13 Celebrity Chefs Share Exceptional Recipes for Their Favorite Desserts
 

For Valentine’s Day, try your hand at one of these desserts by top chefs across the country.

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Valentine’s Day means celebrating your loved ones, taking time for self-love, and showing appreciation for your partner. But more than all of that, Valentine’s Day means indulging in truly excellent desserts. It is the holiday of chocolate, Champagne, and decadence. And so, to inspire your Valentine’s Day, whether you’re spending it solo, with a loved one, or with your immediate family, we asked some of the most famous chefs in the country for their dessert recipes for Valentine’s Day. Here, 13 renowned chefs—from chef Mashama Bailey, who just released a new book, to chef Mario Carbone, who is in the process of opening a new Carbone in Miami Beach—share their favorite dessert recipes for Valentine’s Day.

Chef Daniel Boulud’s Chocolate Soufflé


Courtesy Daniel Boulud

Chef Daniel Boulud needs no introduction, especially when offering the recipe for such a classic as his chocolate soufflé. A Global Dining Collection chef with must-visit restaurants across the country, he is of course best known for his flagship restaurant DANIEL in New York City. Chef Boulud is hosting a weekly series of virtual cooking classes, focusing on French delicacies like poulet basquaise, from which a portion of the proceeds went to Citymeals on Wheels. Here, chef Daniel Boulud’s sumptuous chocolate soufflé.

Chocolate pastry cream

⅔ cup milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Zest of ½ an orange

Meringue

6 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar

Assembly

½ cup candied orange (store bought)
1 ounce Grand Marnier
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar

Sauce

¼ cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon sugar
Zest of ½ an orange

  • Preheat your oven to 400 F. Combine the cocoa powder and softened butter with a wooden spoon in a bowl until it is smooth and combined. Using a pastry brush, brush the chocolate-butter mixture into each ramekin starting in the center and brushing upwards. When you have an even layer, pour 2 tablespoons of sugar inside the first ramekin and tilt it from side to side until an even coat of sugar has adhered to all of the chocolate butter. Pour off the excess sugar into the next ramekin, repeat the process until each ramekin is evenly coated. Discard any excess sugar and keep coated ramekins to the side.

  • In a small food processor, combine the candied orange with the Grand Marnier and pulse it until it resembles a compôte-like consistency. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the candied orange-Grand Marnier mixture into each prepared ramekin.

  • For the pastry cream, bring the milk and the zest of ½ orange to a simmer in a small saucepan. Combine the egg yolks with the sugar, cocoa, and flour in a medium bowl and slowly pour into the hot milk while whisking constantly. When the mixture is combined, pour it back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick. Remove saucepan from heat and transfer the mixture back into the bowl, reserve while you whip the meringues.

  • In an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or by hand, whip the egg whites on high speed until you have soft peaks. Turn down the speed to medium-low and slowly stream in the sugar. Whip until you have medium peaks.

  • Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the pastry cream base. When it is smooth, gently fold in the remaining meringue until just combined. Spoon the batter up to the top of each prepared ramekin. Gently tap the bottom of each soufflé ramekin to remove any air pockets. Run your fingertip along the inside rim of each ramekin to remove any batter from the top edge, this will help the top of the soufflé from sticking while baking, allowing it to rise up. If you are not ready to bake your soufflés right away, place them in the refrigerator until you are.

  • Place the soufflés on a tray and bake for 8 minutes at 400 F. Turn down the heat to 350 F and continue to bake for another 8 minutes or until they have risen fully and lose their jiggle. While the soufflés are baking, prepare the sauce by combining the crème fraîche, sugar, orange zest, and Grand Marnier in a bowl and whisking it together.

  • Serve the soufflés immediately with the sauce on the side.

Chef Mari Katsumura’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

Chef Mari Katsumura’s Sticky Toffee Pudding
Courtesy Madison Olszewski

Chef Mari Katsumura is the executive chef at Michelin-starred Yūgen, a popular tasting menu fine dining restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop. Katsumura has become a well-respected fixture on the Chicago dining scene, working her way up in the city’s best Michelin-starred restaurants. While helming one of the best dining experiences in Chicago, Katsumura took some time to share her delightful sticky toffee pudding recipe for Valentine’s Day with Departures.

