Whether or not you have a date this Valentine’s Day doesn’t really matter when you have good friends, good food, and good wine. We corralled up our favorite foodies for their ultimate dessert fest to celebrate not only the day of love, but the launch of Joy the Baker’s first cookbook as well. Whitney Adams from Brunellos Have More Fun selected the perfect wines to sip with the sweet stuff; Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker brought Chocolate Cream Pie and Homemade Toasted Coconut Donuts; and Claire Thomas of The Kitchy Kitchen made Chocolate Brown Butter Bread Pudding and Raspberry Rose and Pistachio Pavlova, plus captured the whole thing! We’re getting a residual sugar high just looking at it all!
This chocolate pudding pie is the perfect combination of causal and elegant. It’s topped with fluffy, vanilla speckled whipped cream and real chocolate sprinkles. It looks like regal comfort food. The crust is buttery with hints of toasted coconut. The best part about this pie? Forget the knife and spatula… serve this pie using a large serving spoon. Keep it easy and serve it generously.
Homemade doughnuts are perhaps the most perfect and only way to show someone you care. These doughnuts are a play on the traditional cake doughnut, frosted pink and decorated with snow white coconut. This version is slightly more neon and toasted, making is rustic cool.
For food compatibility (and aesthetics), I chose 3 wines in shades of blush. There was a Battle of the Gamays and an interesting Italian dessert wine to sweeten the deal.
Frantz Saumon “La Cave Se Rebiffe” Petillant Naturel ($18.69, Selection Massale)
Named after a 1961 Jean Gabin movie, this gently sparkling rosé is made from 100% Gamay from Montlouis in Loire. Taking a sip of the wine was much like biting into a fresh, tart raspberry, so it was a perfect match with the Pavlova. Goes to show you don’t need a sweet wine for dessert. The acidity and playful fruit balanced the soft cream and meringue and didn’t overwhelm the delicate flavors of the berries or clash with the salty pistachios.
Jean-Paul Brun Terres Dorees “FRV100” ($20 , Domaine LA)
A méthode ancestrale style sparkling rose and slightly sweeter expression of the Gamay grape, this wine hails from Beaujolais. It’s cheerful and dare I say gulp-able and dang near perfect with fried donuts. Who knew! Ever the versatile workhorse of a dessert course, it’s also a delicious match with Joy’s chocolate cream pie.
Luigi Giusti Visciola ($30, Domaine LA)
Made from Lacrima wine and sweetened Visciola cherry juice, this dolci wine is classic in the Marche region of Italy. Kind of like a lighter, less sweet and more aromatic red port. Great with the chocolate bread pudding! Take a bite of the dessert and a sip of the Visciola and it’s like you’re biting into a chocolate covered cherry.
Pink Raised Doughnuts with Toasted Coconut
makes 12-14 doughnuts
recipe adapted slightly from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts
For the Doughnuts:
3 tablespoons (four ¼ ounce packages) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)
½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons iodized salt
4 to 4 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting, rolling, and cutting
¼ cup vegetable shortening
3 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola oil for frying
For the Glaze:
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 drops red or pink food coloring
scant 1/3 cup hot water, plus more if necessary
To Make the Doughnuts:
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until mixture is foamy and frothy. That’s how you know the yeast is alive and ready to doughnut!
2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and 4 cups of bread flour. Set aside.
3. Break up shortening and add to the yeast mixture. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat on low speed, using the paddle attachment. This will deflate the yeast bubbles and help break up the shortening.
4. With the mixture on low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients. Blend until flour disappears. Add another third of the dry ingredients. Beat until flour disappears. Switch to the dough hook and add the last amount of flour. Mix on low speed until no flour bits remain. Add a bit more flour if necessary. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, and not stick to the bottom in a pool.
5. Knead for 2 minutes. The dough will be glossy, and just a bit sticky… but it shouldn’t stick to your hands.
6. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of flour. Shake into a 6-inch circle and dust the top with flour. Cover with a dishtowel and set in a warm place to double in size.
7. The Top Pot Cookbook has an awesome way to create your own proofing box! Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Pour about 8 cups of water into a large baking dish. Set it on the floor of your oven. Place the sheet tray with covered dough on the middle rack above the steaming water, close the oven door and let rise for about 1 hour.
8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a roughly 12-inch circle, about ½ inch thick. Cut into 12 doughnuts and 12 holes using a 2 ¾-inch and 1 ¼-inch round cutter. Gently transfer the doughnuts and holes to two baking sheets that have been sprinkled with flour. Set the doughnuts for their second rise about 2 inches apart.
9. Let rise in the oven for another 30-45 minutes, using another hot water proofing bath.
10. In a medium or large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat canola oil that is 2-inches deep. Use a candy thermometer to bring the oil to 350 degrees F.
11. When the doughnuts have doubled in size, place a few doughnuts into the oil to fry. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry for 30 seconds on one side, flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Doughnuts will darken slightly as they cool, so don’t cook them too dark. Transfer to a few layers of paper towel to cool. Bring the fry oil back to 350 degrees F before frying new batches of doughnuts.
12. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
To Make the Glaze:
Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add the food coloring and hot water and use a whisk to incorporate. Blend until entirely smooth. If the mixture seems to thick to easily dip doughnuts, add more hot water 1 teaspoon at a time.
To ice the doughnuts, dip one side of the cooled doughnuts into the freshly made icing. Let dry and set for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.