|Frozen Chocolate Cherry Torte.
Celebrate Valentine's Day by enjoying the following recipes now and any event that calls for a chocolate fix!
Note: The key to these treats is to purchase good-quality chocolate, organic preferred, dark when the recipe suggests it. According to Dairy Farmers of Canada choose a good-quality bittersweet (dark) chocolate for best flavour and texture. Use one that contains 55 to 70% cacao. If percentage isn’t labelled, make sure chocolate liquor, cocoa liquor or cocoa mass is listed first in ingredient list and there are no wax additives.
CHOCOLATE ALMOND PROFITEROLES
Profiteroles are a classic French dessert that really are easy to make – yet look impressive. And all you need is a pot and a wooden spoon! Here, they’re filled with a luscious, but lighter, cream filling. Recipe courtesy Dairy Farmers of Canada.
1/3 cup (75 ml) ground almonds
1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter, cut into cubes
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 ml) 18% table cream or 10% half-and-half cream
2 Tbsp (30 ml) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch
3 oz (90g) bittersweet (dark) chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla
3/4 cup (175 ml) sliced almonds, toasted
2 oz (60g) bittersweet (dark) chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup (75ml) 18% table cream or 10% half-and-half cream
Position oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven and preheat to 400F (200C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly butter.
In a medium saucepan, toast almonds over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
In same saucepan, combine water, butter, sugar and salt; bring to a boil over high heat.
Remove from heat and add flour and almonds. With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until a ball of dough forms and comes away from the sides of the pan. Return to medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until steam subsides. Add one egg and stir vigorously until incorporated. Repeat, adding eggs one at a time, beating until dough is smooth, paste-like and slightly shiny.
Drop by tablespoonfuls (15 ml) onto prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart, to make about 24 profiteroles. With moistened fingers, smooth surface. Bake in top and bottom third of oven, rotating pans halfway, for about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden and they sound hollow when tapped on bottom. Turn oven off. Remove baking sheets from oven; with tip of a paring knife, poke a slit in side of each profiterole. Return to oven; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (Profiteroles can be stored in a cookie tin at room temperature for up to 2 days).
Filling: In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until steaming. In a bowl, whisk sugar with cornstarch; whisk in eggs until blended. Gradually whisk hot cream into egg mixture in thin, steady stream. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 3 to 8 minutes or until thick. Stir in chocolate and vanilla until melted. Transfer to a cool bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface and refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours or for up to 2 days.
Chocolate Drizzle: In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and cream, stirring until smooth; keep warm.
To serve: Cut profiteroles in half crosswise, almost, but not all the way through. Spoon about 1 tbsp (15 mL) filling into each profiterole, sprinkle with toasted almonds and cover with profiterole top. Place 3 on each serving plate, drizzle with warm chocolate mixture and sprinkle with more almonds.
Makes 8 servings.
WARM CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TRUFFLE TARTS
These delightful bite-size tarts brim with creamy chocolate flavour Recipe courtesy Dairy Farmers of Canada.
1 1/3 cups (325 ml) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup (75 ml) cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup (50 ml) 35 per cent whipping cream
2/3 cup (150 ml) 35% whipping cream
3 oz. (90 g) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla
1/4 cup (50 ml) finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, divided
Tart shells: In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and cocoa; sprinkle with butter cubes. Pulse into fine crumbs. Drizzle in whipping cream; process until dough clumps together. Form tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball and press into 1 1/4-inch (3-cm) mini muffin or tart pans. Prick dough with a toothpick. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Bake tart shells for 12 to 15 minutes or until firm. Let cool in pan on a rack until just firm enough to handle; remove from pan.
Filling: In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat just until steaming. In a bowl, whisk egg to blend. Gradually whisk in about half of the hot cream in a thin stream; whisk egg mixture back into pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened and just about to boil, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.
Place tart shells on a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle half of the hazelnuts evenly into shells. Spoon filling into tarts. (Can be covered loosely and refrigerated for up to 1 day).
To serve, bake filled tarts in a 350F (180C) oven for 5 minutes or until warmed through. Sprinkle with remaining nuts; serve immediately.
Makes about 25 tarts.
FROZEN CHOCOLATE CHERRY TORTE
Recipe courtesy Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board (ontariotenderfruit.com)
2 cups (500 ml) black sweet cherries, frozen
1/4 cup (50 ml) Kirsch (or any other cherry brandy)
1 350-g pkg. double chocolate chip cookies
4 cups. (1 L) chocolate ice cream, softened
2 oz. (50g) good quality bittersweet chocolate
In a bowl, combine frozen cherries with Kirsch. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
Drain; reserving liquid. Set aside 8 cherries on paper towel for garnish.
Line bottom and sides of a 6-inch (15-cm) springform pan with plastic wrap. Arrange one-third of cookies in a single layer in bottom of pan, breaking to fill in any gaps.
Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) of reserved cherry liquid. Sprinkle with half of cherries. Spread a third of ice cream evenly over cherries. Repeat layers.
Add final layer of cookies and cover with an even layer of ice cream. Cover with plastic and then with foil. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to completely set.
Remove sides of pan and plastic and transfer torte to plate and put back in freezer. Use vegetable peeler to make shavings from chocolate for garnish. Remove from freezer and top with shavings and reserved cherries.
Serves 6 to 8.
TIP: Look for frozen cherries in the frozen food section of your supermarket. You can also use a combination of your favourite frozen fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) to equal 2 cups (500ml) needed for the recipe.
MELTED CHOCOLATE AND BRIE TARTS
Recipe courtesy Dairy Farmers of Canada.
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (150 ml) Graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) chopped hazelnuts
1 1/2 Tbsp. (22 ml) sugar
1/3 cup (75 ml) 35% whipping cream
3 oz (90g) semisweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) hazelnut liqueur
1/4 lb (125g) brie, rind removed, sliced
Powdered cocoa, optional
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). In a microwave-proof bowl, melt butter. Add Graham cracker crumbs, hazelnuts and sugar; stir until smooth. Press mixture into 4 tart pans with removable bottoms, or large ramekins (4 1/4 inches/11 cm in diameter). Bake for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over low heat, heat cream until steam starts to form. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Chocolate must melt completely. Add liqueur and stir. Keep at room temperature.
When tart shells are done, remove from oven and immediately cover bottoms with cheese, letting it melt.
Pour chocolate mixture over melted cheese and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmoulding and serving. To unmould easily, run a knife around inner edge of tart moulds to detach tarts. Cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Dust with cocoa powder.