Pudding

1 cup dates
1 cup (240 grams) boiling water
3 ⅓ tablespoons (43 grams) butter
1 ½ teaspoons (6 grams) baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
5 ½ tablespoons (70 grams) demerara sugar
4 ½ tablespoons (60 grams) brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup (112 grams) flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toffee

⅓ cup (71 grams) butter
1 cup (240 grams) cream
½ cup (89 grams) dark brown sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt

  • Put the dates in a bowl and cover with the boiling water to soften

  • Combine butter, baking soda, salt, demerara, brown sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla extract in a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Add the dates and half of the water to the mixture. Pulse until nearly smooth.

  • Pour into baking dish and bake for 30 min at 350 F or until firm to the touch. Broil
    to finish.

  • To make the topping, melt butter in small pot then slowly add cream and brown
    sugar. Finish with salt.

We’ve converted this recipe in accordance with the imperial system, but the chef’s original metric system measurements remain in parentheses.

RELATED: The Most Incredible Experiences to Give This Valentine’s Day, for Everyone Celebrating Love

Chef April Bloomfield’s Valentine’s Hot Chocolate


From left: Courtesy Garden Room; Cavan Images/Getty Images

Renowned English chef and James Beard Award winner April Bloomfield is currently executing an exceptional culinary experience at Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. She shared a Valentine’s Day hot chocolate recipe with Departures because: “Dandelion Chocolate is my favorite. It’s small batched chocolate made in San Francisco, a city that is dear to my heart and where I met my wife,” said Bloomfield. She continued, “Sometimes dessert can be complicated or timely. I find that a really good hot chocolate on a cold night with your favorite person snuggled up watching a good movie to be the perfect night and the perfect amount of sweetness!”

½ cup (90 grams) granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt 
¾ cup (150 grams) Dandelion’s Camino Verde 70% Chef’s Chocolate (from Ecuador)
35 ounces (1,000 grams) whole milk

  • Add milk along with sugar and salt to your favorite pot. Bring ingredients up to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir on a low heat until chocolate has melted and pour into some large mugs.

We’ve converted this recipe in accordance with the imperial system, but the chef’s original metric system measurements remain in parentheses.

Chef Nik Sharma’s Hot Honeycomb Candy


Courtesy Nik Sharma

Chef Nik Sharma is best known for his cookbook The Flavor Equation, which was named “A Cookbook of the Year” in 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Smithsonian Magazine, among others. He offered the recipe for hot honeycomb candy from his book, which he recommended serving on its own or over ice cream. Sharma is currently working on an elaborate at-home culinary experience for Valentine’s Day: the BlueCut x Nik Sharma cooking package, which provides amatuer chefs at home with everything they need to make an exceptional meal on February 14.

Neutral oil, for greasing
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey

  • Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with a little oil.

  • Line the bottom and sides with a sheet of foil big enough to allow for a generous overhang on at least two sides; fold this down against the outside of the pan.

  • Mix the baking soda and cayenne together in a small bowl.

  • Place the sugar, honey, and ¼ cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar reaches 300 F on a candy thermometer (8-10 minutes).

  • Working quickly, stir in the baking soda mixture with a whisk, the mixture will foam.

  • Pour the foaming mixture out onto the prepared pan and tilt the pan so the mixture spreads evenly and covers the entire bottom. Let the candy cool and harden for about two hours.

  • Lift the candy out of the pan with the help of the overhanging foil.

  • Break the candy into chunks!

Chef Mario Carbone’s Coconut Lime Chiffon Cake


From left: Courtesy Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com; Courtesy CARBONE Miami

Chef Mario Carbone helms Major Food Group’s 12 restaurants, including beloved NYC establishments like Carbone and Parm. He is currently opening a Carbone in Miami Beach, which is the inspiration for his Valentine’s Day dessert recipe. Chef Carbone has crafted a coconut lime chiffon cake, perfect for the dessert lovers looking for something bright and fruity yet still decadent, rather than a rich and chocolate dessert.

