My sweetheart (aka my husband) prefers desserts that are not too sweet. Since our wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day occur in the same week, this luscious pastry is our special annual treat. Crisp puff pastry is filled with mascarpone cream and brightened with a cranberry-orange-pecan relish. A drizzle of dark chocolate adds to the decadence.
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
What a beautiful dessert for someone special. Cutting hearts out of the puff pastry is easy and the final outcome is very impressive. The filling is so creamy I could eat that alone with a spoon! The cranberry relish is sweet and sour, and the nuts add an occasional crunch. Loved chocolate drizzled on top. It's the perfect final touch!
Heat oven to 400 Degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and dry the orange half, then coarsely chop it. In bowl of food processor, pulse orange and cranberries until finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer to bowl; stir in granulated sugar, pecans and ginger. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Beat mascarpone on medium speed of mixer until soft. Add 1 cup of cream, 6 tablespoons powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Refrigerate until needed.
Thaw pastry sheet as directed on package. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface and lightly flour the top surface. Roll out to an 11x11-inch square. Using cookie cutters, cut out five large (4-inch), five medium (3-inch) and five small (1 1/2-inch) hearts. Cut out extra small hearts with any remaining dough to use as garnish. Place all the hearts on the prepared baking sheet; bake for about 12 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons cream in microwave for 30 seconds; add chocolate and stir to melt. Microwave for 10 seconds at a time if needed to fully melt chocolate.
To assemble pastries, split the large and medium hearts in half with a serrated knife. Pipe (or spoon) filling into bottoms of hearts, add a spoonful of cranberry relish and finish with the top hearts. Add a layer of filling and relish to top of the large heart; set the filled medium heart on top. Then add cream and relish to the top of the medium heart and finish with the small heart.
Drizzle chocolate sauce over the pastry. Repeat with remaining hearts. Extra small hearts can be dusted with powdered sugar and used as a garnish.