As I mentioned earlier in the year, Valentine’s Day is another popular time for engagements, so if you are a newly engaged couple just joining us, congratulations! Whether you are newly engaged or deeply ensconced in your wedding planning, you’ll soon notice how time starts to speed up during the wedding planning process—you’re constantly focussed on the end point, the wedding day, when everything culminates, and you start your new life as a married couple. However, as time consuming and stressful as the planning can be, it is also another part of your relationship, and the journey which has gotten you and your fiancée to the point where you know you’re ready to make the biggest decision of your lives.
While there are a myriad of tools, expos and resources out there to make wedding planning easier, remember that this is not an inherently easy process. You are making the decision to commit to another person for the rest of your life, to look after them, love them, be there for them, no matter what happens—you and your fiancée know each other better than anyone in the world knows you, and it’s easy to take all of that for granted, and forget just how special that is, when you get caught up in looking only at the end point.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to share a meal and enjoy each other’s company away from the stress of wedding planning. Perhaps you have a favourite meal you always cook for special occasions? If not, why not go out for a romantic meal and come back to a lovingly prepared dessert. Tiramisu can be prepared in advance and even the day before, and doesn’t require any cooking, so you’re not stuck in a hot kitchen!
Instead, you can come home to a delicious and decadent dessert that looks much more complex to prepare than it really is, and enjoy a little pick-me-up that refreshes you both for the rest of the wedding planning process. This is a recipe from one of my favourite Italian cookbooks:
Tiramisu, a pick-me-up
5 eggs, separated
180 g caster sugar
250 g mascarpone
250 ml very strong coffee, preferably espresso, cold
3 tbs brandy or sweet Marsala
44 small sponge fingers
80 g dark chocolate, finely grated
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is light and fluffy and leaves a ribbon trail when dropped from the whisk. Add the mascarpone and beat until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry glass bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into the mascarpone mixture.
Pour the cold coffee into a shallow dish and add the brandy or Marsala. Dip some of the sponge finger biscuits into the coffee mixture; you need enough to cover the bottom of a 25 cm square dish. The biscuits should be well soaked on both sides but not so much that they break. Arrange the biscuits in a tightly packed layer in the base of the dish.
Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the layer of biscuits. Add another layer of soaked biscuits and another layer of mascarpone, smoothing the top layer neatly. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight. Dust the top with the grated chocolate when you’re ready to serve.
It takes a special love and commitment to recognise and enjoy the planning process as the next stage of your relationship, and the one which will lead you into a strong and lasting marriage. So don’t look at planning your wedding as a means to an end, and instead use it as an opportunity to learn even more about your fiancée, and what you want this celebration of your life together to look like.
Until next time.
Cindy Westphalen owns and operates award winning South Australian based catering business Cindy's Classic Gourmet.