Painting with chocolate

February 12, 2008 5:18:50 PM PST
Valentine's Day is not just a couple's thing; it can be fun for the whole family. Be the best mom in town with a fun, chocolate painting dessert! To show us this dessert was the executive chef of McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant in San Francisco, Liz Ozanich with her sons Ryan and Andrew.

Heart Shaped Vacherines with semi-sweet chocolate, strawberries & mint
From Chef Liz Ozanich
McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant in San Francisco

6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
dash of lemon juice
2 pints strawberries
3 Tlbs. super fine sugar
2 Tlbs. fresh mint leaves, finely julienned
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped)

In a very clean mixing bowl, beat whites until they hold a nice shape. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar. Beat for one minute. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup sugar to complete meringue.

Fit pastry bag with star tip and fill bag with meringue. On a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (or buttered and floured), pipe meringue into solid heart shapes, about 4 by 3 inches each, creating a solid heart. Then pipe over each heart again along the edge only to create a wall that will hold the strawberry filling later.

Bake hearts for 1 hour and 45 minutes in a 190 degree oven. Allow to cool completely.

While the hearts are cooling, slice strawberries and toss with super fine sugar and mint.

When meringue hearts are completely cool, melt chocolate gently in a double boiler or microwave.

Using a pastry brush, paint each heart or "vacherine" with melted chocolate and let dry. Just before serving fill the vacherines with strawberries.

About Liz Ozanich:
Ozanich was most recently the Executive Chef at the Seafood Brasserie in Santa Rosa, California, a venue that she helped launch in 2002. Prior to that, for five years, she was the protégé of the internationally acclaimed Philippe Boulot who is the Executive Chef at the Heathman Restaurant in Portland, Oregon and a winner of the James Beard "Best Chef/Northwest Region" award. Complementing her work in the Pacific Northwest have been stints in the American Midwest and a year spent in France. McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant is located at 900 North Point Street, in Ghirardelli Square, in San Francisco, California. Visit McCormick & Kuleto's on the web at: