This is an extra-special dessert to make for your Valentine. It's a bit like making lasagna--several parts made separately that all come together at the end. The recipe looks long and complex, but read all the way through for tips, substitutions and a shortcut or two. For a printer-friendly pdf version, click here.
Floating Heart Ritz
* see tips and substitution notes below
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 cup crumbled almond macaroons *
4 ladyfingers, split in half * (click here for recipe)
2 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Raspberry sauce (makes 2 cups)*
2 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen raspberries, thawed (place in colander, and colander inside a bowl to catch juice as it thaws)
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup currant jelly (or raspberry jam)
1/2 cup heavy cream
chocolate curls (see note)
Line a (6-7 cup) heart-shaped mold with foil.*
Heart cake: In small saucepan, combine sugar with 1/3 c. water; bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil gently, without stirring, to 230F on candy thermometer, or until a little of sugar mixture spins a thread when dropped from spoon.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, beat egg yolks and salt until light. Gradually beat in hot syrup, in a thin stream; continue beating until mixture begins to cool, about 2 minutes. Stir in macaroons.* Refrigerate 30 minutes. Rake with a fork to break into crumbs.
Meanwhile, sprinkle ladyfingers with Grand Marnier; set aside. Combine 1 1/2 c. cream with extracts; beat until stiff.
With rubber scraper, fold whipped cream into macaroon mixture. Turn half of mixture into prepared mold; cover with ladyfingers; pour in remaining mixture. Freeze until firm—about 4 hours.
Meanwhile, make raspberry sauce: Drain raspberries, reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to make 2 cups. In small saucepan, blend liquid with cornstarch. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 5 minutes. Stir in jelly until melted. Remove from heat; add raspberries. Refrigerate, covered, until cold.
At serving time: beat 1/2 c. cream until stiff. Unmold frozen heart onto chilled shallow serving dish. Spoon raspberry sauce around base. Decorate top with whipped cream, using pastry bag with decorating tip, if desired.* Garnish with chocolate curls.
* Tips and substitutions
Heart mold: Turn an 8-inch square baking dish as shown. Ball up aluminum foil and fill in top part to make indentation for top of heart. Once heart shape is formed, line the entire heart shape with foil. For more heart-shape molds and ideas, see this post.
Other options for the heart shape include freezing the cake in a layer and using a heart cookie cutter; or make a paper heart pattern, place on top of cake and cut with a sharp knife.
Macaroons and ladyfingers can be hard to find. I’ve just used all crumbled ladyfingers in place of the macaroons.
Currant jelly can also be difficult to find. You can substitute raspberry jam.
Chocolate curls. Use a vegetable peeler on the edge of a chocolate bar, preferably dark chocolate. If the chocolate bar is too hard, you’ll end up with shavings. I had been baking something in the oven, and the top of my stove was warm. I put the chocolate bar on a plate and let it set until the chocolate came off in curls. Set the curls aside on a plate and keep cool.
Pastry bag and decorating tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag and decorating tips, use a sandwich bag. Fill the bag with the whipped cream, press out extra air, and zip closed. With scissors, clip a tiny corner off. You can then make a decoration of pea-sized beads around the top edge of the heart.