Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's sweets for your sweet!

Last night while lecturing to my class about how to present a nice plated dessert, I mentioned that a memorable dessert must have creamy, crunchy and pulpy or cakey textures. I then asked the class if they know what the most popular dessert in the US is and one gal immediately popped out with, "chocolate lava cake"! Close but no cigar! Actually it is apple pie a la mode, it has all we need for the perfect flavors and textures. 
HOWEVER, for this special sweet day we have the first call... chocolate lava cake. I think that this would be the close second to apple pie right about now. Trends change with time but apple pie seems to remain on top. Chocolate lava is the top winner in restaurants now and with raspberry sauce, crunchy cookie decoration and a scoop of ice cream you have not only all the three main characteristics but two important aspects to the mouthfeel of the dessert, hot and cold. Personally, aside from the flavor, one of my favorite traits of good dessert is hot and cold on the same plate. 
This ought to seduce your sweetie into just about anything you desire!


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 ounces unsalted butter
2 eggs

5 ounces sugar

4 ounces semi sweet chocolate 

4 ounces heavy cream

Do this first so it has time to set up and then roll it into
small balls and refrigerate.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat
proof bowl. In a small saucepan scald the cream and
pour it immediately over the chopped chocolate.
Stir until the chocolate no longer has any lumps appear when you
let it run over the back of your spoon.
Refrigerate until set and then roll into balls. 

Coat each container with butter and sugar.
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl with the butter 
and melt it over a water bath. 
Whip the eggs and sugar on hight until light and foamy.
Fold the egg foam into the chocolate mix.
Now fold in the flour. 
Fill large muffin tins or souffle dishes 3/4 full of batter. 
Drop one of the ganache balls into the center of each one and cover
with the remaining batter.

Bake at 350F for 12- 15 minutes depending on the size of your pans... 
I always do a tester to see the actual time to ensure they come out 
gooey and runny in the centers. 
The cakes will look risen in the center but will still have a wet look to 
the very center of the cake. 
Turn it out immediately onto the plate you will serve it on. 
Serve with vanilla ice cream and a small crunchy cookie and a kiss for
your sweet one! 

If your sweet is not fond of dark chocolate...hard to imagine but... if...

Valentine’s White chocolate Raspberry Crème Brulee

A perfect sweet for your sweet on this romantic day! Creamy, fruity and luxurious, crème brulee is a favorite dessert at restaurants all over the world. It is easy enough to make at home if you have 6 ounce ramekins. These can be the traditional flat ones that are made for crème brulee or the more common soufflé ramekins that you just might have laying around.
In any case you will seduce your love with this dessert so have fun making and eating this creamy creation!

This recipe makes four 6 ounce ramekins

1/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces chopped and melted white chocolate
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 Tablespoon Framboise liqueur
more sugar for the top

You will also need a deep roasting pan big enough to fit your four ramekins.
This is baked in a water bath in a low oven.
Set your oven to 300°F

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and either by hand with a whisk or on the mixer whip until light, meanwhile heat the cream on the stove until scaled, do not boil.
Temper the egg mixture with some of the hot cream by adding it to the eggs and mixing. Then put all the hot cream into the eggs and stir using a spoon. Now mix in the vanilla, salt and melted white chocolate. Mix gently so as not to make bubbles.
Gently toss together the raspberries and liqueur and sprinkle them in the bottoms of each ramekin.
Now place the ramekins in the roasting pan and  carefully ladle the custard mix over the berries. Move the pan to the open oven door and pour hot water into the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins. Very carefully place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until completely set. If the custard has a sloshing motion they are not done yet. It should wiggle like jello and not slosh back and forth.
Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
Immediately before serving, sprinkle the extra granulated sugar over the custard in an even layer. Using a torch or broiler heat the sugar until it caramelizes. You are looking for a brown caramel color for the sugar to harden and have that wonderful crack when you cut into it…
Decorate with fresh berries and savor!


Choclette said...

Think it has to be chocolate lava over apple pie for me - nice as apple pie is. All that molten chocolate gushing out - the stuff of dreams!

chefany said...

I agree with you 100% and I do have chocolate dreams too :)

Simply Life said...

wow that looks so perfect!