CHICAGO (WLS) --Valentine's Day is here! And if you want to treat the romance in your life, Eli's Cheesecake Company is offering a full array of festive sweets. Laurel Boger, Executive Pastry Chef at Eli's Cheesecake Company, visited ABC 7 Eyewitness News Weekend Mornings to give a few tips to make your Valentine's Day perfect.
Valentine's Day at Eli's Cheesecake including do-it-yourself cheesecake decorating, a special Valentine's Day lunch, and festive specialty baked items
Date: February 14, 2016
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with lunch served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Address: 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive, Chicago IL 60634
Admission/Ticket Prices: free admission; lunch is $10, desserts are priced individually
CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD CRUST
YIELD: 18 (2-INCH) TARTLET SHELLS
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioners' sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. Add the salt and vanilla to the bowl and beat on low speed until the mixture is fully incorporated.
3. Add the flour and cocoa powder to the bowl and beat on low speed until the mixture is fully incorporated and the dough comes together.
4. Shape the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
BELGIAN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE BATTER
YIELD: 18 - 2 INCH MINI TARTLETS
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 large whole eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces Belgian Chocolate Ganache
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl to prevent lumps from forming.
2. In a separate small mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir until well combined.
3. Add the contents of the small mixing bowl to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl and continue beating on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Slowly add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time. After adding each, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue beating on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes,until the mixture is fully incorporated.
5. Add the vanilla and the Belgian Chocolate Ganache to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture should be well blended, but not overbeaten.
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof mixing bowl.
2. Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until a skin begins to form on the cream. Remove from the heat.
3. Transfer the heated cream to the medium mixing bowl containing the chocolate. Set aside for 1 minute to allow the chocolate to begin to melt.
4. Whisk the mixture vigorously, until it is smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Set aside and keep warm (but not hot).
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
1. Prepare the Chocolate Shortbread Crust (see recipe above). Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the 18 tartlet pans on a pair of baking sheets. Roll out the dough in a circular shape to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut out 18 - 3 inch discs of dough. Using your fingers, press the discs into the tartlet pans, making sure to evenly spread the dough on the bottom and up thesides of each pan. Use a paring knife to trim away any excess dough.
Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Note: Tartlet crusts bake quickly-set your timer to be sure you don't overbake the crusts. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.