Shades of red and sweet round truffles made of chocolate are most associated with the day cupid strikes once every year; Valentine’s Day. Preparations in most large shopping malls, candy stores, chocolate boutiques begin with the onset of February. Large crimson banners, heart-shaped balloons adorn display windows, shoppers dance to the tune of romantic shops while roaming the various aisles, while chefs and chocolatiers create new inventions with the most desired ingredients on Valentine’s Day. On the other hand to a critic, Valentine’s Day has been created by commercial stationers to lure customers into their shops and make money. To me, its a day to create something special, whether it be for a loved one or even for myself. It gives me a chance to work with ingredients that are most sought after on February 14th, to come up with something classic with a tweak.
This year, Valentine’s Day was very rushed for me. It was a long weekend right before February 14th for Chinese New Year and my husband and I had gone to Penang. We arrived back in Kuala Lumpur late on the 12th, which gave me just one day to recharge my batteries and think of something creative. Honestly, I was at the tail end of the 13th and I still couldnt manage to conjure up my culinary spirit. All the sight-seeing in the heat had switched off my chef bulb. Finally, I thought of something with the color red as well as chocolate; Strawberries covered in chocolate. I knew it would not take me too much time and it would be perfect. There was however on slight hitch. I had found chocolate covered strawberries to be rather dry, so for me it would be ideal if some flavors were to ooze out as I bit into it. This thought reminded me of a trick my sister’s friend had taught me once; how to remove the green leaves of the strawberry without destroying its shape. Simply insert a straw vertically from the bottom of the strawberry and push upwards. The green leaves would slowly come off, leaving the center hollow. That is when it hit me, I could fill the hollow bit with a berry flavored cream and them dip it into the chocolate, sealing the cream in. That is how I set out on my Valentine’s Day adventure.
- 1 dozen strawberries
- 12 oz. chocolate bar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp creme fraiche
- 3 tbsp mixed berry jam
- In a bowl, mix the creme fraiche and berry jam till smooth and creamy. Refrigerate till needed
- Meanwhile, after cleaning the strawberries, insert a straw vertically through the middle, from the bottom all the way to the top till the leaves come off. Discard the flesh attached to the leaves but keep the leaves to re-attach them to the top
- Repeat with the remaining strawberries
- To make the chocolate coating, heat the chocolate and whipping cream over low heat.
- As the chocolate begins to melt, remove from the heat and whisk together till mixture is smooth
- Add in the softened butter and whisk. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes
- Using an electric mixer, beat the chocolate mixture for 4 minutes till soft peaks form. Set aside
- Using the thinnest icing nozzle, fill the strawberries with the mixed berry cream, re-attach the leaves on the top and lay them flat on a plate
- Dip the strawberries, one by one in the chocolate mixture. Coat completely and shake of the excess chocolate
- Place on a serving platter and refrigerate till required or for 30 minutes
Bite the strawberry through the middle and berry cream will come oozing out, complementing the flavors of the chocolate. With the addition of the berry cream, this simple dessert becomes morsels of heaven. Serve with champagne or sparkling wine and these specialty treats are sure to win over anyone’s heart_through their stomach of course.