Ancient folklore talks about foods known as aphrodisiacs -- treats like chocolate, vanilla bean and spices that get the blood and romance flowing. Here are some recipes for desserts that can heat up a cold winter night.
When the moon is full and love is in the air, pastry chef Amy Pierce of San Francisco’s Millennium Restaurant gives romance a little stir -- with things like poached pears.
"A lot of times it’s the shape, you know? I think pears have a seductive kind of shape," says Pierce.
Ingredients like the pomegranate add another romantic dimension. Pierce says, "As you’ll see when we cut into it, it’s a really deep red. It’s really sensual."
To make the dish, first peel the pears and cut in half. Set them aside and go on to the pomegranate. Quarter it, and knock out the seeds. In a saucepan, pour a bottle of port. Add sugar, star anise, spices and the pomegranate seeds. You’ll also need half of a vanilla bean.
Pierce says, "You kind of just spread it open a little bit. This time use the back of the knife to scrape all the seeds."
Heat the mixture to a boil and drop in the pears.
"It’s kind of like they’re steeping, like a tea, and they’re going to soak up that wonderful red color," says Pierce.
Another dessert, truffles, is a traditional aphrodisiac. Start with semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Then add milk, orange liquor and chili powder.
Chili powder? Pierce says it enhances the aphrodisiac qualities, which chocolate already has.
Place in a double boiler and whisk until melted. After cooling, scoop the mixture and coat it in cocoa powder.
That’s all there is to making a delicious and romantic dessert!
Recipes by pastry chef Amy Pierce
Port Poached Pears
Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles