With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it seems fitting to spotlight The Homer Laughlin China Company’s interpretation of an iconic Valentine symbol: the heart.
The Fiesta® Heart Bowl was originally introduced in 2008 as an exclusive item for independent retailers. This arrangement assured that the item would not be sold in department stores, giving small shop owners a special sales opportunity.
According to Rich Brinkman, Vice President of Retail Sales and Marketing, the idea of gift giving was the inspiration behind this special Fiesta piece. “The heart is the number one shape given as gifts,” he says, referring to the unmatched popularity of heart-shaped trinkets in the retail market. This notion was right on target, as the Fiesta Heart Bowl has been a huge success.
According to Ed Wonder, Director of Design at HLC, work on the bowl commenced in the spring of 2007 when Rich put forth the concept of creating a heart-shaped candy dish. “When the idea was first suggested we knew it could be a manufacturing challenge,” he says. “Remember, that was back in the pre-Fiesta Square days, so making an unusual geometry was really breaking new ground.”
Beyond the challenges posed by producing such a unique shape, the Design Department faced another pressing issue. They were to design not just any old heart-shaped dish, but a Fiesta heart-shaped dish. “The scariest part of the assignment,” says Ed, “was making sure it came out ‘Fiesta-esque’ with the strong recognizable character and personality of our most iconic shape.”
The Heart Bowl went through several early design variations that ranged from fluted edges to more box-like, straight sided forms. The resulting bowl is a classic rolled edge shape that blends seamlessly into the Fiesta line. “In the end I am very proud of what we accomplished,” says Ed. “The final bowl is very clearly a heart, manufacturable, saleable, nests with itself, and is adaptable to production in other sizes.”
The success of the Fiesta Heart Bowl is evidenced by the introduction of a second, larger size. The Medium Heart Bowl, as it is known, was created in 2012 at the request of national retailers and was introduced to the public in 2013 in all current Fiesta colors.
More than just a pretty face, the Heart Bowl is as hardy and versatile as any Fiesta dish. In fact, we put ours on dessert duty for a special Valentine’s treat: Chocolate Pot de Crème. This velvety custard delivers an intense chocolate experience, baked right in the Fiesta Heart Bowl.
- 7 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
- Pinch of salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Have ready four oven proof bowls or ramekins, a large roasting pan, and hot water to fill.
- Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
- In a medium pot, heat and stir the half-and-half, sugar, instant espresso, and salt over medium heat until mixture is quite hot.
- Pour over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. For best results, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisking until smooth.
- Let the mixture cool slightly, then whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.
- Divide the mixture among the bowls and place in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with hot water, about halfway up the sides of the dishes.
- Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the sides of the custards are set but the center is still wobbly.
- Cool on a wire rack and serve, garnished with whipped cream and raspberries.