Thursday, February 11, 2010

Champagne & Roses Verrines Valentine's Dessert

You can count me among those that revel in the Valentine's Day pageantry, but its not because I am looking for love in gift-and-dinner form. Its because I love to express love, and on this heartfelt occasion I do it the best way I know how-sweets. Last year I had lots o'down time following a minor yet necessary laser-zapping, so I went on a chocolate truffle journey and passed my personally crafted confections around to my closest loved ones as Valentine's gifts. Great fun was had by all trying the different truffle flavors and finding their favorite one, but this year with a little help from Spiegelau Glassware my sweet token of Valentine's love is meant only for two in my twist on Champagne & Roses with my Champagne & Roses Verrines Valentine's Dessert. This dessert for lovers features a Spiegelau Vino Grande Champagne Flute playing a different role this year as a dish acting as the long and sexy vessel for the decadent layered dessert of Champagne Marinated Fruit followed by Pink Champagne Cake and topped with a light and lovey Champagne Mousse. And if that's not enough to knock your lover's socks off, how about tantalizing them with some Champagne Chocolate & Cashew Covered Fruit on the side? Feeding each other just got a whole lot juicier.

When Spiegelau Glassware approached me about featuring their product for a Valentine's post, I knew I wanted to do something totally different and modern. Last summer I posted a Peaches-n-Cream with Sesame Cookie dessert which I served in large latte cups and large wine glasses for friends at a dinner party in my home. Completely unbeknownst to me the artful presentation of an appetizer or dessert in a cup or glassware in French is called, "Verrines." My good friend Mathilde Cuisine left me a comment educating me on my accidental French awesomeness last year, and the excitement of my culinary achievement has carried over all these months ahead sparking the flame that is the white hot Champagne & Roses Verrines Valentine's Dessert.

I will forewarn your foodies & foodettes, this is an intricate dessert to create. Thankfully, the mousse can and should be made up to 48 hours ahead of time so by the time you read this post you can get started constructing your sensual Champagne & Roses Verrines Valentine's Dessert for your Be Mine tonight. Essentially, there are four edible parts and 1 semi-edible part: marinated fruit bits and whole fruits, marinated and chocolate covered whole fruits, pink champagne cake, champagne mousse, and the decorative faux royal icing roses. Let's first get down and dirty starting with the champagne mousse and cake.

Pink Champagne Cake
Adapted from Simply Decorated's version of Cuisine at Home's Recipe.
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour; cake flour is preferred if you have it. I did not and it was all good.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and softened.
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brut sparkling wine
  • 1/4 cup regular whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 drops red or pink food coloring
  • 6 egg whites
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch round cake pans or 1 9x4 round cake pan and a 9" loaf pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Cream butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Combine 3/4 cup sparkling wine, cream, and vanilla.
  3. Add flour and wine mixtures alternately to butter mixture, combining well after each addition. Start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture.
  4. Tint batter with red food coloring and using a rubber spatula, mix the coloring into the batter until you've reached a consistent color of pink.
  5. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with clean beaters until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  6. Fold egg whites into cake batter in thirds, stopping as soon as whites are incorporated.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  8. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center has only or or two crumbs on it, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto a rack to cool completely.

Champagne Mousse from
I read A LOT of mousse recipes before deciding on this one. It is only slightly adapted here in my version.
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tblsp white sugar
  • 2/3 cup champagne
  • 1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 1 tblsp water
  • 1/2 regular whipping cream, or heavy if you have it.
  1. Whip the cream until it reaches soft peaks. If you're using a mixer, on medium speed it should only take 2-3 minutes and refrigerate.
  2. Combine the yolks and sugar in a glass or stainless steel bowland whisk thoroughly until the mixture whitens. Add the champagne and whisk together completely.
  3. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook, beating constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a light hollandaise sauce.
  4. Remove from heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute. Set aside and allow to cool.
  5. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Heat the softened gelatin mixture until the gelatin dissolves and the liquid clears.
  6. Whisk the dissolved gelatin into the champagne mixture. Then fold in the whipped cream with the aid of a rubber spatula.
  7. Chill for at least 24 hours before piping or spooning the mousse into champagne glasses.

Champagne Marinated Fruit
  • 1/2 Bosch Pear
  • 8-10 medium fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup champagne
  • 3 tblsp white sugar
  • 2-3 drops of lemon juice
  1. Wash and dry fruits. Half the pear, and halve the halves. Cut spears from quarters. You should have at least 8. Using a paring knife, remove the inner core from each spear.
  2. Put fruits in a shallow dish and sprinkle sugar on top of fruits. Add the champagne and lemon juice. Cover and let sit 20 minutes.
  3. Remove 3/4 of the fruit from the marinade and set aside to dry.
  4. Leave the remaining whole fruit in the dish and put in the refrigerator to continue the marinating process.
  5. When its time to build the dessert, finely dice 1/4 cup of strawberries and pears.

