Even if one does not want to think of the topic, one is forced to think of it, as the Valentine’s day phenomenon is now worldwide; it is celebrated in Lebanon,in the U.S.A, in Europe or Australia, Japan,…etc.
A few favorite quotes:
From Napoléon: ” In matters of love, the only victory is in flight” En amour, la seule victoire est dans la fuite.
- The heart has its own reasons and does not answer to logic. Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas. Jacques Prévert.
From our own Kahlil Gibran: ” Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit“
…and the great (Syrian) poet Nizar Kabbani who wrote about love and whose poems are sung so beautifully by Kazem El-Saher, the #1 Arab and Iraqi singer. Taina, the Northshorewoman, talks about Nizar Kabbani and lists a few of her favorite poems.
Each person thinks of love differently. Some people think of it as a beautiful thing, others as a violent feeling that brings pain as well. Of course, here we are talking about romantic love, but to me any kind of love involves a certain amount of pain; (feel free to put your two cents in)
So, in trying to come up with a dessert I thought of something that would convey how I see it: It is not easy because it can be tender, it can be violent, it can be soft, it can be rough, it can be tumultuous, it can be serene.
So, I think I am going to explore various interpretations since I can’t settle on only one.
Today, it is a ganache enveloping a shortbread, known in Lebanese as ghoraybeh, for the tender one.
TO MAKE THE GANACHE:
- 200 g of your favorite chocolate (2 bars)
- 150 g of whipping cream (1/2 pint)
- flavoring: could be anything, liqueur, a spice, or nothing at all (up to one tablespoon of liquid)
- Cut the chocolate in small pieces or squares.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan to the boiling point (notice steam and little bubbles on the edges). Add the chocolate, let it sit there for a minute, then stir to combine.Turn off the heat and stir until the ganache is bright and shiny and smooth.
- Let it cool for about 15 minutes. Then pour into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, and keep the pastry bag filled with ganache in a tall glass till needed. Cool in the fridge for 15 minutes or until it is firm enough to pour into the shape you want.
- Shape into a heart or anything else you like and let it firm up in the fridge for a quarter of an hour. Decorate by sprinkling dragées or cocoa powder or powdered sugar and serve.
TO MAKE THE COOKIE (Ghoraybeh)
- 80 g. of powdered sugar
- 80 g. of shortening
- 170 g. of cake flour
- flavoring: could be 2 teaspoons of arak (or ouzo or pastis), or anise extract or rose water or anything that you feel like using.
- Place the shortening in a mixing bowl. Place a sifter over the bowl and sift the sugar into the bowl.
- Mix the sugar and shortening with the paddle for at least 15 minutes, scraping the bowl every so often, until the mixture is considerably lighter in color and smooth.
- Sift the flour over the sugar mixture and mix till blended and the dough is compact and soft. You will add the flavoring at this time, along with a tablespoon of cream (or milk) if the dough is too dry or brittle.
- Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Set aside in the fridge for about one hour.
When ready to bake:
- Place the dough on a sheet of wax paper and cover it with another sheet of wax paper.
- Using a rolling pin, stretch it into 1/4 inch thickness and remove the top layer of wax paper.
- Cut into the shape of your choice. Gather the scraps and start over; or freeze to bake later.
- Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 15 minutes, do not let it get brown or toasted.
- Place the cookie in the center of a plate, flipping it and dabbing the back with a bit of ganache so that it will stay put on the plate.
- Using the pastry bag as a guide, trace a tube of ganache all around the cookie to marry the shape of the cookie. Let it firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Sift some gold dust on the ganache (and cookie) if you wish. Decorate with gold dragées. (optional). I prefer the cookie plain, so I do this operation while I cover the cookie.
NOTE: Gold dust, dragées, can be found at cake supply stores or online through a number of outfits. It can be sifted over the ganache or painted with a brush; however to be painted it needs to be mixed with a little lemon extract or alcohol like Vodka or Gin.
I got this cookie mold (years ago) online from :houseonthehill
Sources for the recipe: Ganache recipe, merci to Senga
Ghoraybeh recipe is adapted; the classic recipe calls for ghee, I found American shortening works fine (Crisco) and calls for flour oo, which is hard to find in the US, I substituted cake flour.
I have frozen leftover ganache up to 3 months without any problem. Put in a tight plastic container or bag, freeze and defrost at room temp or in the microwave (carefully) and reuse.
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