• Tommy Centola

Sweet desserts for Valentine's Day

When I start planning my Valentines Day meal, the first course I start with is dessert. I always turn to my favorite sweet ingredient White Chocolate. There are some that will argue that white chocolate is not chocolate at all. It contains no cocoa solids, which gives chocolate its color. It also only contains trace amounts of caffeine.

I like white chocolate for its flavor and color. It gives your dessert an air of elegance. You can make either of these dishes with regular chocolate if you prefer. However, I feel that you lose some of the specialness of white chocolate. Today’s dishes are White Chocolate Creme Brûlée and White Chocolate Mousse.

Don’t let the fancy name White Chocolate Creme Brûlée fool you. It is a very easy dessert to prepare. It is also one of my more requested desserts. I have actually taken all the ingredients, kitchen utensils and torch with me on a multiple family vacation at the request of the other families. Of course, it is one of the dishes I love to make. It allows me to play with my torch, to brûlée the sugar on top of the dessert. It is also very delicious.

White Chocolate Creme Brûlée

4 ounces white chocolate chips

4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar plus more for caramelizing

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300℉.

In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks with sugar until smooth. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Add white chocolate to the simmering heavy cream. Turn off heat and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Add the white chocolate mixture to the egg yolk mixture slowly, whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and whisk. Pour into 4 ramekins. Place ramekins in a 9x13-inch baking pan. Add enough water so the cups sit in 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water. Bake until set, about 45 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle additional sugar on top of the dessert. Torch the sugar to desired level of brownness. If you don’t have a torch, broil for 4-5 minutes to achieve the crust. You can either warm the dessert or serve it cold before you brûlée the sugar.

Here is a great dessert to make in advance. It is also an easily prepared dish. For a fancier presentation, serve it in a glass with a stem. You can also garnish it with a mint leaf or your favorite kind of berry. You can even put it into a graham cracker crust as serve it as a pie.

White Chocolate Mousse

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped into very small pieces, or white chocolate chips

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup heavy cream

Chocolate sprinkles

In a large glass bowl, place the chopped white chocolate and set aside. Add the egg yolks and sugar to a small bowl and whisk until pale in color. In a saucepan, over low heat, bring 1/4 cup of the cream to a simmer, and slowly add the cream into the yolk and sugar mixture to temper. Pour the creamy mixture back into pan and stir with a wooden spoon until it coats the back of it. Pour hot mix through a strainer over the bowl with the white chocolate. Stir until completely smooth. In another bowl, whip 1 cup of the cream to almost stiff peaks. Fold half the whipped cream into the white chocolate mix to lighten and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spoon the white chocolate mousse into 4 serving cups and refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour. Top with chocolate sprinkles.

Surprise your guest or significant other with one of these white chocolate desserts for Valentines Day or any other dinner. They will think that you have been slaving away to make these tasty treats. Be like a magician and don’t give away the secret of these easy to make delightful desserts.

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