Last Valentine's Mr. Borscht and I made the horrible mistake of trying to eat out to celebrate the special occasion. What we ended up with was 45 minutes of sitting in bumper to bumper to traffic only to get a mere 10 blocks away from where we had started. So thus I've learned my lesson, don't eat out for Valentine's which is the reason why I'm cooking a very special something this year. Planning a special dinner for my husband is always one of the more funner moments in the kitchen for me: What should I start with? What would be a great side for that fish? Wine or champagne? And of course, what's for dessert?- The most important part of the meal! For Valentine's anyways.
So, what is a Valentine's Day worthy dessert? That is the questions. I've tried making two different desserts, both Valentine's Day worthy, both very simple to make. Chili Chocolate-Covered Strawberries and Chocolate Pots de Creme.
. . . CHILI CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRIES . . .
Chili Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (recipe by Claire Robinson of 5 Ingredient Fix) adds a touch of I LOVE YOU with just a bit of heat from the chili. The most difficult part of making the Chili Chocolate-Covered Strawberries will probably be finding the appropriate strawberries, not only do they need to be red, beautiful looking and sweet but the recipe also suggests getting the long stemmed strawberries, which I have yet to see in Los Angeles. Never the less I tried the Chili Chocolate-Covered Strawberry recipe with regular strawberries. The strawberries were fruity and delicious and the bite of dark chocolate with a tang of heat from the chili was fantastic, a rather exotic and exciting take on a classic Valentine's Day dessert. Take note that leaving the green stems on the strawberries will make for a better looking dessert.
6-oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon ground pure chili powder, such as ancho
10 large strawberries with long stems
In a heat-proof mixing bowl, add the chocolate, cream, and butter. Place over a smaller pot of simmering water. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted.
Stir in the chili powder and mix until fully incorporated.
Hold each strawberry by the long stem and dip into the chocolate allowing the excess to drizzle back into the pan. Place chocolate covered strawberries on a parchment or waxed paper lined sheet tray. Once chocolate is cool, chill until fully set, about 30 minutes.
. . . CHOCOLATE POTS DE CREME . . .
Chocolate Pots de Creme, sounds fancy doesn't it? But really Chocolate Pots de Creme (recipe by Food Network Magazine) is just a fancy way of saying chocolate mousse, although kids would probably call it pudding. In my opinion however, this dessert rightfully deserves to be called in the fancier term, "Chocolate Pots de Creme", while it is a simple dessert to make that requires very few ingredients the Chocolate Pots de Creme is rich and... decadent. Yes, decadent. The texture is smooth and soft, and when served with whipped cream (to make it all the prettier) the coolness of the whip pairs beautifully with the rich silky sweetness of the chocolate creme. The Chocolate Pots de Creme is the winner for my night!
0-oz high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Place the chocolate in a blender.
Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula [or spoon], until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes.
Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed.
Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the confectioners' sugar with a mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de creme with whipped cream. [I also added a tsp of vanilla extract into my whipped cream].