For Valentine’s Day this year, I decided to create a heart shaped appetizer. I’ve seen heart shaped pizzas in the past but wanted to try to tweak the idea bit. So, i experimented with weaving or braiding dough over a filling to make it visually more interesting. The filling for my woven heart is layers of fresh basil, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes and parmesan. But, feel free to substitute other ingredients you might like. I also made a red velvet cheesecake and have provided the recipe below as well.
Prosciutto Stuffed Woven Heart
1 tsp Butter, softened
3 oz Prosciutto, thinly sliced
8 oz Mozzarella Ball, sliced
2 med Plum tomatoes, sliced and placed on paper towel to drain a bit
1 sm pkg Fresh Basil, about 10-12 leaves
1 tbl Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 of Bread Dough Recipe, below
8 1/2 x 11” piece of paper
parchment paper or a baking pad
Fold paper in half from top to bottom, creating a rectangle 8 1/2” tall along the folded edge and 5 1/2” wide. Cut half of a heart shape while holding the folded edge that is the full height of the paper and about 4” wide. When you open the paper you should have a heart about 8 1/2” tall by 8” wide. Set it aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
After the dough from the recipe below has risen for an hour and you’ve punched it down and divided it, roll out one half on a large, lightly floured board, forming a large triangle about 14” wide and 14” tall. Transfer the dough to lightly floured parchment paper. Stretch it a bit to form a rough heart shape.
Place the paper heart in the center of the dough. Press your index finger into the softened 1 teaspoon of butter and trace around the edge of the paper, creating the heart shape on the dough. Discard the paper heart. Using the butter boundary as a guide, cover the inside area with basil leaves. Cover the basil with prosciutto. Cover prosciutto with tomato slices, cutting them in half, if necessary, to maintain a tight heart shape. Sprinkle the tomatoes with parmesan cheese. Using a sharp knife, make 1” wide flaps by cutting from just outside the butter boundary all the way to the outside edge of the dough. Continue all the way around the dough. Starting at bottom of the heart, start layering the flaps up and over the filling, crisscrossing the flaps over and under each other. Stretch them a bit to reach the center. When you’re done, mold the shape of the whole creation a bit to keep the integrity of the heart pattern. Lift or slide parchment and dough onto a baking sheet. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle on poppy seeds.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Server warm or at room temperature.
2 1/2 tsp Yeast
4 cu All-Purpose Flour
1 tbl Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Olive Oil
1 1/3 cup Warm Water - about 105-100 degrees F
Additional Olive Oli, for rising
1 tbl Butter, melted
2 tsp Poppy seeds
Mix yeast with the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour. Add 1/3 cup of the warm water. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and let rest for 10 minutes. Mix remaining flour and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining water. Combine and knead for 10 minutes on a floured board. Pour an additional 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat all surfaces. Cover to rise for 1 hour until doubled in bulk. Punch down, divide in half and then use one half in the recipe above. You can make a second heart with the remaining dough, or shape it into a loaf. If you make a loaf, brush it with half of the butter and top with 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds. Let it rest for 30 minutes, then bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it.
Red Velvet Cheesecake
1 10oz Box Chocolate Teddy Grahams
10 tbl Butter
1/2 cu Brown Sugar
1/4 cu Granulated Sugar
3 tbl Cocoa
24 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 oz Mascarpone Cheese, room temperature
3 lg Eggs, resting at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 tbl Bourbon, like Maker's Mark
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 bottle Red Food Coloring, 1 fluid ounce size
1/4 tsp Salt
Fresh Strawberries, optional, for garnish
8 oz Sour Cream
1 tsp Bourbon
1/4 cu Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
9" Springform Pan
Parchment Paper (optional) to line the bottom and sides of the pan
I usually line the bottom and sides of my springform pan so that it's easy to remove the cheesecake and place it on a serving platter. This is an optional step. But, if you'd like to do it, cut a parchment paper circle the same size as the base of your springform pan and place it inside. I usually spray the bottom and sides of the pan with a baking spray so that the parchment paper sticks. Cut a long strip about 2 1/2" wide by 29" long and line the sides of your pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Finely grind chocolate grahams in a food processor and then transfer them to a bowl. Melt butter in a small pan or in the microwave and pour over grahams. Mix thoroughly and pour all but about 1/3 of cup into your springform pan. Press the graham crackers about halfway up the side and on the bottom of the pan as uniformly as possible. Bake the crust in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove and set on a wire rack to fully cool, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, with either a stand mixer or electric mixer, cream together the sugars, cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. Mix thoroughly for about 5 minutes at medium high speed. Add cocoa. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix. Add bourbon, vanilla, red food coloring and salt. Mix for an additional 3 minutes. Pour mixture into your cooled springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes. The outside edges of the cheesecake will be stiff but the center will still be soft and jiggle a bit. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Let the cheesecake cool for 25 minutes. The cake will settle a bit.
Mix together sour cream, bourbon, sugar, vanilla and cocoa. Once cheesecake has cooled, gently spoon the topping over the cake and spread it evenly leaving about 1” of the cheesecake exposed on the outer edge. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake rest at room temperature four about 45 minutes. Then, place the cheesecake in your refrigerator for 4 hours or longer until it is fully set and chilled. Just before serving, crumble the remaining graham crackers and form a circular ring about half the diameter of the springform pan. Served with sliced strawberries.