Sweet treats for Valentine’s, or any day

By on February 12, 2014

treatLove makes the world go round, but a little chocolate never hurts.

I have the perfect dessert for your Valentine’s Day meal. It’s a decadent Molten Nutella Truffle Chocolate Lava Cake with Sweet Vanilla Crème Fraîche and Crème Anglaise.

The cakes are individual servings. When you cut into this little cake, you get a big surprise. A river of intense chocolate oozes out.

I like to serve this with sliced strawberries, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and toasted hazelnuts. You will need to start on the crème fraîche the day before serving this. I’m going to walk you step-by-step through and you can believe me, it’s worth every step. And you will thank me later.

You’re welcome!

Let’s start off making the Nutella Truffles.
4 ounces Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup Nutella™
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the butter in the cream. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and Nutella™. Chill for 1-2 hours. Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls. Keep refrigerated until ready to place into the cakes. For any leftover truffles, you can roll them in chopped toasted hazelnuts for an extra treat.

Next, I prepared 6 individual Chocolate Cakes.
4 ounces Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
Heat oven to 400°. Butter 6 5-ounce ramekins. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, whisking to blend. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, mix flour and baking powder.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and yolks with an electric mixer. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add in vanilla and continue beating until light-colored and light.
Gently fold melted chocolate and flour mixture alternatively into egg mixture in three additions. Ladle into ramekins. Place a Nutella™ Truffle in the middle of each ramekin. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until cakes are firm to the touch. Let sit for about five minutes, then run a sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert onto plate. Garnish with sliced strawberries, toasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar, sweetened Crème Fraîche, and Crème Anglaise.

Crème fraîche, in case you’re wondering, is similar to sour cream, only better. It’s very easy to make, but you need to prepare it the day before you’re going to use it.

Crème Fraîche
1 cup heavy cream
1 TB buttermilk
1 TB lemon juice
Stir buttermilk and lemon juice into cream. Cover with a paper towel and let sit overnight at room temperature. The next morning, it will have thickened. Stir until smooth, cover, and refrigerate.

This is your basic Crème Fraîche recipe and you can use it as you would sour cream. It’s quite versatile, because you can season it in any number of ways. For example, if you’re serving a Mexican-style meal, you could add in a bit of lime juice, some cumin, chopped scallions, chopped jalapenos, and cilantro.

I’m making a sweetened version of Crème Fraîche for the Lava Cakes. Simply mix together:
¼ cup crème fraîche
2 tsp sugar
¼ – ½ tsp vanilla extract

Crème Anglaise is a classic custard mixture used as a dessert sauce. It’s rich and smooth and can be served warm or cold with pies, cakes, and fruits.

treat2Crème Anglaise
½ cup skim milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
½ cup sugar
4 large egg yolks, room temperature.

Combine milk and cream. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture. Add in the pod also, for extra vanilla flavor. Cook over medium low heat until small bubbles form around the rim, about 5-6 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat the yolks and gradually beat in sugar. Slowly, drizzle in half of the hot milk mixture, whisking wildly. You do not want the eggs to curdle. This is called “tempering” the eggs and is a technique used in making custards and sauces. Pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan and cook slowly over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens, 4-5 minutes. Strain sauce to remove the beans.

To serve, pour a little lake of crème Anglaise on your plate and place the cakes on top. Spoon crème fraiche over top. Place sliced strawberries around plate. Sprinkle powdered sugar and chopped toasted hazelnuts over top and enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day!

For more delicious delights, please visit with Rosie at Kitchens Are Monkey Business.

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