Back in Brazil we don’t celebrate this date in February, but in June. Despite the change in the calendar, the aura surrounding it is pretty much similar: lots of pink, white and red hearts in every department store, impossible-to-get reservations at restaurants and predictable declarations of love in social media.
As you can imagine, I’m not exactly found ot it. But I do like to put some extra effort in the cooking department, since I don’t have lots of patience to stay in line at the restaurants to get (poorly) served and rushed because the table need to be freed for the next hungry couple. So I often stay at home and cook something special.
This year I decided to come up with something that would be easy to make but would look super fancy when serving it.
It is inspired by the Fraisier. However this version is much more rich despite not being too heavy nor too sweet.
In case you’re not too found of chocolate (well, that happens!), you can substitute the chocolate mousse with vanilla whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to a more subtle taste.
The brownie base was inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you definitely should. It is delicious to eat by itself and it’s insanely easy to make.
So if you’re one of my own, I would strongly suggest you to do this dessert for your significant other now on Valentine’s Day. Because I have to say, it is as amazing as it looks, seriously.
- 115 g salted butter
- 230 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 150 g sugar
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 80 g all-purpose flour
- 10 g cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 45 g heavy cream
- 45 g whole milk
- 40 g egg yolks
- 20 g sugar
- 220 g couverture dark chocolate (30% or more cocoa butter)
- 280 g whipping cream
- 400 g strawberries
- icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
- In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. It should take about 2 minutes, but to it in 30 second increments, otherwise you may burn your chocolate. Let cool.
- Prepare two square pans of about 9x9 inches and line them with aluminium foil. Set aside.
- To the cooled chocolate mixture, add the sugars and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.
- In another bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cocoa butter and salt. Add this dry mixture to the chocolate mixture by folding it until just combined.
- Fill both pans with half mixture in each one and bake for about 15 minutes or until set in the center.
- Once cooled, cut as many 3 inches/7.5 cm rounds as you can to assemble the pastries later.
- Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl on your microwave in 30 second increments. It should take about 1 minute to have it melted, but keep a close look. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, mix the heavy cream, milk, yolks and sugar. Cook it over medium heat until it coats the back of a pan. This should take about 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches 180°F/84°C.
- Strain this mixture on a fine mesh strainer to make sure no egg bites that may have overcooked in the bottom are added to the mousse. Pour the strained mixture over the melted chocolate. Let cool to about 95°F/35°C.
- In the meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks. Once the chocolate mixture is at the proper temperature, add ⅓ of the cream to it and mix well. Then, fold the remaining ⅔ of cream and set aside.
- Remove the stems from your strawberries and cut them in half. Make sure they are all more or less of the same size (otherwise it may look a bit weird when you assemble it).
- Cover the sides of 5 3-inch tartelette rings with parchment paper or clear cake band (i.e., acetate).
- Put one slice of the brownie in the bottom. Fill the sides of the brownie with the strawberry slices, making sure they are very tight.
- Pour the mousse in the center of the ring, making sure it is spread all over the bottom. Fill it up until it reaches the height of the strawberries. Cover with another slice of brownie and leave it to cool overnight.
- Remove the pastries from the tart rings, and peel the parchment paper from the sides. Dust a bit of icing sugar on top before serving.