Valentine's Day Desserts

The executive pastry chef of Gracie's shares recipes starring our favorite ingredient: chocolate.

Black Cocoa Ice Cream with Honey Miso Butterscotch

Photography by Angel Tucker

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You could, of course, bestow your sweetie with a box of candy or a dozen roses for Valentine’s Day, but why not whip up something personal, something you both (ahem) can enjoy. We asked Melissa Denmark, executive pastry chef at Gracie’s in Providence, to share her dessert recipes using chocolate, her favorite ingredient (and ours too, for that matter).
“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like it,” she says. We couldn’t agree more.


Gracie’s has a three-course dessert tasting menu; why didn’t we think of that?


Dark Chocolate Marquise

½ cup heavy cream       
¼ cup granulated sugar   
3 eggs, separated    
¼ cup water           
1/3 cup chopped butter           
1 ¾ cup 64% dark chocolate    
1 ½ tsp cocoa powder   
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 8 individual ramekins in baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.  Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Shut off the heat. In a small bowl whisk together half of the sugar, egg yolks and water. Place bowl over the pot of water; be careful water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Using the steam as a heat source, warm the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly about 5 minutes. Mixture should become very frothy and thicken to “ribbon stage.” If you allow some of the egg mixture to flow off the whisk into the bowl, and a ribbon of the mixture stays visible for several seconds before disappearing, you are there.

Melt together the butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and salt and whisk into egg yolk mixture. In a mixing bowl, whip remaining sugar and egg whites on high speed until medium peaks form. Fold meringue into chocolate mixture in two stages; don’t over mix. Fold in whipped cream until mixture is combined. Spoon into ramekins, filling about ¾ of the way up. Fill baking dish with hot water about 1 inch up the side of the ramekins. Bake 20 minutes or until marquise is puffed in the center and springs back when you press on the center. Cool 10 minutes in baking dish.

Serve warm topped with fresh red currants (or other seasonal berries) and a side of coffee anglaise (see below), which can be poured into the center of the marquise, if desired.

Coffee Anglaise

7 egg yolks           
2 cups heavy cream           
2 tsp ground coffee beans
1/3 cup granulated sugar       
¼ tsp salt                

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl, set aside. Heat cream, coffee beans, salt and half the sugar to a simmer. Whisk together the remaining sugar and egg yolks until smooth. Add a small ladle of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Continue to add hot cream a little bit at a time until half the mixture is incorporated. Pour everything back into the pot and heat on a medium-low heat. Whisk constantly until mixture begins to nap, or thicken, and thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon without running off. Strain into a clean bowl, removing the flecks of coffee bean. Cool over ice bath and store in airtight container until ready to serve. Serves 8.

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