Building the Champagne & Roses Verrines Valentine's Dessert
What you'll Need:
  • 2 Spiegelau Vino Grande Champagne Flutes
  • 4 rounds of Pink Champagne Cake
  • 4 tsp. of diced marinated fruit bits
  • 8 tblsp of Champagne Mousse
  • 2 Royal Icing Pink Roses
  • 2 Floral Wires
  • 2" round pastry or biscuit cutter
  • pastry bag if you have one
  1. Bend and cut a floral wire into a 2 petal stem, apprx. 6" in length.
  2. I bought the royal icing roses with a hole pre-cut in the bottom from D&G Occasions. If you want to replicate my faux roses, find the closest bakery and party outlet store near you. Call first to save on the gas too!
  3. Place the royal icing rose on top of the floral wire stem and set aside.
  4. Using a 2" round pastry or biscuit cutter, carefully cut out 4 cake rounds from the whole round baked cake. *If you also make a loaf, don't cut the rounds out of that! Serve that at at different time. Slices of champagne cake would be perfect on Sunday for a Valentine's Day Brunch-in-Bed.*
  5. Put 1 tsp of marinated fruit bits in the bottom of each glass followed by a round of pink champagne cake. Using your fingers to squeeze the cake round in. Don't worry, the Spiegelau flutes can take it!
  6. Pipe or place 2 tblsp. of mousse on top of the first cake round. Place another cake round on the mousse, followed by 2 more tblsp. of mouse and topped with fruit bits. Insert the faux rose into the dessert until it holds steady.
  7. Viola! Your work of edible love art is ready for nibbling.

If you like the idea of this post, but not all of the work I totally understand! You can still achieve the Champagne & Roses twist theme by doing the Champagne Chocolate & Cashew Covered Fruit only! "But how?" you wonder aloud. I'll tell you. A.- Of course by marinating the fruit quickly in champagne you achieve the 'champagne' part of the theme. Feel free also to serve the fruit along with leftover champagne, but something much nicer than the Cook's Brut I baked with here. B.-Did you know that strawberries, also from France originally, are part of the Rose family? Well indeed they are! GUYS, this is the perfect homemade gift for your lucky and better half. First it is the easiest dessert on planet Earth to make. Its wrapped in chocolate for the bad-in-us-femms, but it is fruit for the good-in-us-femms, and you made it with your own two hands which can only mean you truly, truly love and adore your significant other.

Therefore, in advance, "You're very welcome." Also, "You owe me."

Champagne Chocolate & Cashew Covered Fruit
  • 4-6 whole champagne marinated strawberries
  • 4-6 whole champagne marinated bosch pear spears
  • 8 oz. Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews
  • Chopped mint for garnish
  1. Make sure your fruits are dry! The chocolate will not stick if there is alcohol on the surface.
  2. Pre-chop cashews. I like to put them in a ziploc bag and wail on them with my meat tenderizer. It helps with stress. Put chopped cashews in a small, shallow bowl.
  3. Prep a baking sheet or rectangle tupperware by lining it with parchment paper.
  4. Start up your double-boiler and bring the water to a boil. In a stainless steel or glass pot or bowl, melt 8 oz. of milk chocolate.
  5. Bring the melted chocolate back to your station where the fruit, nuts, and baking sheet are prepped.
  6. Roll your fruit in the melted chocolate and then dip one side into the nuts.
  7. Transfer immediately to the parchment paper.
  8. Repeat and then place baking sheet into the refrigerator until the chocolate firms up; about an hour.
It doesn't get any easier than that, and think of this the next time you pay upwards of $20 for something you can whip up at home for $10!

If you decide to serve the constructed and sophisticated Champagne & Roses Verinnes Valentine's Dessert or if you're serving just the fruits as your simply sexy sweet, be sure to make up a beautiful tray to chauffeur your handmade dessert oozing of love directly to your Valentine where ever they may be; in bed, lounging on the living room floor, soaking up some bubbles in the tub-you get the idea! Happy Valentine's Day. I heart you all!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully delicious idea! I love it! Happy Valentine's Day to you too and thank you for sharing such a great recipe!

Anonymous said...

The verrines are just gorgeous - such an elegant dessert for Valentine's day! I love the Champagne featured here as main ingredient!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

This is a wonderful story and gorgeous display of your love someone is a very lucky Valentine that has you my dear girl!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Those verrines are beautiful!

jayleah said...

this looks amazing! pink champagne cake?? sign me up.

Angie's Recipes said...

oh man...they look so beautiful and exotic. I am usually not a fan of pinky, but this looks so irresistible!

Anonymous said...

good~ keep sharing with us, please....I will waiting your up date everyday!! Have a nice day........................................

chow and chatter said...

wow simply beautiful

My Little Space said...

Rachel, they look heavenly!'re just so creative. Guess, you've been busy! Have a great weekend.

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Wiley Dexter said...

This looks divine! I am sure it tasted even better because I have tried your Honey Nut Cheesecake Squares (care of my loving wifey, of course) and it was superb. I am sure she did not make any changes to your recipe because it was her first time making it. She did not want to mess it up because it was for our daughter’s birthday.

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