Sugar, Sugar, neh neh neh neh neh neh aw honey, honey

My happiest Valentine memories are from the days when the idea of a date didn’t interest me. I made valentines en mass for my everybody I knew, and my mother would leave us love notes on the cutting board for when we came into the kitchen to make our lunch for school. And then I would hope for sugar. We didn’t get a lot of it when we were kids, but my mother always came through on the holidays. On Valentine’s Day it was little chocolates in flowery red foil, or a box of red(hots) hearts or one year I remember she made pink heartshaped popcorn balls.
I don’t know how you feel about it, but sugar always makes me happy. I’m not going to make a big dinner for Valentines’s Day. I think we’re going out for lunch, which reminds me I have to think of somewhere to go, but for dinner, I’m going to put everything into dessert. For the main course I’m going to get grapes and some creamy Camembert, or if Ferd has school and I’m feeling especially like a love machine, I’ll go shopping for some of the really good stuff. Which I might just do, because you know how I love my Fairway, and it’s one stop for a romantic nosh. Beautiful olives, some pecans that I can toast and sprinkle with something spicy, and some beautiful pears, maybe prosciutto. For dessert I’m stealing Alfred Portale’s chocolate cake recipe, which you should write down in whatever book you are going to keep with you for the rest of your life.
I’m going to give you enough for ten, but you can cut this in half if it’s just a few of you. Melt 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate, the best chocolate that you can get your hands on, with 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and 1/2 a cup of strong coffee. Don’t freak about how the chocolate looks when it first starts melting with the coffee; it will smooth out. Whisk 6 eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar in a bowl over simmering water, until the sugar dissolves. Take the bowl off the heat and beat it at medium to high for three minutes, and then medium to low for two more minutes. Beat 1 cup of heavy cream until very soft peaks form. This is critical. Never beat the cream too much if you are folding it into anything.
Fold 1/4 of the egg mixuture into the chocolate, and then fold this into the rest of the egg mixture. Fold in the whipped cream. Scrape the batter into a 10 inch spring form pan. Set the pan onto a square of heavy duty foil, and bring the edges up around the sides of the pan to protect it from getting wet, because you are going to set the whole thing into a larger pan that has hot water in it. Set the oven for 350 degrees. Bake for half an hour, open the oven door, close it, and then bake for another 20 minutes.
Take the pan out of the water, and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with lightly whipped cream and a couple of raspberries.

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