HomeFOOD & WINESwoon-worthy romantic desserts…

Swoon-worthy romantic desserts…

It’s a tradition to give your sweetheart a box of chocolates … but whipping up sweet Valentine’s Day treats? Now that really raises the bar.

So, don your apron and try these recipes courtesy of three chefs from Capsicum Culinary Studio.


By Charne Wylie, Pretoria campus

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You’ll need: 3 eggs; 125g dark chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa; 10g unsalted butter; 125ml cream; 35g castor sugar

How to: 

Separate eggs and yolks while eggs are cold. Place whites in a large bowl and yolks in a small bowl. Leave whites while you prepare other ingredients. Whisk the yolks. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside to cool. Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Beat the egg whites and slowly add the sugar while continuing to beat until firm peaks form. Fold the egg yolks into the cream using a rubber spatula. Pour the lukewarm chocolate into the cream yolk mixture and fold through. Add ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture and fold through until incorporated. Next, pour the chocolate mixture into the egg whites and fold through until incorporated and no more white lumps remain. Divide the mixture between 2 glasses or pots and refrigerate for at least five hours, preferably overnight.

To serve, garnish with blueberries, strawberries or raspberries and a tiny sprig of mint for colour.


By Bernice Warner, Nelson Mandela Bay campus

You’ll need: 1 large egg white; 38g ground almonds; 75g icing sugar; 25g castor sugar; 2ml vanilla essence; 2ml red food colouring (optional)

For the buttercream filling – 50g white chocolate; 30ml cream; 62.5g butter; 250g sifted icing sugar; 2ml vanilla essence; drop of red food colouring

How to:

Sift together the ground almonds and the icing sugar, then sift the combined mixture again, twice. Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form then slowly add the castor sugar forming a meringue of stiff peak. While whisking, add the desired food colouring and vanilla essence.

Once the mixture is ready gently fold in the ground almonds/icing sugar mixture. A slotted spoon is the best for this. Ladle the mixture into a piping bag and pipe the macarons in heart shapes on a baking tray that has been greased and lined with baking paper. Bake in a fan assisted oven at 150°CºC for 10-15 minutes depending on size.

Allow the macarons to cool completely before filling.

For the filling:

Melt chocolate and cream. Cream the butter and icing sugar together, add the chocolate mixture and vanilla essence. Whip until light and fluffy. Spoon a little onto the flat surface of a macaron, then place a second macaron on top to sandwich the filling. Serve as soon as possible as macarons do not keep for very long.


By Hendrik Pretorius, Capsicum Pretoria campus alumnus

(Legend has it that Mahalania was introduced into Arab cuisine in the late seventh century by a cook from Persia, who served it to an Arab general by the name of Al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufra who liked it so much, he named it after himself.)

You’ll need: 990ml milk; 250g sugar; 80g cornstarch or white rice flour; 25ml rose water or orange extract; 50g pistachio nuts, roasted and crushed

How to: 

Warm the milk and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Place the cornstarch or white rice flour into a separate bowl, pour in 50ml of the warm milk/ sugar mixture and whisk until smooth, then pour the mixture back into the pot with the sugar and milk and stir continuously over medium-low heat.

Cook until the mixture thickens and resembles a custard (15 – 20 minutes) then remove from the heat and add the rose water or orange extract. Next, pour the mixture into pretty serving dishes, glasses or cups and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 3 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the crushed pistachio nuts on top along with a dash of rosewater or orange extract (whichever one you are using).

If you want to make this dessert in advance and keep the Mahalabia overnight, cover the dishes with cling film to prevent the surface from becoming too dry or absorbing any fridge smells.

Tip: To avoid burning the bottom of the Mahalabia use a heavy-based saucepan and cook over medium to low heat only.

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