2015-02-13 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Raspberry treats ripe for Valentine’s Day
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

For those of you that are sick of snow, I wish I had a recipe for that. What I do have might help, though.

Raspberry and chocolate is a wonderful combination and I included two recipes for you to try. They would be great for Valentine’s Day or any gathering with family and friends.

Double-chocolate mascarpone raspberry pie

1 pastry for single crust pie (recipe follows); 1 (8 ounce) carton mascarpone cheese; 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate; ½ cup powdered sugar; 2 tablespoon raspberry liqueur or raspberry flavoring; 1 cup whipping cream; 2 cups fresh raspberries; 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam, melted and slightly cooled; White Chocolate Topping (recipe follows); and semi-sweet chocolate curls (optional).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pastry for a single-crust pie. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin.

Unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold under extra pastry even with the plate’s edge. Crimp edge as desired. Generously prick bottom and sides of pastry with a fork. Line pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes more or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan combine mascarpone cheese, bittersweet chocolate and powdered sugar. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in liqueur or flavoring. Cool to room temperature.

In a chilled medium mixing bowl beat whipping cream with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Stir about ½ cup of the whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in the remaining whipped cream just until combined. Spoon chocolate mixture into pastry shell, spreading evenly. Cover and chill for 3 to 4 hours.

To serve, in a medium bowl gently stir together raspberries and melted jam; spoon over chocolate mixture. If desired, garnish with White Chocolate Topping and semisweet chocolate shavings.

White chocolate topping

2 ounces white baking chocolate; ¼ cup whipping cream; and 2/3 cup whipping cream.

In a small heavy saucepan heat and stir white baking chocolate and ¼ cup whipping cream until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth; cool. In a medium chilled mixing bowl beat 2/3 cup whipping cream with an electric mixture on medium speed until mixture mounds but does not form peaks; turn off mixer.

Add white chocolate mixture and beat on low speed just until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

Pastry for single-crust pie

1½ cup all-purpose flour; ½ teaspoon salt; ¼ cup shortening; ¼ cup butter, cut up; and ¼ cup ice water.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt.

Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the ice water over part of the flour mixture; toss gently with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl.

Repeat with additional ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time (1/4 to 1/3 cup total) until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Gather mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together.

Raspberry French silk pie bars

1 recipe chocolate crumb crust; 1 cup whipping cream; ½ cup chopped semisweet chocolate (3 ounces); ½ cup bittersweet chocolate (3 ounces); 1/3 cup sugar; 1/3 cup butter; 2 egg yolks, beaten; 3 tablespoons crème de cacao or whipping cream; ½ cup raspberry preserves or seedless raspberry jam; 1 recipe Raspberry ganache; and fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Press Chocolate Crumb Crust onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until crust is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Set aside.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a heavy medium saucepan combine whipping cream, semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, sugar and butter. Cook and stir over low heat about 10 minutes or until chocolates are melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually stir half of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks. Add egg yolk mixture to chocolate mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat about 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly.

Remove from heat. (Mixture may appear slightly curdled.) Stir in crème de cacao or whipping cream. Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally about 20 minutes or until mixture stiffens and becomes hard to stir. Transfer filling to a medium bowl.

Spread raspberry preserve over bottom of cooled crust. Beat filling with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread filling over preserves. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.

Spoon raspberry ganache over chilled mixture in baking pan, gently spreading into an even layer. Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours more or until firm. Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars. If desired, garnish with fresh raspberries.

Raspberry ganache

1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate pieces; 1/3 cup whipping cream; and 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam.

In a large glass measuring cup combine chocolate, whipping cream and raspberry jam. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) about 1 minute or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Let stand about 1 hour or until slightly thickened.

Chocolate crumb crust

2 cups of finely crushed chocolate wafers or chocolate graham crackers (about 38 cookies); ¼ cup all-purpose flour; 2 tablespoons sugar; and ½ cup melted butter.

In medium bowl combine crushed wafers, flour and sugar. Add butter and stir until well combined.

I hear there is more snow on the way, but cheer up. There’s always chocolate.

Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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