February 15, 2015

desserts for Valentine's Day

There are many ways to make Valentine's Day memorable. A day of relaxation, a leisurely walk in perfect spring-like weather and simply enjoying quality time together made our Valentine's Day this year quite special. It was also a good opportunity for me to make desserts! I've been curious about these 3D Hearts Cupcakes since I saw them featured on a tv show recently. I think the 3D idea is genius. So off to YouTube I went and as always, I found answers to my questions. After watching the cute video by Ann Reardon, I couldn't wait to give it a try.

The taste of the cupcakes may be improved by replacing the water in the recipe with fruit juice and adding more flavorings. I didn't bother frosting them as I was more interested with the process of making them. Most of the hearts didn't turn out perfectly shaped but it was fun making them :-) The hearts will also look nice in pastel colors. 

The recipe makes smaller size cupcakes but with enough frosting, they will look adorable on the dessert table at parties and other appropriate events.

Shown above (1) the 3D hearts, looking like small marzipan strawberries, were shaped using crumbled cupcakes mixed with a little red food coloring (2) two tablespoons of cupcake batter baked for about 5 minutes with 3D hearts placed in the center (3) the cupcakes from the oven, after covering the 3D hearts with more batter and baking for another 10 minutes (4) the cupcakes cut in the middle to show the heart shapes.

Another dessert I made post-Valentine's Day was Cathedral Windows Gelatine, shown above, which is popular in Manila. It's usually made with a combination of colorful gelatine, supposedly to resemble the stained glass art in gothic cathedrals and churches. However, I only had two boxes of gelatine, cherry and strawberry flavors, that are both red. They were exactly the colors I needed for Valentine's Day :-) The marbling effect wasn't intentional but my husband had very favorable comments when he saw it.

Make ahead assorted colors of gelatine and cut them into 1" squares. The creamy gelatine was supposed to cool down and allowed to thicken in the fridge for a few hours before mixing in the pre-made cubes of colorful gelatine. Since I was using only red gelatine, I went ahead and arranged the squares in a plastic mold. I cooked the creamy gelatine mixture in a small pot then, without letting it cool down, I carefully spooned the hot mixture directly over the red cubes of gelatine. The hot mixture melted some of the red cubes of gelatine resulting in a marbled effect. It was an error that didn't turn out so bad after all. I have to try this using other colors next time.

cross section of the Cathedral Gelatine dessert, served with strawberries
Happy Valentine's Day!
For the recipe...

Cathedral Windows Gelatine
(makes two 6"x8"x2" rectangular gelatine desserts)

Colorful Gelatine:
2 boxes gelatine (not sugar free) any flavor
3/4 boiling water
3/4 cold water

More gelatine flavors may be used. More colors will look more festive.  Slowly sprinkle the powdered gelatine into the boiling water, stirring well.  Pour in the cold water and mix. Pour into a greased mold. Slightly greasing the mold makes it easier to unmold the gelatine. Make this ahead and allow to set in the refrigerator preferably overnight. When set, cut into cubes and arrange in the gelatine molds. Set aside while cooking the creamy gelatine.

Creamy Gelatine:
2 envelopes Knox clear gelatine
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 can (7 oz) condensed milk 
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 can (7 oz) evaporated or fresh milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Lightly grease the gelatine molds. In a small pot, mix the 2 envelopes of Knox gelatine and the cold water together. Allow to bloom for a minute or two.  Set over medium heat and stir in the pineapple juice. When the mixture is very hot, add the condensed milk, heavy cream, evaporated or fresh milk and sugar. Heat to almost simmering then remove from heat. To achieve the marbled look, ladle the creamy gelatine mixture over the gelatine cubes while still hot. Otherwise, allow the creamy mixture to cool down  before ladling over the gelatine cubes so the colors will not bleed. Refrigerate overnight to fully set.  Unmold, slice and enjoy!

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