Every year countless of women and men wreck their brains over what they are doing for Valentine’s day. Some consider it a typical Hallmark holiday but the hopeless romantics incessantly search for the perfect date night. The beauty is it does not have to be as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Speaking from experience, Valentine’s Day does not have to be expensive and lavish but instead loving and original.
My husband has given me some pretty memorable Valentine’s Days. He has taken me to plays, top Chicago restaurants and given me special gifts. But one of the most memorable Valentine’s Days was one when there were no restaurants, no fancy outfits, no lavish gifts.
I came over to his house after a 12 hour work day as a server, on the busiest night of the year, exhausted and frankly sick of Valentine’s Day. Adorned in my garlic infused work uniform and a few splatters of marinara, I walked into the house ready to grab my bottle of wine and go to sleep.
Instead, he walked me down the stairs to his basement and revealed his surprise. A room full of lit candles, a bottle of Champagne and handmade chocolate dipped strawberries with a bottle of Redi Whip cream. The strawberries were adorably messy and irresistibly sweet and the Redi Whip was just so deliciously perfect.
We giggled and sprayed whip cream at each other and cuddled up to watch a movie. There were no views from the 99th floor of some swanky building nor were there any fancy outfits. It was us and a simple spread of sweets and laughter. Which happened to be just enough.
If I can tell you anything it’s that, on the busiest day in the restaurant world, do yourself a favor and stay in.
While you are at it whip yourself up this tantalizing dessert.
It’s incredibly easy but impossible to resist. Grab a bottle of Champagne and go crazy over this sweet and creamy dessert.
Start by combining the eggs and corn starch in a bowl with a whisk. Whisk until the cornstarch is incorporated evenly into the eggs.
Pour milk and sugar into a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. ***If you want to make plain vanilla pastry cream, just add in a split vanilla bean into the milk to infuse it with vanilla-y flavor. And omit the Nutella obviously***
Once the milk boils, pour the milk into the egg mixture one ladle at a time; using half of the egg mixture. This is called tempering. You want to do this because if you combine the hot liquid with the eggs without tempering they will curdle.
At this point pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan and bring it back up to a boil while stirring vigorously with a whisk.
Garnish with confectioners sugar and enjoy. ***Hint…You can also use this to fill eclairs, cakes, macarons, puff pastry, filo dough and practically any other fillable dessert you can think of. If this cools and you would like to whip up some more air into it to make it frothy, you can place it in a mixer with a whipping attachment and whip away for a few minutes! Add in some whipped whipping cream into it to make it light and fluffy like a mousse!***
A Simple Valentine’s Day…Nutella Pastry Cream
- 3 Cups of Whole Milk
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 6 Egg Yolks
- 1/3 Cup Corn Starch
- 1.5 Cups Nutella
- Combine eggs and corn starch in a bowl with a whisk.
- Pour milk and sugar into a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Once the milk boils, pour the milk into the egg mixture one ladle at a time; using half of the egg mixture. ***This is called tempering. You want to do this because if you combine the hot liquid with the eggs without tempering they will curdle.***
- At this point pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan and bring it back up to a boil while stirring vigorously with a whisk.
- Once the pastry cream has thickened up, remove from heat and add nutella.
- Pour into beautiful glasses or ramekins and cool until ready to eat.
- Garnish with confectioners sugar and enjoy.
*** Originally published on Feb 7th 2014***