Coconut whip

34 ounces (978 grams) of Ivoire Chocolate
¼ cup (50 grams) gelatin
125 ½ ounces (3,558 grams) cream
1 ¾ ounces (804 grams) coconut puree
Salt
Coconut extract

  • Melt Chocolate

  • Heat coconut puree and add bloomed gelatin

  • Emulsify

  • Buzz in cold cream and season with salt and extract

  • Let sit overnight before whipping

Lime Curd

10 eggs (500 grams eggs)
3 ¾ cups (750 grams) sugar
2 ⅕ cups (425 grams) lime juice
5 each gelatin
2 ⅕ cups (425 grams) butter
2 limes, zested

  • Buzz the eggs, sugar, and lime juice together

  • Heat while whisking

  • Add bloomed gelatin

  • Buzz in butter

  • Strain through a chinois

  • Add lime zest

  • For assembly, 10 ½ ounces (300 grams) per layer, 3 layers

Chiffon

32 ounces (900 grams) egg whites
2 teaspoons (7 grams) cream tartar
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
37 ounces (1,041 grams) cake flour
2 ½ tablespoons (36 grams) baking powder
2 teaspoons (8 grams) salt
12 ounces (365 grams) egg yolks
9 ounces (265 grams) water
8 ounces (223 grams) orange juice
3 ½ tablespoons (44 grams) lemon juice
2 ¾ tablespoons (35 grams) oil
26 ounces (744 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (8 grams) orange zest

  • Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt

  • Burre mix yolks/ water/ oil/ lemon juice/ orange juice/ sugar

  • Whisk in dry ingredients to the wet mix

  • Slowly make French meringue, strong meringue

  • Fold the stiff meringue into the mix

  • Bake high fan 350 F for 15 minutes, using 9-inch cake pans (no spray, line parchment on the bottom)

  • Flip when the cakes come out of the oven onto racks

Rum Syrup

1 ½ cups (300 grams) simple syrup
1 ½ cups (300 grams) rum

We’ve converted this recipe in accordance with the imperial system, but the chef’s original metric system measurements remain in parentheses.

Chef Mashama Bailey’s Devil’s Food Cake


From left: Courtesy Mashama Bailey; Courtesy Peter Garritano

Chef Mashama Bailey, known of course for The Grey in Savannah but currently helming the latest restaurant-in-residence at Intersect by Lexus in New York City, shared her recipe for a comforting classic: devil’s food cake. Chef Bailey has already had a great start to 2021, thanks to the release of her book Black, White, and The Grey, a culinary memoir co-written with Johno Morisano. The book tells a story of a Black female chef and a Caucasian entrepreneur relocating from NYC to Savannah to found a restaurant that doesn’t shy away from discussions on race, gender, class, and culture. Bailey’s dessert recipe for Valentine’s Day offers a taste of pure decadence and comfort from this James Beard Award-winning chef.

Mold: 8 Inch x 8 Inch x 3 Inch Deep

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 cup milk
3 cups sugar
3 cups AP flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ tablespoon salt
1 ½ cup coffee

  • Whip the whole egg with a whisk attachment on the highest speed for 7 minutes or until it becomes frothy.

  • Stream in canola oil as you whip with medium speed.

  • Add milk right after. Mix until everything gets emulsified.

  • Sift all dry ingredients together and gradually add it to the mixture as you mix slowly.

  • Once all the dry ingredients are added, slowly pour the coffee.

  • Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom.

  • Spray the mold with cooking spray (for example, PAM Spray)

  • Cut parchment paper (wax paper) to the same dimension as the mold.

  • Place on the bottom of the mold. Then pour the mixture in.

  • Bake at 325 F for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  • Cool to room temperature and remove from the mold. Wrap with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge overnight.

Bittersweet chocolate sauce

6 ounces dark chocolate (70%)
2 ounces salted butter
2 ounces light corn syrup
⅔ cup milk

  • Chop dark chocolate and put in a bowl.

  • Cut butter into small chunks and add to the chocolate.

  • Bring light corn syrup and milk to boil. Pour into the chocolate mixture.

