Valentine’s Day approaches and scores of people are writing cards, buying candy and flowers, or even preparing marriage proposals! It has become the second largest “giving day” after Christmas. For the historians among us, it is thought that this tradition began in 6th century BC with Lupercalia, the ancient Roman fertility festival. Centuries later, a man named Valentine was imprisoned by the Roman Emperor for insolence. During his imprisonment he and a blind girl named Julia, the jailor’s daughter, prayed together. Her sight was restored, but Valentine was nevertheless executed on February 14th. For his martyrdom, he became St. Valentine. And it is he who is responsible for our heart-felt traditions.
Valentine’s Day always involves something delicious for dessert especially involving chocolate. So, looking to the pantry and freezer with a Valentine’s theme in mind, I selected some strawberry preserves and vanilla ice cream imagining the strawberry chunks and jelly swirling through the ice cream. And to top it off, a rich luscious hot chocolate fudge sauce. This chocolate fudge sauce recipe is the most reliable and delicious sauce I have made. It comes from the iconic Silver Palate Cookbook. This fudge sauce when poured hot over ice cream, will firm up like fudge! It freezes and reheats well if the reheating is done slowly. Imagine your Valentine’s dinner ending with strawberry swirl ice cream and chocolate sauce. Sounds perfect for both adults and children.
In 1415 Charles, Duke of Orleans, wrote to his wife, referring to her as “my gentle Valentine” which is said to be the first reference to a Valentine note. And by 1913 Hallmark printed the first commercial Valentine’s Day cards. Bring out your pens, construction paper and loving words, and raid the pantry for a Valentine’s Day inspired dessert!
Pantry-Inspired Valentine Ice Cream & Silver Palate Chocolate Fudge Sauce
Soften 4 cups of good quality vanilla ice cream. Place a 250ml jar of strawberry preserves in a small saucepan. Lighten with 1 TBSP water or Grand Marnier. Warm slightly to liquify and then bring to room temperature. Mix preserves into ice cream in a swirling fashion. Refreeze the blended ice cream. This method also works well with lemon curd if that is your preference.
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 3 TBSP unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 TBSP corn syrup
- 1 TBSP rum (optional)
Melt chocolate and butter slowly in a saucepan. When melted, pour in boiling water, and stir. Add sugar and corn syrup and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Adjust heat so that the sauce gently boils. Boil without stirring for exactly 9 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and rest for 15 minutes. Stir in rum if using. If you are freezing the sauce, let it cool completely. Pour into 250 ml jars leaving a 1-inch headspace. To use, thaw in a warm water bath.
Putting it All Together
Scoop the ice cream into a dish. Drizzle over hot chocolate fudge sauce. If you like, add crumbled shortbread or amaretti cookies. Nothing wrong with a cinnamon heart on top!