You’re undoubtedly scrolling through websites and peeking through store windows to tick off options that will make a great gift for your special someone this Valentine’s Day. While a box of chocolates will always be a top pick for those with a sweet tooth, Valentine's Day just doesn’t seem complete without a little something made with love. And since there’s nothing that matches baking a homemade treat and it’s actually the real fun part to the day that’s dedicated to romance, we’ve picked these two mouth-watering and appropriately-coloured sweet bites.
Strawberry Tarte Tatins
* 4 tbsp caster sugar
* 1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
* About 30g (1oz) butter
* 16 fairly large strawberries, hulled
* 200g (7oz) puff pasty
* Tray of 4 x Yorkshire pud tins
1. Set the oven to 220°C or Gas Mark 7. Heat the sugar with the vanilla seeds in a small non-stick pan over a medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and then caramelises. Quickly pour into the tins. Add a small knob of butter to each one and then arrange halved strawberries, cut-side up, in a floral pattern on the caramel.
2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in) square. Cut out 4 x 10cm (4in) rounds and place on top of the fruit in the tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is well risen and golden. Leave for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around the edges and turn them out on to paper. Serve warm on plates, with crème fraiche.
Tip: If you don't have Yorkshire pud tins, make a large tart in 20-23cm (8-9in) shallow cake tin (not loose-based).
Jammy Love Dodgers
Makes approximately 24
FOR THE BISCUITS:
* 125g (4oz) butter, softened
* 60g (2oz) icing sugar
* Few drops of vanilla extract
* 200g (7oz) plain flour
FOR THE FILLING:
* 8-10tbsp jam
* Icing sugar, for dusting
* 5cm (2in) round, fluted cutter
* Small heart cutter
* Baking sheets, lined with baking parchment
1. Set the oven to 180°C or Gas Mark 4.
2. Beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add the flour to form a dough. If the mixture is very soft, wrap it in a plastic bag and chill it until it's firm enough to handle.
3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of baking parchment, to about 5mm (1/4in) thick, and cut out rounds with the fluted cutter. Cut out hearts from the centre of half of the rounds. Re-roll trimmings to make more biscuits.
4. Place biscuits on baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
5. Sandwich biscuits together with jam and dust with icing sugar. After a while, the icing sugar will dissolve into the jam to give shiny red centres.
Recipe photos and words: Woman’s Weekly/REX Shutterstock