  • Mix well until fully emulsified.

  • Cool and store in an airtight container.

Candied pecans

10 ounces pecan pieces
⅓ cup confectionary sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon hot water

  • Mix everything together. Coat pecan pieces well with the dry ingredients.

  • Bake in the oven at 300F for 25 minutes until it gets light brown in color.

  • Cool and store in an airtight container.

Chocolate crumb

½ cup granulated sugar
14 tablespoons soft butter
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch sea salt

  • Put soft butter and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl.

  • Mix slowly with a paddle attachment for 1 minute.

  • Add sifted dry ingredients all at once.

  • Keep mixing slowly until it becomes crumbly.

  • Line a parchment paper on a baking sheet tray and place all the chocolate crumble mixture. 

  • Keep in a freezer for 30 minutes.

  • Then bake at 300 F for 20 minutes.

  • Cool and keep in an airtight container.

Chocolate ganache

4 ½ ounces dark chocolate
5 ounces milk chocolate
1 tablespoon glucose
1 cup heavy cream

  • Chop chocolates into small chunks and place in a deep bowl.

  • Bring glucose and heavy cream to boil and pour into chocolate.

  • Stir well until emulsified.

  • Cool to room temperature. The texture should be like soft butter and smooth enough to spread on a cake.

Chocolate whipped cream

1 cup heavy cream
⅓ cup bittersweet chocolate sauce

  • Whip heavy cream to stiff peak.

  • Add lukewarm bittersweet chocolate sauce (warm it up in the microwave for 10 seconds).

  • Mix well.

Assembly of the cake

  • Slice the devil’s food cake in half vertically.

  • Then slice the block of the cake horizontally to ⅓-inch thickness.

  • Spread 5 ounces (140 grams) of chocolate ganache on a cake evenly.

  • Put another cake on top and repeat the process until you get 6 layers of devil’s food cake.

  • Once it is finished, wrap the whole cake with plastic wrap.

  • Cool in the fridge for one hour.

  • Take it out of the fridge and trim the ends.

  • Slice the cake in ⅔-inch thickness.

  • Place a layered devil’s food cake on a plate.;

  • Sprinkle pecan pieces and chocolate crumble

  • Scoop desired amount of chocolate whip cream.

  • Drizzle warm bittersweet chocolate sauce.

  • Enjoy!

RELATED: Meaningful Valentine's Day Gifts for Him

Chef Mario Christerna’s Capriotada


From left: Courtesy Jakob N. Layman; Courtesy Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co.

A major Los Angeles culinary talent, chef Mario Christerna is channeling his Chicano roots as he opens the highly anticipated Brooklyn Ave Pizza Company in LA’s downtown-adjacent Boyle Heights neighborhood. On Cesar E Chavez Avenue—which was known as Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1900s—the chef has taken over The Paramount, a gorgeous LA building with rich musical and cultural history—to open multiple dining and event spaces. His first venture is a classic New York-style pizzeria infused with Mexican and Chicano culture. When asked about recipes for Valentine’s Day, chef Christerna, a former MasterChef Latino judge and a Boyle Heights native, shared his favorite dessert: his mother, Norma’s, capirotada. “As my Mama Norma says, Provecho y Felices Fiestas,” said Christerna.

Capirotada

4 loaves brioche bread cut in 1-inch dice
½ gallon whole milk
8 cups brown sugar
1 cup piloncillo (Mexican sugar cone) grated
8 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
16 egg yolks
3 cups raisins
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 vanilla bean
Vanilla ice cream
1 cup cajeta

Rompope crema

375 milliliters [approximately 1 ½ cups] Rompope (Mexican version of eggnog)
½ cup heavy cream

Garnish
Mint leaves

  • Set oven at 400 F.

  • In a medium sauce pot, add milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and let all the spices fall in love with the milk and get to know one another. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes

  • In a bowl, mix egg yolks and piloncillo.

  • After milk and spices have been simmered for 15 minutes, add brown sugar and dissolve. Once dissolved, set aside for approximately 3 minutes.

