Treats for Your Sweet on Valentine’s Day

“All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

– Charles M. Schultz

Food is the universal love language, and Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to express it! Whether cooking a romantic dinner for two or hosting a Galentine’s Day brunch, show your sweetie or your friends some love by making one of these delicious recipes that members of the JKV community have whipped up for you. 


Caramelized Strawberry Brioche, by JKV Executive Chef Frederic

While serving as Executive Chef at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Miami Beach, our Head Chef Frederic Delaire had two of his recipes featured in Sara Liss’ “Miami Cooks” cookbook, including one he wants to reprise for JKV residents as Valentine’s Day approaches.

His elegant, fancy, and simple-to-make Caramelized Strawberry Brioche is a perfect dessert after enjoying a romantic dinner at one of JKV’s four dining venues, in a resident apartment or villa, or at a restaurant off campus.

Juicy red strawberries with whipped cream are the perfect combination of flavors in one delicious cake, and fruit desserts are always such an impressive dish to serve a date or guests.

Serves 4.


Pastry Cream:
½ cup sugar
5 egg yolks
½ cup cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
2 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
½ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

Strawberry Sauce:
1 cup strawberries, halved
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Caramelized Brioche:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 loaf brioche, cut into 4 (1-inch-thick) pieces

Strawberry Salad:
2 cups strawberries halved
1 Tablespoon chopped mint

*Reprinted from “Miami Cooks”

Pastry Cream: In a bowl, whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Combine milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan and whisk in. Bring to a boil, then remove pan from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

Pour the vanilla-infused milk into the egg and cornstarch mixture and whisk continuously for 10 seconds. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, whisking the entire time, until thickened. Pour the pastry cream into a bowl. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate.

Strawberry Sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until strawberries have softened. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

Caramelized Brioche: Melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Add sugar and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until caramel-like. Remove from heat and dip the 4 slides of brioche into the caramel, coating both sides. Place the slices on a nonstick surface and set aside to cool for 15 minutes until the brioche is slightly crispy.

Strawberry Salad: In a bowl, combine strawberries and mint. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

For the assembly, you will need:
• 2 cups Pastry Cream
• ½ cup whipped cream
• 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
• 1 cup Strawberry Sauce
• Strawberry Salad

In a bowl, whisk together pastry cream, whipped cream, and Grand Marnier, if using.

Place the slices of caramelized brioche on plates and spread the cream over the surface, about 1/2 inch thick.

Arrange strawberry salad on top, then dot strawberry sauce around the plates.


Virgin Strawberry Mojito, by JKV Resident Sharalyn

This refreshing, minty Virgin Mojito mocktail has all the flavors and none of the booze for a delicious, Havana-inspired drink.

Serves 2.


20 fresh spearmint leaves
1 lime cut into 8 wedges
6 strawberries
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup club soda
Splash of grenadine

virgin strawberry mojito


In two medium, sturdy glasses, add 10 spearmint leaves to each glass, and a lime wedge.

Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime, releasing the mint oils and lime juice.

Lightly smash 4 strawberries and add two to each glass. Add 2 more lime wedges to each glass along with the sugar and muddle again. Do not strain the mixture.

Fill the glasses almost to the top with ice. Add club soda and more sugar to taste if desired.

Garnish each glass with a slit strawberry, mint leaves, and remaining lime wedges.


Flourless Chocolate Cake by Team Member Yael Fishman

Chocolate lovers, this decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache will knock your socks off. And it’s so easy to make! On top of being rich, smooth, and delicious, it’s a good recipe to keep in mind for occasions when you may need a flourless or gluten-free dessert. Espresso powder or instant coffee granules are optional, but they’re the secret ingredient that will put it over the top.

Once the ganache is in place, you can decorate the cake with dark chocolate crunchy pearls, shaved chocolate curls, sprinkles, coffee beans, chopped almonds or hazelnuts, raspberries, strawberries, or nothing at all. If you do decide to add fruit on top, make sure it’s well-dried.

Yields one 8” cake.

Flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache decorated with a strawberry


1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee granules, optional but recommended
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa

1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly grease a metal 8” round cake pan or the bottom of an 8” springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit (or you can purchase parchment rounds). Lay the circle on the bottom of your greased pan, and grease on top of the parchment.

Put the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time until the butter is melted and the chips begin to melt. Or, if you prefer, you can use a saucepan and melt everything on top of your stove. Either way, only heat the butter and chocolate enough to be able to melt the butter, soften the chips, and gently stir until they are incorporated.

Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently incorporate everything together. Add the cocoa powder and mix just enough to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes. The top should have formed a thin crust. Insert a cooking thermometer into the cake near the center. The cake is done when the inside has reached 200°.

Remove cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan by running a knife or small nylon offset spatula between the cake and the pan.

Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving plate by bringing the plate to the top of the cake pan and inverting it. If you’ve used a springform pan, release and remove the sides, and use a large spatula to carefully slide the cake onto a serving plate (you can leave the parchment round as it is). If you used a traditional cake pan and inverted it onto a plate, carefully peel off the parchment paper. The edges may crumble a bit, but that’s fine.

Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing it with the ganache.

To make the ganache:

Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just starts to steam. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir briefly to combine, and allow to sit for a few minutes. Stir again, gently, and then more vigorously, until the chocolate has all melted and the ganache becomes smooth. If any of the chocolate hasn’t melted, reheat briefly and stir until smooth.

Pour the glaze on the center of the cake and use the back of a spoon to spread out from the center. You can stop there or spread it enough that the glaze is dripping over the edges if you prefer.

Sprinkle the top with chocolate pearls, shavings, chopped nuts, or whatever you’re using, and allow to set several hours before serving. You can refrigerate it to expedite this process if need be.

When it’s time to serve the cake, you’ll want to serve it sparingly – this cake is RICH! Use a very sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry. You may need to repeat this if the cake feels very sticky.

Store leftovers (if you have any!) in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Recommended tools and equipment:
• 8” cake pan or 8” springform pan
• Cooking thermometer
• Nylon offset spatula (great for loosening cakes and muffins without scratching your pan)
• Parchment paper or parchment rounds

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