The art of food seduction is both subjective and varied in execution.
You may feel like the way to extract a groan of pleasure from the eater is by serving up a big plate of Baked Chilli Cheese Fries, as the very wonderful Joy the Baker does - think I might have to have a plate of these later today. Alternatively you may want to go for the more traditionally decadent Champagne Truffles like the equally wonderful Poires au Chocolat, something classy and romantic. There are so many ways you can hit the spot with food it is quite hard to decide in what way (and how of course) you want to wow someone. And last Thursday (the 14th of February to clarify) was my turn to step up to the plate and try and create my own form of food seduction. No pressure, right.
I had to think logically. Naturally, dessert needs to be a show stopper. Surely there has to be chocolate... And what could push that over the edge and into foodie oblivion? Think, think, think...
Lathering upon lathering of caramel.
Millionaire's Valentine Tart. Angels sing.
Added bonus points if the person you are cooking for is already a sucker for Millionaire's slices.
I adapted a recipe from BBC GoodFood that you can find here.
For Millionaire's Valentine Tart you will need:
For the pastry:
200g plain flour
100g cold unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
250g Caramel - as I've yet to master caramel I used mine from a tin
100g 70% plain chocolate
100g white chocolate
6 tbsp melted butter
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
1-2 tbsp icing sugar
1 handful of seductive looking red fruit
There is a little bit of work and assembly but whoever you make this little beauty for will be very grateful and you will be the unrivalled mistress or master of the kitchen.
To begin, make your pastry by pinching together the cold, chopped butter, the flour and the vanilla essence. Do this until you reach a breadcrumb like consistency and then add the water and form a pastry ball.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface and then use it to line a 20cm fluted tin.
Chill the pastry for 30 minutes and then heat your oven to 180c.
Once chilled, line with greaseproof paper and baking beads. If you don't have baking beads you can use pasta or pulses and can reuse them the next time you bake.
Bake blind (with the beads and paper on) for 15-20 minutes then remove the beads and paper. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Spread the caramel over the base whilst the pastry is still warm and set aside whilst you make the chocolate filling.
Lower the temperature of the oven to 160c.
Begin by melting both quantities of chocolate, broken into pieces, in a bowl over a simmering saucepan of water. Make sure the bowl is above the water and not touching it.
Stir the chocolates together. Once you've finished with the spoon you are totally obliged to lick it.
Stir in the melted butter and leave over the simmering water to keep warm.
Now whisk together all of your eggs and the sugar.
Do this for about 10 minutes.
Your mixture should be a light, airy consistency a little bit like a runny mousse.
Now combine the chocolate mixture with the eggs mixture by folding the chocolate in with a metal spoon. Keep folding until you have an even, chocolatey colour.
Pour on top of the pastry and caramel. If you have any chocolate mixture left over I found it refrigerated very well and tasted like chocolate mousse. Very enjoyable with a chopped banana.
Bake the completed tart for 20-25 minutes until the top is set but still has a little wobble.
Chill for at least three hours or preferably over night.
Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Sorry I haven't got a picture of the whole thing, I got a little giddy over how delicious it looked! But can you blame me...
Toss on the fruits if you'd like or serve it alone and let the baby speak for itself.
Tuck in food seduction artists everywhere!