Thursday, 15 February 2018 07:03

Used Valentine’s Day to scary away sloguary

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By official proclamation, January and February have henceforth been renamed 1st and 2nd Sloguary. Please adjust your calendars accordingly.

And now that we have labels to more accurately represent the trudge--the 5p.m. sun-downs, the depressive eating, the anemic produce at the market--there's little else for it but to hunker down until March. Right?
Except this: a single bright spot, like a beacon, in all the 59 long days of Sloguary. A day that's been mercifully appointed to thaw the frosted cockles of everyone who, up until now, has up and lost that loving feeling. And, too, for those who've grinched it away in winter storage, underneath all the Christmas flotsam.
So circle the day in red pen if you need to. It's on the 14th of 2nd Sloguary. Because without it, there's a long time between now and Pancake Tuesday at the end of Lent.
At first look, Valentine's Day doesn't seem like much. In its modern incarnation, it's a greeting card, cut stems and cinnamon hearts holiday.
And it's not even a proper holiday, for that matter.
Just another day at the office, alongside a tribute to St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers, who's said to have courted the wrath of his Emperor in order to perform marriages of young soldiers to their sweethearts.
(Apparently Claudius II preferred his fighting men with nothing but war on their minds.)
From there, however, Valentine passed into legend, as must all men in order to be called sainted. And now, hundreds of years later, thousands of sweethearts will drop into the dollar store on the way home from work and call it a day.
It's hardly fitting.
Nevertheless, if you're seeking someone's heart this 14th of 2nd Sloguary, you needn't martyr yourself, although it might require more than an ordinary Wednesday's amount of effort.
As with all worthwhile things, this is an occasion to put your back into it, along with your heart, your hands and a whole lot of chocolate.
This Valentine's Day, tell someone you love them by chasing the Sloguaries away with a dark chocolate cream pie, covered in cream, and sprinkled with more chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Cream Pie
For the Crust:
1 3/4 cup chocolate graham crumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
5 tbs butter
Melt butter. In a small bowl, combine crumbs, pecans and butter. Press into a pie plate and bake at 350F for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch salt
6 large eggs
2 cups milk (skim, 1% or 2%)
1/2 cup whipping cream
7 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbs dark rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a heavy-bottomed, medium pot, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Whisk in eggs to form a thick paste. In a separate pot, scald milk and cream. Gradually add hot milk to egg mixture, whisking over medium-high heat until mixture thickens. Let boil, whisking, for 1 minute. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and add rum and vanilla. Whisk constantly while mixture cools for 5 minutes. Transfer to crust. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight, until cold. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

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