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Today: How to say I love you, Food52-style.
To help spread the love (and the pie), we're giving away two miniature pie plates stamped with hidden quotes. To win, just tell us in the comments -- by Thursday, January 29th at 5 PM -- what kind of pie you'd bake in them.
Update: Congratulations to sherrybakes for winning the set of plates! Happy baking!
It's almost February, so it’s time to think about Valentine’s Day. If you’re fans of the holiday already, then we don’t need to win you over -- just start practicing your heart-shaped caramels and molten chocolate cakes.
For those of you who feel skeptical about it all, let us try and convince you otherwise. First of all, consider that this is practically a mandatory day to eat chocolate. That is a blessing. It’s also good motivation to think carefully about what makes your favorite people happy, and gift accordingly. Warning: This will involve thinking outside the packaged drugstore candy box.
For example, we polled our office to ask what makes everyone weak in the knees -- the answers ranged from mochi to a cheese of the month membership to noodles to Nutella. And we also collectively would not say no to a nice bottle of bourbon. So we’ve searched for some ideas for romantically-themed gifts that range from classic to very unexpected. Here’s a cheat sheet to navigate the tricky world of romance:
If they like surprises: Make them a pair of miniature pies. These pie plates each have a hidden phrase stamped on the thick aluminum bottom ("cutie pie" and "sweetie pie"). If you’re anxious about tackling pie crust, make a simple graham cracker crust. Fill it with a mix of melted chocolate and coconut milk and top it with raspberries. Champagne would not be inappropriate here.
More: Read up on essential pie tips.
If they like spice: Riff on the candy theme and wrap up a jar of orange chili sugar. As an added bonus, make a batch of margaritas and dip the rim of each glass in the sugar. Tequila is pretty reliable in the romance department.
More: True love is making someone tacos from scratch to go with margaritas.
If they like chocolate: Chocolate may be the obvious option, but it can still be a brilliant gift. Choose a bar that’s an expensive indulgence. Out of all of our taste tests this year, we liked the limited edition dark milk chocolate Fruition bars best or this 68% olive oil bar studded with sourdough bread.
If they have everything: Instead of agonizing over buying an unusual present, make an edible version of a quintessential Valentine. Homemade Nutella is sophisticated and simple, you can make chocolate almond butter bon-bons without turning on your stove, and there's even a recipe to make your own chocolate donut holes.
If you want a small gift: This small tin of Parisian hard candies meets all the classic Valentine’s Day requirements: pretty, pink, and full of sugar. Each piece looks like a tiny square of pastel ribbon, and they’re flavored with raspberry, apricot, lemon, and strawberry.
If they’re adventurous: Wrap up a black Perigord truffle nestled in a glass jar. If you’re feeling particularly generous, slip in a note with an I.O.U to make risotto with shaved truffles for dinner. If there is ever a time to be overly sentimental, this is it.
We're giving away a set of miniature pie plates to celebrate Valentine's Day! To enter, tell us in the comments below by Thursday, January 29th at 5PM: What would you fill those pie plates with?
Pie photos by Posie Harwood; all other photos by James Ransom