Southern Valentine

Submitted by Christi
Still happy after all these years.

Still happy after all these years.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan. When I was a kid I enjoyed making the Valentine bags from white paper sacks and red and pink construction paper. I liked exchanging the little paper Valentines with all my school friends.

When I got older the expectations changed. If you were not in a relationship you always hated Valentine’s Day. If you were in a relationship, you hoped it would live up to your expectations and it caused a lot of pressure on you and your sweetie.

I’ve been happily married for a little over 11 years now and I actually enjoy Valentine’s Day a little more now. I don’t have a lot of expectations. We are usually too busy to do too much. Maybe a nice dinner with dessert. We rarely ever have dessert around here so that is a big deal. We usually even make our own Valentines and don’t bother with store bought and don’t even exchange gifts. This is fine with me. Now it is just kind of a day to reflect that we are happy with each other and still in love . . .

That is not just enough, that is a lot!

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Today’s Lagniappe: Christi’s Chocolate Chocolate Pudding Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Note: This is my easier version of Emeril Lagasse’s chocolate chocolate pudding cake with chocolate ganache. If you are more ambitious, you can make his original version.

  • 1 chocolate cake mix baked according to package directions
  • 3/4 cups Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 pkg. chocolate¬† pudding made according to directions
  • 2 cups heavy cream 1-1/2 lbs. semi-sweet chocolate squares, chopped

Bake the chocolate cake according to package directions. Make 2 layers. Using a serrated knife, cut each layer in half horizontally.

Brush 3 of the layers with 1/4 cup Grand Marnier each.

Make the chocolate pudding according to the package directions. You may use regular or instant.

Place one of the soaked layers on a round piece of cardboard on a wire rack. Cover with 1/3 of the pudding. Repeat with 2 other soaked layers and top with the 4th layer.

Trim cake if necessary to make it smooth on all sides. Chill the cake for 2 hours.

Combine the cream and chopped chocolate in a medium-size nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir to cool, lifting the mixture out of the pot several times with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it cools slightly. It should be glossy and slightly thick. This is the tempering process.

Spoon the mixture onto the top of the chilled cake, allowing the overflow to drip down the sides. Cool slightly. Carefully remove the cake from the wire rack. Chill for at least 6 hours.

Garnish with chocolate curls.

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