Like the start of a new year, chocolate dessert cups waiting to be filled are brimming with possibilities. Here, that potential is realized in a sumptuous and healthful treat, loaded with cannoli-style ricotta cream and fresh raspberries. Accented with mint leaves and showered with confectioners’ sugar, it’s a dessert that has the sparkle and elegance to match a glass of bubbly and set just the right mood for watching the ball drop.
Depending on what you are up for, preparing them can be a total breeze. You could purchase chocolate cups, or for a relatively easy project in the kitchen, you could make your own.
To go the DIY route, you’ll need a set of mini-muffin-size silicone baking cups (I used these) and a small, clean paint brush. With these tools at hand, you then melt the chocolate in a double boiler. I use a shortcut tempering method where most of the chocolate is melted initially, but some is held back and stirred in to melt once the bowl is off the heat. This helps bring the temperature of the chocolate down gradually and yields a better-quality final product.
Then, in what feels like a relaxed arts-and-crafts project, you fill the silicone cups about a third of the way with melted chocolate, and use the paint brush to spread it evenly to the top of the cup. Once the cups chill in the refrigerator for a half-hour, you pop them out of the liners. It’s not hard to do, but a couple may crack in the process, so I suggest making a few extra to account for that.
The rest of the recipe is effortless: You make the ricotta cream by beating the cheese until smooth, sweeten it lightly with confectioners’ sugar and brighten it with a touch of lemon zest. Then, dollop the cream into the cups, top with the raspberries, add a mint leaf to each, and dust them all with confectioner’s sugar.
The result is a beautiful dessert, which is just as I hope the year ahead will be — sweet, healthy and filled with good things.
Make ahead: The chocolate cups may be made, then filled with ricotta and topped with raspberries up to 1 day in advance; store tightly covered in the refrigerator.