Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day Dessert

Many of you will be shunning Valentine's day commercialism and creating a personal Xanadu with the candles, the music, the cute dog under the table (or cat on). And a sumptuous dinner.

But do you want an authentically Romantic Valentine's Day? Then buy out a tiny dessert and share it with your lover. No, not two tiny desserts, not a box of Vosges chocolates. Do not bake a red velvet cake. Just acquire one exquisite small treasure to share.

Lest you think some mad mistral has blown the lemons out of my tree, consider what recipe romantic poet John Keats might have chosen were he to cook for his beloved.

1. One cup, delight in mystery (do not "unweave the rainbow")

We like to flex our culinary muscles. Cooking a pleasurable experience for others can make us feel powerful. But the transformation of ingredients to repast looses magic if we're the cook. Discover something exquisite together. Enjoy the suspense opening the little box with a beautiful pastry hidden inside. Taste it together. Wonder at its flavor. Bond with your partner by sharing this experience. Very romantic.

2. Tablespoon, intense experience ("O for a life of sensation...")

Remember Thomas Keller's law of diminishing returns in which pleasure from a dish decreases with each additional bite? Maintain that intense first impression. Think small, and share it.

3. Pinch, melancholy ("And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu")

Experience life fully by acknowledging that you can't have joy without pain. Bliss out on sweet flavor, and deepen the experience knowing that everything, including your dessert must end.

And if perhaps you accidently consume more than your share, follow Keat's advice...

"...if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes..."

Happy Valentine's Day!

p.s. the lovely Satin pictured above comes from La Fleur de Cocoa, a charming patisserie in Los Gatos. Satin composed of ladyfinger sponge soaked in raspberry brandy, layered with white chocolate mousse and topped with Italian meringue.

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Anonymous Ivonne said...


Not only are you romantic, but you are a brilliant writer. Fantastic post. I love the intermingling of the poetry.

As for the dessert, well, the photo speaks for itself.

Happy Valentine's Day!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Pat M. said...


Your Valentine's Day piece was a delight to read as I am sure that dessert must taste.

You and yours should have a very romantic Valentine's Day.

Pat M.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...


Thanks so much for your comment! I have a hunch that you are a romantic too - with a blog name like Cream Puffs in Venice!


Thanks! and Happy Valentines day to you all>

10:06 AM  

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