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    Sweet Lovin’ For Valentine’s Day

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Here’s a Chocolate & Mascarpone Fruit Tart,
    I’d like to share it with you.

    This Valentine’s Day, avoid navigating around the icky flavors in a box of chocolates. Impress your special someone with these colorful, two-bite bonbons – filled with buttery pound cake, raspberry jam, and sweetened mascarpone cream, then topped with fresh berries.

    Ingredients
    6 ounces semi- or bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
    4 slices store-bought pound cake, ¼-inch-thick
    3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
    6 ounces mascarpone cheese
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 tablespoons powdered sugar
    3 tablespoons apricot jam
    12 fresh raspberries
    12 fresh blueberries
    12 fresh blackberries

    Directions
    Gather 12 mini cupcake liners and a pastry brush.

    Place the chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 second intervals until melted, stirring after each cook time. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, brush the insides of the cupcake liners with roughly 2 teaspoons of chocolate to form thin walls and sides, but making sure not to see any of the paper liner. Set the chocolate-filled liners on a tray or plate and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, place the slices of pound cake on a cutting board. Transfer the seedless raspberry jam to a small bowl and microwave for 15 to 30 seconds, or until smooth. Spread the jam on the surface of the pound cake slices. Use a small round cutter or shot glass to make 12 small discs of cake and jam so they will fit in the chocolate cups. Refrigerate these discs and enjoy the scraps for a snack.

    To unmold the chocolate cups, gently but quickly (to prevent melting) peel the paper from the chocolate then place them back in the refrigerator when you’ve finished. Allow them to chill for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar until smooth. Transfer this creamy mixture to a piping bag, with a star tip. Alternatively, you can use a disposable bag and cut off a corner when ready to pipe.

    Place the apricot jam in the same small bowl that was used to warm the raspberry jam. Microwave for 15 to 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Brush the berries with the jam to add a glazed shine. Alternatively, you can wear a food safe glove and brush it with the apricot jam before rolling the berries between your jammy fingers to apply the glaze. Place the berries on parchment or waxed paper to dry.

    To assemble the Chocolate & Mascarpone Fruit Tarts, place a small round of jam-covered pound cake in the bottom of each chocolate cup. Pipe a tablespoon or so of the sweetened mascarpone on the cake, then top with the glazed berries. Refrigerate the tarts for up to 3 days, but good luck not eating them immediately.

    Pipe the sweetened mascarpone cream on top of the pound cake.
    Pipe the sweetened mascarpone cream on top of the pound cake.

    Insert a disc of jam-covered pound cake into each chocolate cup.
    Insert a disc of jam-covered pound cake into each chocolate cup.

    Kerry Stantonhttp://chefkerrystanton.com
    Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald.“I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”

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