In the Mood for Love


I joked to my boyfriend this weekend that this might have been the first time since I’ve started working that I got a day off to celebrate Chinese New Year. Okay, so it was really Presidents’ Day, but given that they practically get a whole week off in China (yes, that means they are still reveling over there!) I’ll take what I can get.

Besides, I needed the extra day to recover from simultaneously celebrating Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day. And a very important Valentine’s Day at that.

This was my last Valentine’s Day as a single girl.

It’s taken me a while to decide how to share this milestone with you all: although I’m joyously eager to post up my latest sweet creation, I’ve always been shy to divulge the particulars of my personal life. It’s likely a combination of my own introvertedness (would it surprise you that one of the reasons I started this blog was because I was too self-conscious to talk pastry in front of others?) and the internet environment when I began Dessert First.

Back then (gosh, that makes me sound so old!) people wrote under pseudonyms, behind shadowy profile pictures. I was warned not to give away anything incriminating about my real identity, or else I’d get hunted down by crazy stalkers.

Well, it seems that crazy stalkers will be an unfortunate fixture of the internet, but a better balance between commonsense privacy and personal sharing seems to have evolved. I’m sure most of you read personal blogs not just for the recipes, or the technical information, but for the personality behind the words. And as I’ve let more of myself pervade this site, and shared my stories with you, I’ve found it more and more rewarding, because it becomes a truer reflection of me. And in return, I’ve gotten the most wonderful stories from you readers. Just the other week I got an e-mail from someone who had read my old Linzertorte post and wrote to tell me how it reminded him of his younger days spent in Germany eating pastry at cafes. Anyone who’s ever written anything knows this is one of the most precious gifts you can receive: to know you’ve communed with someone, a stranger, across the vast ineffable ether. It makes every minute I’ve spent on Dessert First worth the while.


So while I enjoyed sharing snippets and tidbits from my life here, I hesitated to post up the news when I got engaged. I guess…I was afraid that broadcasting it to the world might seem too immodest, that I might be jinxing myself by reveling in my good fortune. The odd mental contortions one goes through when a fundamentally shy person starts a public blog…

But it’s too hard to keep this secret under wraps, too difficult to conceal that my universe is tilted on a new axis. I was thinking of revealing all after the whole deed was done, but given my increasing rate of distraction these days it might have ended up being a seriously belated revelation! And I’m kind of tired of keeping all this frothy happiness down – I think it’s time to let it bubble over just a little bit.

So! To answer the most relevant questions, in order of importance:

1. Yes, there will be cake. No, I am not making it. A wonderful local wedding cake artist that I’ve done some product photography for will be doing it, and I’m so thrilled.

2. Yes, there will be more dessert besides cake. I cannot tell more so as not to ruin the surprise for the guests.

3. Yes, I have my dress. I went over my budget in buying it, but it was at a sample sale, where somehow it’s easy to convince yourself that 50% of really expensive is somehow not expensive and in fact a fabulous bargain. Ha! However, if I get one photo of me looking awesome in my dress it will all be worth it.

4. It will be this May. In San Francisco. And as I have not sent out the invitations yet I think I ought to stop here or you’ll know more than the guest list!

Oh yes, and I love my fiance Mike. Hopefully this will appease all my blog-girlfriends who have been telling me to stop calling him my boyfriend. Well, to me he’ll always be my boyfriend, and in a few months he’ll be something more:)

To celebrate my(our) last Valentine’s Day as single(s), I made these rose and strawberry parfaits. Bits of vanilla-scented dacquoise are covered with strawberry coulis and then layered with rose mousse. Very pink, very romantic, very fitting for those in the mood for love.

Thank you to you all. I’m so honored and happy to be sharing this happy news with you!



Rose and Strawberry Parfait

adapted from Dessert for You by Rachel Yau

Strawberry Coulis

6 ounces strawberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Rose Mousse

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup milk

1 1/2 tablespoons rose syrup

2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin

1 cup heavy cream


For the coulis: Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until strawberries are liquid.

Pour in a medium saucepan and heat over medium until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool.


For the mousse: Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a stand mixer until pale and thick.

Place milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Pour the milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking the mixture constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.

Stir in the rose syrup.

Add in the gelatin and stir until combined. Let sit until it cools, but do not let it set up.

Whip the cream in a stand mixer until soft peaks. Fold gently into the milk mixture. It may appear liquidy but it will set.


To assemble: Fill glasses with alternating layers of strawberry coulis and rose mousse. Chill between pouring layers for about 10-15 minutes to let the layers firm up slightly before pouring the next. Once you have finishing filling the glasses, chill for another 2 hours to let the mousse finish setting.





