Here are three fabulous pairings that are guaranteed to satiate your sweetie's sweet tooth. There's a little something for everyone: decadent Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes, "cheeky" Slut Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly and a classic Crème Brûlée.
For the chocolate lover, you can't go wrong with these Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cakes from "Savor the Moment" (click link for recipe). I know I have raved about them before, even featuring them in my Kitchen Confidant article in the Sun Sentinel but, hey, what can I say, they are AWESOME! Pair these chocolatey babies with a Brachetto d'Acqui, a sparkling wine from Italy's Piedmont region that's rife with flavors of strawberries and rose petals and a delightful sweetness. It is widely available as well, so be sure to check your local wine store.
Not really a chocolate lover? Why not try this unique and fruity dessert, Slut-Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly (recipe below). This Nigella Lawson creation is delicious and conveniently can be made the day before and lovingly chill in the fridge until you and your mate are ready to indulge! Use a fruity-style Chardonnay for this recipe, but pair it with a late harvest Chardonnay or a little gem of a wine, Quady Red Electra. The Electra is a California Muscat Wine and, while not readily available, can be ordered directly from the winery. I just love it with this dessert!
If you are looking for something more classic this Valentine's Day, why not go with the Coco Chanel of desserts, Crème brûlée (click link for recipe). This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is perfection with the addition of vanilla extract and Grand Marnier. You can also make this recipe the day before and impress your loved one by whipping out your kitchen torch and caramelizing the sugar just before serving! Pair this deliciousness with a Sauternes, a French dessert wine that's a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and/or Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea aka "noble rot". This bacteria causes the grapes to shrivel, concentrating their delicious flavors and leading to a wine with a heady, wonderful sweetness.
I really hope you enjoy these pairings, and remember that basically, the key to pairing wine with dessert is that the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert...if not sweeter. Hope you and your Sweetie have a very Happy Valentine's Day!
Slut-Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly
1 750ml bottle good fruity Chardonnay
3/4 pint raspberries
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 sheets leaf gelatin
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Heavy cream to serve
Place the wine and berries in a bowl and allow to steep for half an hour. Strain the wine into a saucepan and keep the raspberries to one side. Heat the wine with the vanilla bean until nearly boiling and leave to steep on one side for 15 minutes.
Soak the gelatin sheets - which you can find in the supermarket these days - in cold water for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, after removing the vanilla bean, reheat the wine and stir in the sugar until it dissolves; allow to boil if you want to lose the alcohol. Add a third of the hot wine to the wrung out gelatin sheets in a measuring cup and stir to dissolve, then add this mixture back into the rest of the wine and stir well. Strain into a large pitcher.
Place the raspberries, equally, into six flattish, clear glass serving bowls, and pour the strained wine over the top.
Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, though a day would be fine if you want to make this well ahead, and take out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
Serve some heavy cream in a pitcher, and let people pour this into the fragrant, tender, fruit-jeweled jelly as they eat. Serves six.