This post was written by guest contributor Michael Devine, a New York–based textile designer, whose upcoming book, An Invitation to the Garden: Entertaining, Cultivating, and Cooking through the Four Seasons, will be published by Rizzoli in the spring of 2014.
Anyone who knows me knows that France, in particular Paris, plays an important role in my life. I am continuously inspired by the l’art de vivre of the French and their style. It is endlessly fascinating to me how they can transform just about anything from pedestrian to special.
Last year, when I was visiting the City of Light, I stumbled upon a small bakery. There in
the window was a display of heart-shaped brownies. But, so inspired by the novelty and charm of those heart-shaped goodies, I have spent the last year vaguely haunted by them.
After numerous trials, I have at last perfected a simple recipe that elevates the idea of the heart-shaped brownie to magical chocolate decadence, with a mixture of dark and semisweet chocolates that is neither too sweet nor too bitter. The warm molten center holds a surprise: a bit of white chocolate that contrasts the richness of the dark chocolate. And it’s only enhanced when served with a creamy cloud of crème anglaise. Come to think of it, aren’t most desserts amplified when snuggled up to a good crème anglaise?
Molten Chocolate Hearts with White Chocolate Centers
4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
8 squares white chocolate
Crème anglaise for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat 8 heart-shaped silicone molds with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
Slowly melt the dark and semisweet chocolates and the butter over low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and sugar until light in color. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Slowly incorporate the chocolate-butter mixture until combined. Add the flour in increments, mixing after each addition until smooth.
Fill the molds ¾ full and insert a square of white chocolate into each mold. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the hearts from the oven, and let cool for 12 to 15 minutes. Unmold the hearts onto individual plates and serve alongside a pool of crème anglaise, if using.
The hearts can be made a day ahead and reheated for 20 seconds on high in the microwave to remelt the centers.
(Photos: Michael Devine)