My Valentines dessert took a savory twist. After hours of looming over recipes, photos, blogs and more I finally came up with a concept that could have, in concept, appeared to be more appropriate for a lunch menu than dessert. But in application it was more sweet than savory and more decadent than dinner – for those of us who eat dinner for the mere purpose of being “allowed” to eat our dessert. 🙂


For their final course our Valentine diners sipped Chocolate Soup with Creme Fraiche, dipped into that soup with a Brioche and Saint Andre cheese panini then washed that all down with Basil Mint Chocolate chunk ice cream.


(notice the rather large pregnant belly)


This is a special version plated for my Valentine

The inspiration for this dessert started with the desire to do some sort of sipping chocolate. To this day my most memorable dessert experience was over a warm bowl of liquid chocolate and unsweetened whipped cream. I have also recently had a fascination with pairing cheese with dessert – hence the Saint Andre which pairs marvelously with rich desserts as the fat content and subtle flavors marries well and holds up to the intensity of say, chocolate. And the Basil Mint ice cream seemed like a refreshing compliment to the rich panini and soup.


Chocolate Soup

8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (I used Valrhona 70% Guanaja)

8 oz Heavy whipping cream

6 oz Whole Milk

1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel

Bring milk and cream to a light boil. Add to chocolate. Let sit for one minute. Whisk to combine. Add salt.


Basil Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

from The Essence of Chocolate, contributed by Elizabeth Falkner

2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

40 peppermint or spearmint leaves

12 large basil leaves

A large handful of spinach leaves

6 oz good quality dark chocolate (Valrhona 70%)

Combine the milk and sugar and bring to a boil. Refrigerate this mixture until cold.

Combine the cream, mint and basil in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer then turn off heat. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Blanch spinach in boiling water just until the leaves turn a bright green. Immediately put the leaves in ice water so they stop cooking.

Combine the spinach and milk syrup in a blender. Blend until bright green. Strain this mixture. Strain the cream, mint and basil into the spinach and milk syrup. Cover this entire mixture with plastic wrap and chill until cold.

Follow the instructions of your ice cream maker and spin until soft. Add the chopped chocolate when the ice cream is still spinning but has reached soft serve consistency. Remove from ice cream maker and freeze until firm, 1-2 hours.

For the paninis…

Best quality brioche or other rich bread.

Saint Andre Cheese

Sandwich a generous portion of Saint Andre between two pieces of bread. Press in a panini grill until crisp and “melty”.


15 Responses to “Course Confusion”

  1. Aran

    Ashley- This looks amazing, really. This is great! I love the idea of chocolate and the cheese… When we were little we used to make chocolate and soft spreadable cheese baguettes as an afternoon snack. Amazing… And I will definitely try the ice cream. Sounds great. I made chocolate soup a few days ago to go with my caramelized banana chiboust beignets and it was about the same proportions of liquid and chocolate. I love your blog!!!!

  2. artisansweets

    Havilah – Thanks!

    Aran – mmmmm chocolate and cheese on baguette. I will have to make that very soon. Let me know what you think about the ice cream. I am in love with it. I personally don’t like ice cream super creamy. This is a nice blend of creaminess without being too heavy. The flavor of the herbs and chocolate is so refreshing…. but I am partial to mint and chocolate. Yum!
    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Aran

    I will definitely try it and link it back to you. Hey, I was wondering… how many weeks along are you? I couldn’t really tell in the photo if you had a big belly or not!

  4. dbaron

    I had a lavender peppercorn the other day and thought of you. This all looks absolutely amazing, I wish I was there to taste it. I can’t wait to see you guys, and I still want to go to Sea World!

  5. CB

    I’ve actually had this. It has ruined me. I cant eat, cant sleep. I just lay awake and think about chocolate soup and basil mint ice cream. As good as it looks on the page, I am happy to report that it was even better in person. Thanks, Ashley!

  6. artisansweets

    dbaron – hmmm lavender peppercorn interesting. I just had a Lavender jalapeno caramel from Theo chocolate and it was quite delicious. Can’t wait to see our cute kids at Sea World.
    Bea – Thank you for the lovely compliment!
    Chris – I am so sorry that I’ve ruined you. I guess I shouldn’t tell you that there are still left overs at the kitchen. You should walk over when you need a break.
    Peabody – I’ve had a mint basil ice cream from Mallards and it was soooooo yummy. I think that’s what attracted me to this recipe.

  7. pastrymama

    Hi Ashley, the dessert looks so good, If it is ok with you, I will keep it in mind for a future dinner. Also I think you look great for being 7 months along. I like to pop in and see your blog, and I don’t usually comment when I am browsing, but I wanted to let you know how wonderful your dessert looks. Marilyn


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