Food & Drinks

Valentine’s desserts to make at home

ValentinesBDL

Amour à la framboise Valentine's Cake-Le Grenier à Pain. PHOTO | POOL

Summary

  • This Valentine’s Day, even those who go all out are reconsidering.
  • Most restaurants are expected to get fuller quicker due to the reduced seating spaces and romantic dinners maybe a little shorter because of the 9 pm closure time.
  • Planning a private Valentine’s Day experience is ideal.

This Valentine’s Day, even those who go all out are reconsidering. Most restaurants are expected to get fuller quicker due to the reduced seating spaces and romantic dinners maybe a little shorter because of the 9 pm closure time. Planning a private Valentine’s Day experience is ideal. Top pastry chefs in Nairobi share simple desserts that you can make at home for your significant other.

“When making dessert at home, it’s best if it’s simple and quick to make. I recommend a white chocolate strawberry cheesecake,” says Deborah Swai, a director at About Thyme restaurant.

The recipe, she explains, requires simple ingredients and no-baking.

“Valentine’s day for us has always been a big affair as we are always fully booked well in advance. This year, however, with the social distancing protocol, we are only using our outside seating area,” she says.

Due to the curfew and early closing time, Deborah chose to reduce the menu options to make it easier for her reduced staff in the kitchen who also have to adhere to the social-distancing protocols. “Dessert is a science and not everyone has the skills or knowledge in making desserts and this is why the chilled white chocolate strawberry cheesecake works so well. All you need is normal crushed biscuits, melted butter, soft cream cheese, melted white chocolate, and strawberries for garnish. It's an eggless dessert that can be prepared in only half an hour, then set to chill for a couple of hours before indulging,” says Deborah.

“Ingredients such as chocolates and berries are quite popular for dessert all over the world. Chocolate is loved for its aphrodisiac properties and berries are perceived as luxury fruits hence why they fit the occasion,” says Myra Kivuvani, Director, Le Grenier à Pain.

Myra also advises that if you are planning to make dessert at home, ensure you follow the recipe exactly as it is.

“Sometimes you may feel the need to change the recipe according to what suits you or the ingredients you have available, but that could affect the final product. Always use good quality ingredients and avoid shortcuts,” she says.

Joyce Akinyi, a pastry chef at Le Grenier à Pain recommends Meringue Kisses for dessert this Valentine’s. These treats are super light and require less than five ingredients to make.

“Meringue (pronounced Merung) is a popular Italian dessert that is sweet, light, and fluffy,” she says.

To make these delightful treats you need egg whites and custard sugar, whisk them until the mixture doubles in size and use a piping bag to get different shapes,” explains Chef Joyce.

Executive Chef Chaminda Perera of Cake City Kenya suggests making tiramisu for your loved one.

“This Italian cheese and coffee treat is rich and creamy and will play a role in making fond memories with loved ones for Valentine’s. To make tiramisu, you need mascarpone cheese, icing sugar, fresh cream, instant coffee and sugar. The method is easy and does not require an oven, and the good thing about tiramisu is that you can make many small portions,” says Chef Chaminda.

So go ahead and surprise your loved one with a delightful dessert whipped up specially for them.

RECIPES

1.WHITE CHOCOLATE & STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE By About Thyme

Serves 2

Ingredients:

- 50g shortbread biscuits

- 20g unsalted butter (melted)

- 50g white chocolate (melted)

- 100g soft cream cheese

- 50g strawberries (hulled and finely chopped)

- 3 tbsp double cream

- Fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, fresh mint leaves and chocolate decorations to garnish

Method:

1. Grease 2 x 3-inch pastry rings with butter and place on a greaseproof lined tray.

2. Place the biscuits in a bag and crush with a rolling pin, add the crumbs to the melted butter and combine.

3. Divide and press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the two rings and set aside.

4. Mix the cream cheese, melted chocolate, chopped strawberries and cream in a separate bowl.

5. Once combined, spoon the filling into the rings on top of the biscuit base, smooth with a spoon and chill in the fridge until set (approx. 1 hour).

6. Once set, unmould onto serving plates, top with fresh strawberries and glaze with heated strawberry jam.

7. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and chocolate run-outs, serve and enjoy.

2.MERINGUE KISSES RECIPE By Le Grenier à Pain

Ingredients

- 200g Icing sugar

- 100g Egg whites

Method

1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or greaseproof paper. Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, pour in the egg whites and start to whisk. (Preferably use a stand mixer).

3. Add the icing sugar bit by bit to the egg whites and whisk on high speed until it doubles up in volume and forms stiff peaks, for about five to seven minutes.

4. Using a large round nozzle and a piping bag, pipe little blobs onto the baking tray, forming little peaks at the tip to create a "kiss" shape.

5. Leave them out to air dry at room temperature, preferably overnight or bake at 90 degree Celsius for 30-40 mins until the kisses can be easily removed from the parchment paper.

6. Add good quality food colour and/or a flavouring of your choice if need be.

3.TIRAMISU RECIPE by Cake City Kenya

Ingredients

- 250g Mascarpone cheese

- 40g Icing sugar

- 200g Whipped cream

- 50g Sugar

- 20g Instant coffee

- 100g Water

- 8 pieces Sponge finger biscuit

- 10g Cocoa powder

- 60g Fresh strawberries

Method

1. Mix Mascarpone cheese and icing sugar.

2. Add whipped cream and mix slowly.

3. Mix sugar, water and instant coffee and bring to a boil, keep aside until it cools down.

4. Use a glass and pipe the cream mixture on the bottom of the glass then add the finger biscuits and top with coffee syrup and add more layers on top and finish the dessert.

5. Refrigerate for two hours and when serving you may decorate on top with cocoa powder and fresh strawberries.