It’s here—the evening you’ve been aiming for, the evening of your candlelit dinner with your paramour. Not just any dinner—a dinner so sumptuous that your sweetie will think you’ve created it through sleight of hand. Ro Howe, chef and owner of Barraud Caterers Limited, in New York City, came up with this plan; two recipes, some planning tips, and a shopping list were provided in previous posts.  Here’s the recipe for dessert, followed by a few last-minute tips. (And note that,  for most working women, “last-minute” means “the night before”).—Ed

Chocolate-Kahlua Crème Brûlée

Yield: four portions


Standing mixer or hand whisk
rubber spatula
measuring cups and spoons
small saucepan
four 3 1⁄2-inch, 4-oz. ramekins
kitchen flame torch
half sheet tray


4 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 Cup heavy cream
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Kahlua
2 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1⁄4 Cup granulated sugar


Whisk the egg yolks. Add the sugar and salt. Continue whisking until the yolks are pale yellow and thickened.

Heat the cream to a scald, when small bubbles skirt the edge of the pan and just about to boil. Add the scalded cream to the yolks little by little, whisking gently.

Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted.

Add the vanilla and Kahlua

Pour into ramekins and refrigerate overnight, or for at least four hours until completely cold and set.

For service: About an hour before the dinner, place the ramekins on a metal tray balanced over the sink. Sprinkle each ramekin with the sugar. Using a kitchen flame torch, burn the sugar until it bubbles up and caramelizes to a dark brown.


Finding the Time  to Get Glamorous

“Last minute,” for most of us working women, means “the night before.” So, on the evening before the 14th, after you’ve finished all the prep for the menu, you should set the table, polish the glasses and cutlery, arrange the flowers, and plump the cushions on the sofa.

That’s the fun bit, but you must also ready your kitchen for the expedition of the dinner: a new bag in the trash bin, empty dishwasher, cleared and cleaned surfaces, all plates and platters ready; plastic storage bags and containers in stock to receive any leftovers; all finishing cooking implements ready for service; the bubbly chilled; the red wine standing ready to serve during the meal.

The magic of this is that when you return from work on the Night of Nights and have an hour and a half to prepare for your love’s arrival, you can spend it all on yourself, without panicking about which outfit best suits your mood. Ponder, try, primp to perfection!


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