Oh Valentine's Day! A day of joy, happiness, jealousy, depression, anger and disappointment... There is so much meaning associated with this day... If you are in a relationship, whatever your significant other does somehow represents how he/she feels about you. If you are single, it is the day you want to hide, as your co-worker is sent a dozen beautiful red roses. It is down right silly. A while ago I decided to just embrace Valentine's Day and enjoy it regardless of my current relationship status! Besides, it is a perfect excuse to indulge in delicious chocolate creations, wear too much pink, decorate everything with hearts and remind your loved ones that you love them. Of course, I am also human and my positive attitude does not always shine though...my co-worker will receive flowers and I'll feel a pang of jealousy or my boyfriend will buy me only one rose and I'll begin questioning our relationship...but I am trying and chocolate always helps.
When I saw the event, A HEART FOR YOUR VALENTINE, I could not wait to come up with something. Although in lieu of a sweetheart this year, my roommates happily filled in. I thought of this recipe for a Double-Chocolate Ginger Dessert from La Cucina Italiana, designed specifically for a couple. I had put this on my list of something to make in the future but had never gotten around to it. Chocolate and ginger is one of my favorite combinations so I thought I should give it a try. This recipe defies my mother's mantra "that if you can read, you can cook." It is very sparse and assumes you have a certain degree of skill. It also calls for baking in small 3' by 4' pans which are very hard to find so I decided to play with the recipe, incorporating hearts and this is what I came up with...
Double-Chocolate Ginger Dessert
(adapted from La Cucina Italiana January-February 2006)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
5 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate, divided into 2 ounces and 3 ounces
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoon butter, chopped into pieces
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
1. In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream and candied ginger, set in the fridge for an hour to infuse.
2. Preheat oven to 350º.
3. Melt 2 ounces of the chocolate in a small sauce pan slowly on low heat.
4. Remove from heat and add the butter, stir until melted.
5. Pour the chocolate mixture into a cool bowl and add sugar, flour, and salt.
6. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites at high speed with a mixer until they form stiff peaks.
7. Fold the white eggs into the chocolate mixture.
8. Butter and flour 2 ramekins. Pour the batter into the ramekins.
9. Bake for 30 minutes or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and set aside to cool.
10. Place the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate into a large bowl.
11. Heat the cream/ginger mixture over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer.
12. Remove from heat and strain the chopped ginger out of the cream.
13. Mix the cream into the chocolate, until the chocolate melts.
14. Allow to cool and then using a mixer beat into a mousse (I tried to do this but mine refused to become a mousse so I created more of a chocolate-ginger ganache).
15. Spread the chocolate-ginger mousse/ganache over the cakes in the ramekins (Both of my cakes had fallen in the middle, creating a small pocket for the ganache).
For the chocolate hearts...
1/2 cup white chocolate
1/4 cup milk chocolate
1. Grease the bottom of a pan and the inside of the heart cookie cutters.
2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Heat it for 20 seconds and mix it to help melt it. Continue to heat it for 10 second intervals, stirring in between until it has melted. Be careful not to burn it.
3. Melt the milk chocolate in the same manner.
4. Pour the white chocolate into the pan.
5. Dab the milk chocolate and swirl into the white chocolate with the back of the spoon.
6. Place the heart cookie cutters into the chocolate and put into the fridge to harden.
7. When it is harden, break apart the chocolate and pop out the chocolate hearts.
P.S. Check out the round-up for other yummy heart ideas here.