  • Slowly start to temper the egg yolks, slowly adding about ¼ cup of milk mixture. The secret here is to not let the eggs cook and to bring the egg and piloncillo combo to a warm temperature. Add another ¼ cup then another ¼ cup. Once it has become warm, then add the rest of milk mixture and mix well.

  • In a full-size pan (9 quarts), add diced brioche, 2 cups of raisins, egg, and milky holiday love mix. On top, add remaining 1 cup of raisins. Cover with foil and place in oven for 1 hour.

  • Place a medium sauce pot on medium high heat, add Rompope, bring to a boil, simmer, and reduce by half. Add cream and keep simmering for 5 minutes. Take off heat and let cool. Once cooled, put in a squeeze bottle.

  • Put Cajeta in a squeeze bottle

  • Once out of the oven, uncover, and let rest for about 20 minutes. With a metal spatula, cut in 3-inch by 3-inch squares.

Plating

On the middle of a plate, place capirotada. Add 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle Cajeta and Rompope crema. Top with shredded coconut. Garnish with mint leaves.

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Warm, Soft Chocolate Cake


Courtesy Francesco Tonelli

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is known of course for his eponymous line of restaurants (from Jean-Georges at Topping Rose House in the Hamptons to Jean-Georges Beverly Hills), as well as favorite restaurants like Mercer Kitchen, ABCV, Tropicale, and the Inn at Pound Ridge. He is a legendary force in hospitality and a famed restaurateur, and he still managed to share an elevated-yet-comforting dessert with us. Here, his magnificently rich soft chocolate cake.

4 ounces butter, plus more for buttering the molds
4 ounces Valrhona chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour, plus more for dusting

  • Use a double boiler to heat the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost completely melted. While that's heating, beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar together with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.

  • Beat the melted chocolate and butter together; it should be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.

  • Butter and lightly flour four 4-ounce molds, custard cups, or ramekins. Tap out excess flour. Divide the batter among the molds. (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before cooking.)

  • Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bake the molds on a tray for 6 to 7 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.

  • Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. We suggest vanilla.

Chef Maya Hayes’ Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Crema


Courtesy Weekapaug Inn

Pastry chef at Rhode Island’s Relais & Châteaux escape Weekapaug Inn, Maya Hayes is known in the kitchen as the chocolate wizard. She came to Weekapaug Inn from Woodstock Inn & Resort, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property in Vermont, to work on their beautifully elevated dessert program and has a background in over-the-top wedding cakes and crafting delectable pastries for New England’s finest establishments.

Chocolate mousse

½ cup cream
2 cups chocolate
>3 egg yolks, pasteurized
⅓ cups powdered sugar
2 cups cream

  • Scald the first cream and pour it over the chocolate. Stir together to make a ganache.

  • Whip egg yolks with powdered sugar on the mixer until ribbon stage and fold into chocolate ganache.

  • Whip second cream to medium peaks and fold all together.

  • Pour into a cylinder mold and freeze. Unmold when frozen solid, cut to the desired height and let it defrost to plate and serve.

Raspberry crema

1 cup cream
⅓ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup raspberry puree

  • Whip together into medium-stiff peaks. Put into a piping bag.

Meringue

3 egg whites
⅓ cups sugar
⅔ cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoons cream of tartar
¼ cups cacao nibs, chopped finely

  • Whip egg whites with cream of tartar in a kitchenaid mixer.

  • Gradually add ⅓ cup sugar when at soft peak and whip until stiff peak.

  • Sift the powdered sugar and fold it into the meringue with a rubber spatula.

  • Put into a piping bag with a 1-centimeter round tip. 

  • Pipe lines of meringue on a parchment covered sheet pan. Sprinkle cacao nibs on top.

  • Bake at 200 F for around 1 ½ hours or until crisp all the way through.

  • Seal tightly to store the meringue cylinders.

Assembly

  • Place chocolate décor on the plate. Put 3 cylinders of chocolate mousse in descending heights zig zagging around the chocolate décor.

  • Pipe dots of raspberry crema next to the chocolate cylinders, changing the size in ratio perspective with the cylinder height.

  • Break a few meringue sticks and lay them across the raspberry crema.

  • Cut the raspberries to create open circles and place leaning on the raspberry crema.

