Coeur à la Crème

February 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Posted in other sweet, puddings & custards, sweet things | 6 Comments
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coeur à la crème

I’ve never gotten super excited (or super upset, either) about Valentine’s Day.  It’s kind of a non-event, but I do like to use it as an excuse to make my sweetie something luxe and a little girly for dessert….coeur à la crème seems quite appropriate, non?

If you’ve never had coeur à la crème, it’s kind of a cross between a mousse and a cheesecake filling.  It’s a soft cheese and cream mixture that’s not cooked, so it’s very fresh…it’s also a little tangy and barley sweet.  It belongs to that group of traditional French desserts that is so elegant yet so unfussy.  Several years back, I found some individual coeur à la crème molds on the post-Valentine’s Day clearance shelf at a local kitchenware shop, and even though (or maybe especially becasue) they’re kind of uni-taskers, I’ve made it a point to use them many times since.  Although they are cute, you don’t even need the molds to make this dessert…a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl will work fine (but you will give up the traditional heart-shape).  Cheesecloth is important here, though, since the excess liquid needs to drain from the mixture so it’s as thick and creamy as it should be.  That also means that resting time is necessary…you’ll need to chill and drain your cream hearts for several hours…I do it overnight.

I like to make my base with a soft, fresh cheese called fromage blancVermont Butter & Cheese makes a nice (non-fat!) one that I can find at several shops, but if you don’t have access to fromage blanc, I think a combo of cream cheese and sour cream could approximate it.  The creaminess and gentle tang of this dessert calls out for fresh fruit.  Fresh berries or even a berry coulis would be great in summer, but here I used blood oranges, both becasue they are in season and becasue a heart with blood seemed fitting in a twisted sort of way.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  xoxo

Coeur à la Crème– makes four servings

Steph’s Note:  If you don’t have individual coeur à la crème molds, you can use a larger mold or a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl.  You may, however, need to make a 1.5x or 2x batch of the coeur mixture, depending on the size.  If you can’t find fromage blanc, try substituing with 6 oz of soft cream cheese plus 2 oz of sour cream.

8 oz fromage blanc
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
squeeze fresh lemon juice
seeds of a quarter of a vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 oz heavy cream

fresh fruit or fruit coulis to serve

-Cut four squares of cheesecloth (about 8-inch squares).  Rinse each square of cheesecloth under water and squeeze until just damp.  Line each of four 4-inch coeur à la crème molds with one square of cheesecloth.

-In a food processor (or with a whisk or hand-held mixer) process the fromage blanc, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until very smooth. In another bowl, whisk the cream until medium-soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the fromage blanc mixture until evenly combined.

-Place molds on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish. Spoon the mixture into the prepared molds and fold the corners of cheesecloth up and over the top.

-Chill for several hours or overnight to allow the mixture to drain.

-To serve, unwrap the molds and invert onto plates. Garnish with fruit.

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6 Comments »

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  1. Steph, this is The perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day. (Even though I’ll be celebrating with my cat this year.) :D
    It’s refreshing, adorable, and not too heavy!

  2. This looks fantastic, and I feel like I could pull this off with my homemade ricotta if I let it strain for a little longer. Nice!

  3. Sounds tasty! I’ve never had it before, but it sounds like something I would like.

  4. Oh, wow! I have never heard of coeur a la creme before but it sounds amazing! I love simple but elegant, even if it means you have to buy a special uni-tasker.

  5. I’ve loved making coeur a la creme ever since I saw Ina Garten make one. I ran right out to get the heart-shaped pan! Yours looks delicious, and I can’t wait till it’s assigned for ffwD!

  6. Nice…. I’ve noticed a sort of universal “playing down” of the sweetheart season of Valentine’s Day. i don’t care what you say, I think your dessert for your sweetheart is very special and beautiful. I’m not sure the fromage blanc is available in my sweet little university town. I’lll have to look into that at my international grocery. Food for thought. Need yet more pan…. he he
    AmyRuth

    PS What are you doing these days?


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