  1. 3

    Marina says


    I am sure you will be very pretty in that dress you picked. :)

  2. 4


    When i first saw the heading i thought it was the Wong Kar Wai’s movie In the Mood for Love that you probably watched during Valentine’s Day…btw i love the cheong-sams that Maggie Cheung wore in that movie..LOL! But after i reading your post, i fell in love with your beautiful Rose and Strawberry Parfait! It look so delicious! I must try making this someday! Gotta put that in my to-do list. Last but not least, CONGRATS!!

  3. 6


    YAY! Congratulations Anita! May you and Mike have a wonderful future together and that the wedding is everything you have dreamed for.

    I’ve just started on my food blog so I guess I can relate with the whole sharing personal information deal as stalkers can be pretty scary.. But for the time being, I’m just thinking that I’m writing these post to my friends.

    Your desserts are always lovely by the way. I attempted the Pear and Frangipane Tart and received instant raves about it :) So thanks!

  4. 7


    Wow! Happy Lunar New Year and congrats on your engagement! You’ve had an exciting and momentous year, with all this and the new book and new house! I hope all the planning goes smoothly for you, and hope you can share a few photos with us afterward (at least the cake and desserts!)

  5. 9

    CharlieB says

    Congratulations! I’m sure the wedding will be a beautiful AND delicious affair!

  6. 10

    Rita-Greer,SC says

    Congratulations! I know you are so very excited! I wish you both many, many years of wedded bliss!

  7. 11


    Congratulations! If you need a fabulous photographer (you probably already have one, but just in case!), Lucie XYZ in Santa Clara is awesome….very stylish and, dare I say, affordable for your area. Not to mention, she’d adorable and has a fun Czech accent! (And nope, I don’t get any compensation whatsoever for the referral…just love her work!). The profile pic on my blog is from her actually…

  8. 12


    I am beyond excited for you! Congrats on your upcoming wedding. It sounds like the plans are well underway. Best wishes to you and Mike. I can’t wait to hear about all of the desserts:) This one looks fabulous!

  9. 13

    Kelli says

    Congrats! I too like hearing about the person behind the blog. It makes it well, more personal! Good luck during the coming months of planning and chaos. Hopefully you still have time to post, and if not, we’ll understand.

  10. 15


    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I really liked this post; it’s sweet, and charming, and the parfait looks lovely. I’ll certainly have to give them a try!

  11. 17


    Congratulations! You are the second person getting married in May in San Francisco I know of, you are both planning like crazy.

    The parfait looks beautiful.

  12. 18

    Laura says

    Congratulations! Glad a sweet girl like you found the sweetest thing in life – love. Keep up with your amazing creations.

  13. 21


    Congratulations! Blessings to you both! If you made these parfaits for me I just might propose to you too! And, I mean that in the least creepy, stalker way as possible. :)

  14. 24

    Nadia says

    Congratulations!!! You truly live a blessed life.. getting paid for what you love to do and now a new chapter in the rest of your life. I feel the same way.. I’m more of an introvert and can probably write more than I talk in person. I can only hope to be where you are now someday.

  15. 25

    junecutie says

    I just tried to post a comment, but when I hit “preview” something strange happened. I would describe it, but it all happened too fast with me going what, what, what? So here goes one more time–Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I wish you much happiness and good fortune. I really enjoy this blog because I learn so much from you every time you post. This recipe is a must make on my list. But, where do I find Rose Syrup? I have a small bottle of Rose Water from the extract section of my favorite herb and spice store. Is that any way similar to Rose Syrup? Thanks.

  16. 27


    Congratulations ! Wish you a lot of happiness ! 😉
    And this dessert is just perfect for this big news !

  17. 28


    Congratulations! I swear, last week I was reading one of your older posts and the thought, “Aren’t they going to get married…?” crossed my mind. Now I can’t wait until May to hear about, well, the cake. (Am I a cake stalker? Maybe!)

  18. 31

    Joyce says

    Congrats!!!!! Your fiance is one lucky guy who gets to try all your creations! :)

    I stumbled on your blog one day and couldn’t keep my eye off it :) Love your desserts, blogs, recipes and photos! (your photography skills are as good as your pastry skills!!)

  19. 32


    Congrats!!!!! Your fiance is one lucky guy who gets to try all your creations! :)

    I stumbled on your blog one day and couldn’t keep my eye off it :) Love your desserts, blogs, recipes and photos! (your photography skills are as good as your pastry skills!!)

