If you’re like me, you’ve decided to stay home on Valentine’s day. I think it makes for a perfect excuse to spend all day cooking and baking. I received two great recipes from The American Culinary Federation just for the occasion. They come from 2011 Pastry Chef of the Year Kyongran ”Alex” Hwang, who is the assistant pastry chef at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta. Try them out and let me know what you think:
Linzer Heart-Shaped Cookies
Yield: Approximately 15 cookies (varies with size of cookie cutters)
5.5 oz. butter
5.5 oz. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
Zest from ½ lemon
5 oz. cake flour
4 oz. almond flour
4 oz. cake crumbs
2 t. ground cinnamon
5 oz. raspberry jam
3 oz. powdered sugar, for garnish
In large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar.
Add one egg at a time, mixing and scraping down well.
Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Add cake flour, almond flour, cake crumbs and cinnamon; combine until you can’t see any flour.
Chill dough in refrigerator.
Roll chilled dough to 1/8-inch thickness.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut dough with heart-shaped cutter. In half of cookies, make additional heartshaped hole. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
Remove cookies; cool.
Spread raspberry jam on bottom cookie (without hole). Put powdered sugar on other half of cookies (with hole); place on top of cookie covered with jam. Dust extra heart cookies with powdered sugar.
Raspberry Heart-Shaped Panna Cotta
Yield: Approximately 6 (varies with size of mold)
4 sheets leaf gelatin
4 oz. milk
4 oz. sugar, divided
12.5 oz. heavy cream
3.5 oz. raspberry purée
5 oz. orange juice
½ vanilla bean
½ t. cold starch (optional)
Raspberries, for garnish
Blueberries, for garnish
Blackberries, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish
Chocolate stick, for garnish
Heat milk and 3 oz. sugar.
Add soaked gelatin to mixture.
Add heavy cream and raspberry purée. Blend well with hand blender.
Portion into heart-shaped mold.
In separate bowl, combine orange juice and remaining sugar. Scrape vanilla bean. Add vanilla to mixture. Add cold starch (optional). Mix well. Set aside.
To plate: Unmold panna cotta on plate. Add orange sauce around heart. Add assorted berries atop sauce. Pipe whipped cream on center of panna cotta. Place chocolate stick on top of whipped cream.
**Blooming gelatin is when you sprinkle the powdered gelatin into a liquid and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. It makes it so that when the mixture is heated, the gelatin dissolves evenly.
You can use almost any liquid to “bloom” gelatin. Avoid fresh tropical juices (kiwi, mango, papaya, and pineapple). They contain an enzyme that prevents the gelatin from setting well. One exception is canned or frozen juice. Since these are pasteurized, the enzymes die allowing you to use said juices.