cook the rhubarb – I like to chop the rhubarb into short sections and put in a shallow baking dish with a good sprinkling of caster sugar and bake in a medium oven for 20-30 minutes until soft. Alternatively you could do the same in a pan on the hob. Allow the rhubarb to cool fully.
    2. Whip the cream until soft peak stage.
    3. Fold together the whipped cream, custard and rhubarb which should be in roughly equal proportions i.e. a third of each. Carefully spoon into pretty glasses and refrigerate until required.

     

    Proper English Custard

    Ingredients

    • 570ml/1 pint milk (whole milk or add some cream to reduced fat milk to same volume)
    • 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 eggs, yolks only
    • 30g/1oz caster sugar
    • 1 level tablespoon cornflour
    1. Bring the milk (with cream if adding) and vanilla pod to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
    2. Remove the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the milk.
    3. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
    4. Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
    5. Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract at this point if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened. Take off the heat and cover with cling film so that the cling sits on the surface of the custard so that a skin does not form.

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  7. Quintessential Quinces – Apple and Quince Tart

    December 28, 2013 by sarah

    I bought these quinces a few weeks ago at the Waddesdon Christmas food fair. They had been sitting in the fruit bowl, staring at me, taunting me, ‘go on then, you bought me, now cook me’! Everything I read said they were devils to cook; impossible to peel and needing long slow cooking otherwise they would stay rock hard and inedible but that the pleasures would more than overcome any trials in cooking them, in fragrance and flavour.

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    I have to say I am disappointed. I had procrastinated about cooking them for several weeks, waiting for this fantastic aroma that is supposed to emanate from them. It didn’t happen so I moved on to cooking with them. They weren’t that hard to peel and chop, or at least my birthday present knives, once sharpened, cut then easy enough. Then I poached them in spiced sugar syrup awaiting the transformation into rose red jewels. Instead of the half an hour of poaching they were supposed to need, they were ready in 15 minutes without a hint of pink. So came the tasting and again disappointment, like a pear crossed with an apple. I had such high hopes for them. In the end two out of the three were eaten on my morning muesli.

    So we come to the recipe. After leaving organisation to the last minute, I realised on Christmas day that I would need to produce some sort of dessert for the friends coming the next day. I raided the freezer and found a packet of puff pastry and in the fruit bowl a lonely quince and some apples. So we have

    French Apple and Quince Cheats Tart
    packet of puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
    2 eating apples e.g. granny smiths, cored but not peeled
    1 lonely quince, peeled and cored
    2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
    icing sugar
    fruit jelly e.g. apricot or quince
     
    Roll out the puff pastry to a square about 30 cm on each side and cut in half so two bits about 15cm by 30cm. If it is ready rolled pastry try and find a way of getting the square or rectangle into two lengths that are not too narrow. Place on baking sheets and put in the fridge until ready to cook.
    Finely slice the apples and quince into a large bowl containing the sugar mixed with lemon juice. Set aside until ready to bake.
    When you want to bake them, preheat oven to 220 C or 200 C if fan.
    Take the pastry rectangles out of the fridge and neatly arrange rows of the fruit slices, alternating quince and apple, so that they overlap by about half a slice but leave a clear border of pastry of about a centimetre around the edge.
    Drizzle over any juices left in the bowl and dust over a thin layer of icing sugar.
    Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
    When they come out, cool on a cooling rack while heating a couple of tablespoons of fruit jelly with a splash of water (in a pan or in the microwave), stir until the jelly has dissolved and then brush over the pastrys with a pastry brush. Serve!
     

    If you are looking for more inspiration for what to do with quinces then see Nigel Slater, he raves about them.

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  8. What to do with eggs and lemons? Lemon Meringue Tart

    November 2, 2013 by sarah

    This week I found an egg mountain in my fridge. Well not so much a mountain as I am not sure if you could stack eggs high enough to make a mountain, but a whole box of my girls’ eggs hiding at the back of the fridge. They are starting their annual moult which is when egg production slumps so these eggs are very precious and deserving of a fitting baking project.

    I am not a fruit pie girl. I suppose it stems from my innate fear of pastry, which I am slowly over coming, and lack of tummy space for a desert after dinner but why should pie be restricted to a particular time of day. In fact, I have enjoyed it for breakfast for several days and though I am sure it would not be good for one to do this on a regular basis, it does have a naughty twinkle-in-the-eye element! And it contains eggs and fruit, what is more healthy than that!

    Lemon Meringue Tart
    Recipe from ‘The Great British Book of Baking’ (BBC Books)
     
    For the sweet shortcrust pastry
    • 175g plain flour
    • 115g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
    • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
    • a good pinch of salt
    • 1 medium egg yolk, with 2 tablespoons ice-cold water
    For the lemon filling
    • 3 medium unwaxed lemons
    • 40g cornflour
    • 300ml water
    • 3 medium egg yolks
    • 85g caster sugar
    • 50g unsalted butter, diced
    For the meringue topping
    • 4 medium egg whites
    • 200g caster sugar
    A 22cm loose-based deep flan tin.
     
    Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like bread crumbs. Using a round-tipped knife, mix in the egg yolk mixture. Knead for a minimal time to bring together. Wrap this in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
    Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and then use to line the flan tin. Prick the base with a fork and put in the freezer for 15 minutes while the oven heats to fan 170. I like to leave a little extra pastry all around the edge to account for shrinkage and then trim this off after the first part of the blind bake as you remove the baking beans.
    Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Heston (de Blummental) likes to use copper coins for this but I’ve never tried this way as I have the beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and trim the edge and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, take out and leave to cool. Do NOT over cook the pastry as it will turn burnt and bitter and it will be getting further baking anyway.
     
    Make the filling by grating the zest of the lemons into a heatproof bowl, adding the lemon juice and cornflour, stirring until a smooth paste is formed. In a pan bring the water to a boil then pour it over the lemon mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When thoroughly combined, tip all the mixture back into the pan and put on the heat, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens. Reduce the heat to a simmer and keep stirring for another minute. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the egg yolks then the sugar and butter. Leave to cool.
     
    Make the meringue topping by whisking the egg whites until soft peaks and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is well dissolved and the resulting mixture is glossy and stiff.
     
    Fill the pie by spreading the lemon mixture over the pastry case then topping with the meringue, making sure the meringue goes all the way to pastry edges. Stand the tart on a hot baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool to room temperature before unmoulding and serving but eat the same day other wise the meringue will weep and liquid will come out of your tart/pie. From searching online, this is a common problem and there doesn’t seem to be any sure way of avoiding it except by eating the pie straight away. No excuse needed!
     
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