  20. 33


    Congratulations! I certainly share with you your feelings of limiting how much you share about your personal life in such a public forum. But you have divulged this wonderful news in such an eloquent way, as you always do with your writing, and it makes me continue to look to your posts as inspiration to further develop my own written voice.

  21. 34


    Congratulations on your engagement! May is such a beautiful time here, and it will be great.
    I was tempted to make my own cake, and then thought better of it, and am so glad I did.

  22. 35

    Maggie says

    Congratulations! I love reading your blog because 1)I love to make desserts, 2) my friends and I went to Berkeley and find your personal story compelling and, well…TEMPTING (I’m in a professional school) and 3) I love your Field Guide to Cookies. And now this! I was engaged recently but have hesitated to announce it in any sort of public forum, and I’m glad you finally felt comfortable sharing :) I’m very happy for you!

  23. 37


    congratulations, anita! the parfaits look scrumptiously creamy. (also, in the mood for love is one of my fave movies)

  24. 38


    YAY!!! “Fiance”! Finally! I have to admit when I stopped by your blog the other night and saw the word “boyfriend” I actually winced ‘cuz it seems so weird to call him that now. 😛 Glad you found it in yourself to share your excitement! And look at all these wonderful comments wishing you all the happiness you deserve to hear about! You guys are the CUTEST couple.

  25. 39

    Jo says

    congratulations on your engagement! wishing you and mike much happiness and love!

  26. 40


    Warmest congrats to you and your betrothed, Anita! How wonderful for you! And what a lovely parfait . . . I can just imagine the extraordinary culinary delights that will appear at your wedding reception!

  27. 41


    Hi Maggie,

    Congratulations to you as well! I always am amazed to hear from other people, especially in the Bay Area, who have found my story inspiring and encouraged them to pursue their pastry dreams. Best of luck to you and your fiance!

  28. 42



    Haha, you were right about getting married! Thanks for the well wishes, and I promise there will be pictures of the wedding cake put up!

  29. 43


    Hi Junecutie,

    Rose syrup is different from rose water – it’s more highly concentrated and is colored so it’s a vibrant pink – that’s why my mousse is pink. It also has a more sugary taste to me than rosewater which is more floral (probably because of the extra sugar in the syrup). You can find rose syrup at many Indian groceries. If you can’t find it, rose water will work as well although the flavor will be more subtle and your mousse will not be pink (you can add food coloring though). Thanks for your well wishes!

  30. 44


    Hi Laura,

    Yes, the planning has reached the crazy stage:) It’s all fun though, I’m looking forward to it and I hope your friend’s wedding goes well too. thanks for the well wish

  31. 45



    I loved in the Mood for Love the movie! I was thinking of it when I referenced the title, however hopefully my fiance and I have a less bittersweet ending:) thanks so much for your well wishes!

  32. 46


    Hi Phuoc,
    Thank you so much for your well wishes! And I’m glad you enjoyed the Pear and Frangipane tart. It’s a favorite of mine!

    Everybody’s level of comfort is different so you can reveal as much or as little as you want on your blog. Just don’t give away your home address! Best of luck!

  33. 47


    Hi MeLissa,
    We have found our photographer but thanks for the rec! There are so many great photographers in the Bay Area it was hard to choose! I love your profile pic so I can tell she’s talented – will keep her name in mind for the future! thanks for the well wishes!

  34. 48


    I’ve read your blog for awhile but never commented. This looks delicious. And congrats on you engagement! I just got engaged too!

  35. 50


    Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding, Pasty Girl! I too understand the “shy” thing very well. I have no one to talk pastry with an am trying my hand at the blogging thing.
    The parfait’s are beautiful. I will definitly try the Rose Mousse since I love mousse anything.

  36. 51


    Congratulations! Just found your blog. It is just lovely. Everything about it. The photography, the food. Oh, the food!!!:) Looking forward to following more posts!

  37. 52


    hello, is the first time I visit your blog … photos are amazing .. congratulations!
    If you happen to pass by my blog I’ll be happy!

  38. 54

    Christina says

    Congratulations! I’m sure your wedding will be wonderful. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life. :)

  39. 57


    That verrine looks so pretty; I have been meaning to “do something”with that bottle of rose syrup I have got in my pantry. Splendid and I am sure it was very well received!

  40. 58


    Thank you for this lovely lovely recipe. Rose syrup is one of my favorite ingredients and I’m always on the lookout for a new to use it. Strange as it may seem, I’ve never paired it with strawberries before.

    and congratulations!

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