  • Decorate with edible flowers.

RELATED: Foraging for Dessert Ingredients in Ireland

Chef Mimi Williams’ Chocolate & Strawberries


Courtesy Mimi Williams

Chef Williams is a driving force on the vegan fine dining scene of LA and the owner of Counterpart Vegan. And the most impressive part of her Valentine’s Day dessert is that it’s chocolatey, decadent, and somehow still vegan. She described it as a “rich chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, topped with balsamic strawberries that balance the sweet with a savory, honeyed flavor.” It doesn’t sound vegan, nor does it taste vegan, so prepare to be amazed.

Chocolate cake

1 cup oat milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup blend oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup water

  • Mix vinegar and oat milk and stir gently.

  • Set aside the mixture to curdle.

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, making sure to work out any clumps. Add remaining wet ingredients to the oat milk and vinegar mixture and mix in the dry ingredients.

  • Spray the cake pan generously with oil of choice and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes.

Chocolate frosting

1 1/3 cup vegan butter
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

  • Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium speed in a mixer.

  • In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa and powdered sugar, add vanilla extract and salt, and then add everything to the mixer.

  • Add the powdered sugar and cocoa in thirds until well incorporated.

  • Be sure to scrape down sides of the mixing bowl.

  • Layer the frosting over the chocolate cake and pour over the balsamic strawberries.

Balsamic strawberries

1 cup strawberries washed stemmed and quartered
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch salt

  • Combine vinegar, sugar and salt.

  • Reduce on low heat for 10 minutes until mixture has a syrup-like consistency.

  • Toss berries in mixture and coat.

  • Remove and cool before serving over the frosted cake.

Chef Scott Winegard’s Chocolate Torte with Maca Creme & Cacao Nibs


From left: Courtesy Heather Kinkel; Courtesy CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa

Chef Scott Winegard of CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa is known for his innovative, vegetable-forward approach to fine dining. Curating a primarily vegetarian menu and marrying unlikely flavors, his culinary prowess is on full display at CIVANA’s Terras Restaurant, where he creates simultaneously light and indulgent fare. The dessert recipe he shared with Departures for Valentine’s Day infuses desert-inspired flavors into an upscale chocolate torte.

Crust

2 cups organic blanched almond flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼  cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Stir together crust ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan (or pie dish).  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until it feels dry and firm.

  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate filling

1 ½ cups organic coconut milk
1 pound dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
Smoked flaky sea salt

  • Meanwhile, as the crust is baking, bring the coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces in a bowl and pour the coconut milk gently over the top of it. Slowly stir together until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt until combined.

  • Pour the chocolate filling into the baked crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula until it is even. Refrigerate until firm (about 1 ½ hours).

  • Serve chilled, sprinkled with smoked salt.

Maca creme

1 cup raw organic cashews, soaked for 8 hours
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ inch piece vanilla bean
1 tablespoon Maca powder

  • Cover your cashews in filtered water and allow them soak in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.

  • After they've soaked, drain them and rinse them.

  • Place the soaked cashews and remaining ingredients into a high speed blender and process until smooth.

Chef David Myers’ Ginza Parfait


From left: Courtesy Josh Telles; Courtesy Adrift 

It’s hard to put an exact location on where chef David Myers is based—that’s why they call him the Gypsy Chef. But foodies can always count on Myers to bring pan-Asian influence to his restaurant endeavors, some of which have garnered Michelin-starred acclaim. These days, the celebrity chef is known for running globally minded restaurants from Dubai to Tokyo to Los Angeles. He has most recently opened ADRIFT Burger Bar on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, which he conceptualized and launched within 30 days. ADRIFT Burger Bar is already a hit on the LA takeout scene, offering a Michelin-starred talent’s take on the Southern California burger. He shared his Japanese-inspired Ginza Parfait with Departures.

