I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan – at least in the usual, book a restaurant, get flowers and/or other gifts, be surrounded by other people going through the whole charade way. I do, however, enjoy any excuse to do something a little bit special or out of the ordinary. And because I speak the language of food, I would be remiss to miss making a Valentine’s Day treat. For the occasion, I decided on chocolate hearts with an oozy center of raspberry chili coulis. A little sweet, a little acerbic, and a little hot (or a lot, depending on your sensitivity to spicy foods) – just how I like my beaus.
So off I went to the grocery store to procure some raspberries. Fresh or frozen, I didn’t care. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be seen, and at midnight (yes, sometimes I am nutty like that) I wasn’t about to go traipsing around until I found them. I remembered that I had a jar of raspberry jam at home, and decided that would do.
Those who know me know that I like to make things from scratch as much as possible. I’m sorry, dear readers. I tried. On the other hand, using raspberry jam eliminates the need to add sugar, cook and puree the raspberries. And on Valentine’s (and any other day), spending less time in the kitchen means you have more time for other things. No details required – just use your imagination.
Raspberry Chili Chocolate Hearts
3.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped finely
1/2 cup raspberry jam
5 tsp lemon juice (the raspberry jam I used was very sweet, and I needed to restore some of the tartness. Depending on the jam you have, use your judgement on this)
1 tbsp water (my brand of jam was very solid and had a lot of added pectin; I added water to make it more oozy. Again, use your own judgement)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Small pastry brush
Heart mold (either deep chocolate molds, or silicone ice cube molds will do. Make sure it is very clean and bone dry.)
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or double boiler. I use a pasta plate set over a small pot of water. It works, and that’s all I care about.
Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of the mold with a thin layer of chocolate, wiping any excess chocolate from the rim of each indentation and tapping the bottom of the mold gently to remove any air bubbles.
Let it set in the fridge for a few minutes, then repeat another two times (for a total of three layers of chocolate).
In a small pot, heat raspberry jam over low heat, stirring, until it is liquidy. Add lemon juice, water and cayenne and combine well.
Strain raspberry mixture through a fine sieve to remove any seeds, and let cool.
Fill the molds almost to the top with raspberry coulis, and let set in the freezer until firm.
Seal the hearts with a layer of chocolate and place in the fridge until completely set.
Remove hearts from the mold and serve.
Happy Valentine’s Day!