Did you know that chocolate contains the same chemical that is produced when you fall in love? When we eat chocolate, Phenylaline is produced in our brains and creates the same feeling we get when we are falling in love. Chocolate and Valentine's Day are a match made in heaven. So this year, instead of buying chocolates, why not make a silky, decadent chocolate dessert? You will score points for taking the time to produce something made from the heart and bring out the inner chocolate artist to impress your Valentine. Working with chocolate is not difficult; it just takes time and a little patience and yet is oh-so impressive.
I adapted this recipe from Ginnie Bivona, author of The Seductive Chef. It's a departure from the traditional chocolate truffle treats, but made with the same ingredients.
Chocolate Truffle Pate with Cheater's Crème Anglaise and Fresh Raspberries
This dish comes from France and is often called a Pave, which translates to "pavers or paving stone" because of its shape. Serve it after a light dinner, and it will add to the romantic atmosphere.
Serves 10 (1 lover and 8 lucky fellow office workers).
16 ounces (1 pound) good quality semisweet
chocolate (Ghirardelli brand is recommended)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate pieces
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
3 egg yolks from pasteurized shell eggs
(available in the dairy section of your grocer)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 cup Cheater's Crème Anglaise (recipe follows)
Cheater's Crème Anglaise
Purchase a pint of your favorite premium vanilla ice cream (don't use fat free). Scoop it out of the carton in a bowl and let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to serving.
1. Line a 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap allowing the wrap to drape over the edges, so that you can remove the loaf easily after it sets.
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan with a pour spout, heat 2 cups cream to almost boiling. (You can do this on the stove or in the microwave in a 4 cup glass measuring cup).
3. While the cream is heating, break up the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates in pieces. Place them in the work bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal knife blade. Process until the chocolate is quite
fine and granular. Then, with the machine running, pour the hot cream through the feed tube and process until smooth, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary.
4. Add the soft butter and pasteurized egg yolks, processing again briefly to incorporate the ingredients. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and process one more time.
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and whack a couple of times gently to knock out any air bubbles, smooth the top with a silicon spatula and refrigerate overnight.
6. To serve, lift out of the pan and turn over gently and place on a pretty plate. Before cutting, run a knife under hot water and
slice. Cut in 1/2 inch slices, and place each slice on a plate. Spoon several tablespoons of Cheater's Anglaise on top. Garnish with a
sprinkling of fresh raspberries.