Parfait
½ cup (100 grams) oatmeal
2 tablespoons (30 grams) whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons (30 grams) grapeseed oil
½ cup (90 grams) of favorite nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios) chopped small and roasted
½ cup (90 grams) small dried fruits (raisins, cranberry)
Mix all ingredients except for dried fruits (to be added later)

Matcha syrup
¾ tablespoons (10 grams) matcha powder
½ cup (90 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (100 grams) filtered water

  • Sift the matcha. Mix sugar and matcha and sift again with sifter. Add to small pot with water.
  • Add to low heat stove. When edge gets bubbly, turn off and cool to room temp.

  • In a mixing bowl, add granola and matcha syrup and mix together. Add all to parchment paper on sheet tray and cook at 320 F for 15 mins

  • Add fruits after it’s baked. Spread out on a sheet tray and let cool.

  • 1 scoop Matcha ice cream

  • 1 scoop Strawberry ice cream

  • 1 dollop of Coconut cream (store bought) or whipped cream with toasted and grated coconut

  • Garnish with fresh raspberries, dried coconut, and matcha granola.

Chef Thomas Raquel’s Warm Chocolate Chiboust with Hibiscus-Berry Compote


From left: Courtesy Anthony Tahlier; Courtesy Le Bernardin

Pastry chef at New York City’s three-Michelin-star Le Bernardin, chef Thomas Raquel has been working on an exceptional dessert to pair with tequila in partnership with Casa Dragones Joven. “I wanted to create something that people could easily make at home and to best highlight how special Casa Dragones is, especially when paired with chocolate,” said Raquel. “For the chiboust (a kind of pastry cream) base, I used a single-origin chocolate that has fruity, earthy notes and added a hibiscus-berry compote, sweetened with a touch of agave, to incorporate some acidity and floral notes. The resulting pairing is light, floral, and earthy.”

Chocolate chiboust

1 ¾ cup whole milk
⅓ cup cornstarch
¾ cup quality dark chocolate, melted
12 egg whites
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup cocoa nibs, ground

  • In a small sauce pot, whisk the milk and cornstarch together.

  • Over medium-high heat, cook the milk and cornstarch until the mixture comes to a full boil and thickens, whisking constantly.

  • Take off the heat, add the melted chocolate and whisk together until the chocolate is completely combined and there are no lumps.

  • Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt, and whisk until homogenous.

  • Mix in the ground cocoa nibs until dispersed.

  • Transfer the chocolate mixture into a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap, set aside  to cool.

  • In a stand mixer, place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whip on high until they are very frothy and form soft peaks.

  • Slowly add the sugar into the whipped egg whites, one tablespoon at a time, and continue to whip until the meringue reaches a stiff peak.

  • In three additions, carefully fold the meringue into the chocolate, ensuring that there are no lumps of egg white.

  • Use the chiboust base immediately or refrigerate for up to one hour.

Hibiscus-berry compote

2 tablespoons dried hibiscus
1 cup boiling water
1 cup diced berries*
½ cup agave syrup
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch salt
*Raquel utilizes ¼ cup each diced strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

  • Infuse the dried hibiscus flowers to 1 cup of boiling water, set aside.

  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it infuse for 20 mins, then strain through a fine mesh sieve, making sure to squeeze all the liquid from the hibiscus.

  • In a saute pan on medium high heat, combine all the berries, agave syrup, and a pinch of salt.

  • Bring to a boil then add the hibiscus juice. Stir and reduce down to the consistency of honey. Add the lime juice and take off the heat.

To serve: Top the chiboust with the hibiscus-berry compote and enjoy with a flute of Casa Dragones Joven. Garnish the chiboust dessert with a chocolate tuile (instructions below).

Chocolate tuile

4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons AP flour
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon melted butter

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.

  • In a mixing bowl, sift the AP flour, sugar, and cocoa powder.

  • Add the egg whites with a rubber spatula and mix together until there are no lumps. Add the melted butter, and mix until fully combined. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and cut a tiny hole at the tip of the bag.

  • Use the piping bag like a pen and pipe fun shapes like hearts or fun messages on the lined sheet pan or silpat.

  • Bake for 3-4 mins. The tuile will be malleable when it comes out of the oven - you can wait a minute or two before shaping it while it is warm or  just let it cool. (The tuile will turn crispy as soon as it cools.)

  • Reserve it in an airtight container.