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Valentine’s Day Desserts for your Sweetie

While we’re all for spontaneity, a few meals of the year aren’t worth winging it, Valentine’s Day being one of them.  If the idea of sitting  in a crowded restaurant really isn’t your idea of a romance why not stay in with your sweetheart with our special Valentine’s Menu.

If your amorous dinner plans has you creating your own specialties, we have a few desserts that could be a delicious ending to your meal.

Roasted Pear and Vanilla Crisp
makes 1 large or 6 individual crisps

12 pears
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1 fresh vanilla bean pod

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Peel and core pears.  Slice thin.
Arrange sliced pears loosely (this is so they roast well) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place pears in the oven and roast until pears caramelize along the edges, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Place warm pears in a bowl and mix with apple juice.  Cool.
Slice vanilla bean down centre and with the back of a knife scrape out the bean.  Mix brown sugar, oats, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla bean in a large mixing bowl.
Combine half the oat mixture with the roasted pears.  Put mixture in one large or 6 individual buttered oven proof dishes.  Cover with the other half of the mixture.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 350 F.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.
(For added indulgence our pastry chef recommends finishing the crisp with a dusting of powdered sugar, ice cream or fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce.)

Molten Chocolate Cake
makes 4 individual

Ganache (make this a day ahead)
1/2 cup dark semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream

Place chocolate in a bowl.  Boil cream in sauce pot and pour over chocolate.  Whisk until chocolate is melted and all is combined.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on top and let set over night in the fridge.

When ganache is set, make truffles by taking a tablespoon of ganache and rolling them by hand into round balls.  Place in the freezer.  (This recipe will make a few more balls than you need.)

Molten Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bowl over a double boiler.  Mix until completely melted.  Set aside to cool slightly.
Butter and flour ramekins very well making sure to use liberal amount of butter around base of the ramekin.
Combine yolks, eggs and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and place over a double boiler.  Warm the mixture, stirring constantly until eggs are warm and the sugar is dissolved completely.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high until the mixture has doubled in volume and is light and fluffy.  Fold 1/3 of the egg mixture into the chocolate.  Add the remaining egg mixture into the chocolate, stir gently until incorporated.  Sift the flour into the chocolate/egg mix, folding gently.
Divide the batter among the ramekins, filling about 3/4 full.  Place 1 truffle ball into the centre of each cake, making sure it’s just covered in batter.
Regrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place ramekins on a baking tray and bake for approximately 15 minutes.  Cakes are done when top is uniformly coloured and slightly puffed.  Remove from oven and let sit for 3 minutes before unmolding onto a plate.  Serve with your favourite ice cream and fresh berries if desired.

All you have to do is serve…and seduce.

Photo:  Foodie Photography

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