What's Your Favorite Romantic Dessert?

by moderndomestic on January 26, 2010

Strawberry Panna Cotta 2

Strawberry panna cotta. Yes, it's pink, but is it really romantic?

Valentine’s Day, as I’m sure I’ve said before, is a silly holiday. No one I know actually knows its origin (I think it has something to do with St. Valentine . . . . and also letters . . . and maybe something about him being in jail. And that’s all I know without the aid of Google), and it’s difficult to see it as anything but a commercial opportunity created by greeting card companies (and, um,  possibly food bloggers).

But it’s certainly made me think a lot about food and romance lately, and what makes a good romantic meal. This weekend I did some research on “aphrodisiac” foods, to see if I couldn’t come up with some kind of Valentine’s-day themed dessert menu, but all my ideas seemed inauthentic and unforgivably cheesy. After all, why should I suggest that you make something with chocolate and figs, both of which are supposedly “aphrodisiac” foods, if neither ingredients mean anything to you?

Romance is so particular to each couple and their history, inside jokes, and personal tastes, that a “romantic” meal will be different for everyone. If you met the love of your life in a Krispy Kremes, a “romantic” dessert might be homemade doughnuts served with different dipping sauces. If you both love chocolate, then maybe you should make that chocolate cake from the cover of Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. Or if you’re both wine lovers, maybe the way you want to end your romantic meal is with a nice glass of champagne (although Lemmonex’s champagne pear cupcakes might be a nice way to end a meal too).

So, I’m curious – do you and your partner have a “romantic” dessert? And what’s the story that makes it romantic to you?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

elpisandjustice January 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

When I was in Alaska I skipped dessert and just made a huge pile of king crab legs. And yes, that big heap of alien looking shells was romantic because damn was it tasty!

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moderndomestic January 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

I have to say, my most “romantic” meal with the ex was probably grilled cheese. Funny how these pedestrian food items take on all these connotations and meanings in relationships.

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probonogeek January 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

The most romantic dessert Diner-in-Crime and I have ever prepared was an Apple and Goat Cheese Gallete out of the Williams-Sonoma Savoring Desserts cookbook.Not only was it very flavorful, it was also light (yet substantial) and thereby avoided unnecessary fullness after the dinner. Which is always good on an anniversary night when one doesn’t want to be weighted down.

But I think your point is right about uniqueness of couples. We watched Hot Fuzz, of all movies, that particular night… and now that movie has a very special / romantic place in my mind. Yes, Hot Fuzz?! But I think that’s the point about romance, you can make almost anything romantic if your feelings are shared and genuine.

There’s also no need to try to capture lightening in a bottle a second time. I’m sure we’ll make the gallete again, but not as a “special” dinner. We can continue to create new romantic meaning out of everyday events and objects just by being in love.

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moderndomestic January 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I love those stories! You’re right – in a good relationship, romance is created in the every day events.

Also, many V-Day dessert recipes don’t take the “lightness” factor into account. But they really, really should.

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katy January 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm

My husband proclaims he does not like sweets/desserts, especially anything chocolate related, unless they are pie (which I do not like). This is, of course, until I’m am consuming a sweet/dessert & then of course he wants a bite. Or three.

This year for Valentines Day, we are having Nigella’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge sundae: http://www.nigella.com/recipe/recipe_detail.aspx?rid=94.

This probably says something about our relationship, like that we’re *that* married couple that moved out to the ‘burbs, stopped going to clubs and started popping out kids. Which, of course, we are! But, we like it that way…comfortable & in that relationship “groove.” Nothing quite says that like an extremely gluttonous ice cream sundae!!!

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moderndomestic January 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Mmmm, that looks so good. So do you always serve yourself a double portion of dessert knowing that your husband will eat half?

I think there’s nothing wrong with being “that” married couple if it makes you happy. And congrats on your pregnancy! That’s very exciting.

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katy January 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Thanks! We’re excited as well!

I do not usually serve myself a double portion in anticipation of him eating half because I make him swear a solemn vow that he won’t eat my dessert.

And then it’s on my plate & he gives the most pathetic look begging for a taste & I relent. I should know better, but really, it is best for my waistline to have his “help” in dessert eating. :)

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k8 January 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I don’t have a partner in crime, but I do know that the chocolate “pudding” which is more like melted candybars or something at the new Bistro here in town is on my short list for when my next girlfriend has a broken heart.

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moderndomestic January 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I’m thinking that I need to do another post (perhaps post-Valentine’s day) called “what’s your breakup dessert?”

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katy January 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

In one of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks (yes, I am a bit of a fan), she has a chocolate cake recipe that says:

Serves 8. Or one broken heart.

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Sheryl January 26, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Lurker and friend of Katy here :)

Anything deeply darkly chocolate is my romantic dessert of choice. Not to totally pimp out my sad little blog, but the chocolate mousse, chocolate soufflé, and chocolate pavé on there are a-mazing (since they’re not my recipes, I feel less guilty about the pimping). :) Anything that takes just a little more effort is what I make on Valentine’s Day… a day I don’t even celebrate other than to bake chocolatey awesomeness. I’m considering a pot de creme or “princess pudding” this year (a Fran Bigelow recipe). Yummm.

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moderndomestic January 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

No – pimp away! I love new recipes. Especially chocolate ones.

Pot de creme is awesome – and really easy. But I can’t say no to a good chocolate mousse. It’s always a classic.

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Phil January 26, 2010 at 5:00 pm

We always enjoy chocolate-covered strawberries (cliche I know), but they do take the “lightness” factor into account. As far as favorite romantic dessert I’d have to go with the chocolate chip walnut cookie from Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. http://www.levainbakery.com/ Crystal and I ate that during our picnic in Central Park right after I proposed.

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moderndomestic January 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I think that some things are cliched for a reason, you know? Like chocolate and mint, or peanut butter and chocolate – they’re ubiquitous flavors, sure, but they’re also really good.

You did a picnic proposal in the park? That’s so cute!

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elpisandjustice January 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm

They did! It was a total foodie proposal with gourmet cheese, I think from Murray’s.

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Phil January 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

The cheese was from Murray’s!

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