Bold and strong like Bauhaus font
When I feel your touch
I have been testing and refining this Valentine’s chocolate pot recipe for a few days now – not the toughest of jobs, I know, and I don’t like to complain, but by the time I plan things in advance, test romantic recipes, set up a quirky typography-themed table and photograph it from every angle, it no-longer seems quite the spontaneous romantic gesture I might want for my better half.
However, the typography theme to this shoot got me thinking about words. Words are the personal touch. Putting the effort in to a careful sentence or two; crafting and choosing those words which will really mean something – that’s the rub. We use so many words in our on-line 24/7 lives, but so few which are thought about. My Dad and Grandad were both printers and I’ve always had a fascination with type and words. Due to the time it took to set moveable type, words were once more prized. The time it took to hand write a letter and post it meant those words received were more cared for than an email. And the fact that we couldn’t chat on Facebook once meant there was a proper art to conversation.
And so I think my real Valentine’s gift will be to turn off the mobile and the laptop, write a considered sentence or two, spend some time and have some conversation with the one I love.
There are three different romantic recipes below – a quick and easy Prosecco cocktail, a relatively quick chocolate, coffee and rum truffle pot, and a somewhat more time consuming tuile heart scoop for eating the chocolate pots with in case you have too much time on your hands. If not, I’m sure a good shop-bought biscuit would be equally appreciated – just as long as the mobile phone stays off.
Prosecco and Pomegranate Cocktail
1 bottle of Prosecco
It’s partly about the colour, it’s partly about the fizz and it is all about the preparation so that you can just enjoy the glamour on the night without covering your best romantic threads in bright red pomegranate juice.
Cut the pomegranates in half across the centre, then bash out the seeds into the bowl of a food processor – turn the cut fruit upside down and hit the back of it with a wooden spoon. You may need to pull the flesh apart a little to get some of the last seeds out. You can set a few seeds aside for decorating your drink if you want. Blend the seeds in the processor then pass them through a sieve into a jug so you can keep the freshly made juice in the fridge ready for when you need it. It might be a good idea to taste the juice to check it is sweet enough – pomegranates can have some bitterness to them and you might add a little caster sugar if needed.
Then simply fill a flute a third full with the juice and carefully pour in the Prosecco. Add a couple of pomegranate seed if it takes your fancy.
Chocolate, Coffee & Rum Truffle Pot
100g Dark Chocolate
50ml Strong Coffee (Espresso)
2 tbp Rum
125ml Double Cream
1tbsp Caster Sugar
This one is also all about the preparation – it’s easy to make the day before and needs to set in the fridge over night, leaving you free to enjoy the evening itself.
Chop the chocolate up quite fine with a knife and put in a heat-proof bowl. Add the sugar. Now make the coffee and whilst you do that, heat the cream up on the stove until it is just boiling.
When it is boiling, pour over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and the mix is smooth and glossy. Then stir in the hot coffee and the rum. Finally pour into two (or possibly three as you’ll probably have too much) espresso cups and set in the fridge over night.
Heart Shaped Tuile Scoops
50g Soft Butter
50g Icing Sugar
1 Egg, whisked
50g Plain White Flour
Oven: preheat to 200 centigrade
These tuile scoops are a little harder – a recipe to try if you’ve got time to play and have fun making them. You need to make a heart shaped stencil from an old margarine tub lid or some similar thin plastic. I cut a heart out using a craft knife, and it is probably a good idea to mark the shape out in felt pen first.
Make the tuile paste – beat together the butter and sugar until they are creamy and fluffy. Slowly add the egg whilst whisking so it combines without curdling, although don’t worry too much if it does curdle a little. Finally, fold in the flour.
I have 2 silicone baking sheets for working on, although trays lined with grease proof paper also work. The tuile paste is fairly runny and I find it is best to work with it a little chilled so if you can, leave it to sit in the fridge for an hour. Using a spatula, spread it over the heart margarine tub stencil so it forms a thin layer. Then lift the stencil off leaving a heart shape on the silicone mat. I usually bake about 6 at a time as you need to shape them whilst they are hot. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes depending on your oven and on the thickness of the biscuit.
Use a pallet knife to carefully lift the hot biscuit off the matt, then using three spoons as shown in the picture, carefully shape the biscuit into a scoop. This isn’t very easy and takes a little practice so maybe bake just a couple of biscuits first to try. You need to let the biscuit set a little before you take it off the spoons so I keep the biscuits you aren’t working with in the oven with the door open so they stay hot for when you are ready to shape the next one. Alternatively you could shape them all over a rolling pin as is traditional with tuile and a little easier, but I like this precise finish on them.
Be ware that if you are working in batches and reusing trays, then cool them off under a cold tap between bakings else the hot tray heats the paste up making it hard to work with as you spread it.
You’ll have enough paste to make quite a few biscuits so you can waste a few playing with them and getting them right.