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Easy dinner recipes: Valentine's Day dessert ideas

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Looking for last-minute ideas for Valentine's Day? Let's start with dessert. Each of these treats comes together using only a handful of ingredients and no special equipment. I will warn you, two of them take a little time to set up: the lemon posset -- a pudding-like dessert -- needs chilling time, and the other, a frozen chocolate zabaglione, freezes like a creamy gelato. 

Hazelnut zabaglione: Try a sherry-based zabaglione, whisking in a moderately sweet oloroso with just a touch of hazelnut liqueur. The custard is full-bodied and lightly sweet from the aged sherry, the hints of hazelnut earthy and warm.

Meyer lemon posset: Just three ingredients make one great dessert. It sets up like a light pudding with rich, bright flavor.

VALENTINE'S DAY RECIPES: 43 perfect ideas when you're cooking for two

Frozen chocolate zabaglione: This rich and creamy dessert delivers plenty of rich chocolate flavor accented with a hint of port.

You can find the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less.

HAZELNUT SHERRY ZABAGLIONE

Total time: About 15 minutes

Servings: 2

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoons sugar, more or less as desired

1/4 cup dry sherry, preferably oloroso

1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined and frothy. Whisk in the sherry and the hazelnut liqueur.

2. Set the bowl over a large pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continue to whisk until the mixture increases in volume and thickens to a thick, foamy cream, easily coating the back of a spoon. The final consistency should be similar to that of a very thick hollandaise.

3. Remove from heat and serve immediately. This makes a generous cup of zabaglione.

Each serving: 374 calories; 5 grams protein; 52 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 9 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 420 mg. cholesterol; 49 grams sugar; 21 mg. sodium.

MEYER LEMON POSSET

Total time: 25 minutes, plus at least 4 hours chilling time Servings: 2 ( 1/2 -cup) portions

Note: It's nothing less than a Meyer lemon miracle -- just three ingredients that set up like a mousse, but with more lively flavor and a lovelier consistency. This recipe is from Regina Schrambling's Feb. 14 story on dinner for two.

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup superfine sugar

Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup)

1. Combine the cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat and remove from the heat. Let stand until just cool, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the lemon juice. Blend well. Divide between 2 goblets or small serving dishes and chill until firm, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. Garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired, before serving.

Each serving: 546 calories; 3 grams protein; 39 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 44 grams fat; 27 grams saturated fat; 163 mg. cholesterol; 45 mg. sodium.

FROZEN CHOCOLATE ZABAGLIONE

Total time: About 25 minutes, plus freezing time

Servings: 8

1 pint heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Port

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it begins to bubble around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate, and continue whisking until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream to form a ganache (gently heat the cream a little more, if necessary, until the chocolate melts and mixes completely).

2. Remove the ganache to a large bowl set over a bowl of ice and continue to whisk until the ganache chills and begins to thicken. Keep whisking until the ganache has a light, whipped cream-like consistency. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until combined and frothy. Whisk in the Port.

4. Set the bowl over a large pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Continue to whisk until the mixture increases in volume and thickens to a thick, foamy cream, easily coating the back of a spoon. The consistency should be similar to a very thick hollandaise.

5. Remove from heat and gently fold the zabaglione into the whipped ganache. Place the mixture in a baking dish or bowl and cover the surface with a sheet of plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, about 1½ to 2 hours. This makes a generous quart of frozen zabaglione.

Each serving: 479 calories; 5 grams protein; 33 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 36 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 240 mg. cholesterol; 25 grams sugar; 30 mg. sodium.

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