Pastry chef Dorothy Jeanne Allen is the queen of "mise en place." That's a fancy French term for having everything in place, all the given ingredients in a recipe ready and waiting for the cook to use - on Mother's Day, or any day of the year.

Being as organized as that undoubtedly helped Allen win her first recipe contest. The Rich-SeaPak Corp. recently conducted its annual "New Ideas & Great Tastes" cooking competition in Boston. The totally prepared Allen won first place with her Shrimp Crescents, tasty Oriental appetizers that are easy to make.By day, Allen is a pastry chef-instructor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University. By night, she is a wife and the mother of three small children.

In her spare time, she volunteers at a local high school where she works with teenagers interested in culinary careers. And now that she has won her first recipe contest, she plans to enter more cooking competitions.

This busy chef had a hunch that she would have a good chance of winning the shrimp recipe contest if she kept her recipe simple. She also believed that having all her ingredients prepared in advance would keep her cool and calm during the competition. Her hunches proved to be right on the money.

"I like the unusual when it comes to food," Allen said. "And I love Chinese food, especially sesame seeds. So when I heard about this recipe contest, I knew almost immediately what I would create. My first batch was almost perfect. With just a little tweaking, the recipe was ready to be entered in the contest."

This wasn't the first time Allen had created an unusual recipe with an Oriental accent. She is famous for her deep-fried cheesecake, individual slices of rich cheesecake that are wrapped in egg roll wrappers and then deep fried for a most unusual dessert.

Here are Allen's recipes for both dishes.


1 cup cooked shrimp, minced

3/4 cup Ritz crackers, crushed

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon Oriental five-spice powder

Flour, as needed

Egg wash (whisk 1 egg with 1 cup of milk)

Sesame seeds, as needed

Vegetable oil, as needed

Combine the minced shrimp, cracker crumbs, egg yolk, melted butter and five-spice powder to form a dough. Roll dough out to an even thickness, about 3/4 inch. Using a crescent-shaped cookie cutter, cut the crescents out of the dough. (Other shaped cookie cutters may also be used, if desired.)

Place the crescents onto a baking sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

Once frozen, bread the crescents by dipping each crescent into flour, egg wash and sesame seeds. Make sure each crescent is completely coated in sesame seeds. Return the crescents to the freezer until needed.

In a deep frying pan, heat the oil to approximately 360 degrees. Place the crescents in the oil and fry them until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the frying pan; fry just a few crescents at a time. Serve at once.

Makes 24 appetizers.

(Chef's note: If desired, the crescents can be fried to a light golden brown, frozen, and then baked in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The crescents may be served with an Oriental sweet-and-sour dipping sauce, available in most supermarkets.)


1 prepared cheesecake (homemade or store bought)

30 Oriental spring roll wrappers (available in Asian and large su-per-mar-kets)

Egg wash (whisk 1 egg with 1 cup of milk)

Vegetable oil, as needed

Cinnamon sugar, as needed

Cut already-baked cheesecake into uniform pieces approximately 1-by-3 inches in size. One large cheesecake will produce about 30 slices for deep frying.

Lightly moisten each spring roll wrapper with the egg wash. Blot off excess egg wash with paper towel.

Place each piece of cheesecake in the middle of a wrapper. Fold top of wrapper down over the cheesecake and both sides toward the middle. Roll each piece of cheesecake toward you until it is completely rolled up. Give this "egg roll" a gentle squeeze to make sure the dough is sealed com-pletely.

Using a deep frying pan, heat at least 3 inches of oil to 365 degrees. Dip the corner of one "egg roll" in the heated oil. If the oil sizzles, it is ready. If not, heat the oil a little longer. When the oil is ready, gently release "egg rolls" into the oil and allow to brown lightly, approximately 10 seconds.

Using tongs, remove the golden-brown "egg rolls" from the oil. Place each "egg roll" in a bowl of cinnamon sugar and coat well. Place deep-fried slices of cheesecake on paper towels to cool slightly before serving.

Caution: These will be very hot. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving. They can be enjoyed warm or cold.

(Chef's hint: Cinnamon sugar can be made by mixing 2 cups of sugar with 4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.)