Monday, February 14, 2011

Coeur a la créme (Heart of Cream)

In honor of Valentine's Day, I decided to make Coeur a la créme using some of the Fromage Blanc I just made!

There are recipes for this dish all over the internet, but basically it is a flavored and sweetened dairy product. In France where it originated, the dairy is usually a Fromage Blanc, although in the US it is often made from store-bought cream cheese. Either way, it is mixed with whipped cream or stiffly beaten egg whites, and sweetened... usually with fresh fruit, fruit syrup, or sometimes chocolate. Ina Garten has a great recipe, Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce that sounds positively decadent.

I'm choosing a less opulent serving, using frozen raspberries from my garden for a raspberry sauce. And, since this is a last minute decision, I don't own "proper" Coeur a la Creme molds like these... but perhaps they will go on my wish list! Instead, my sis has a couple of large plastic cookie cutters that are heart-shaped. I think using cheesecloth inside them to contain the cheese while it firms will suffice, at least this time.

Basic Coeur a la créme recipe
(adapted from several recipes...)
1 cup fromage blanc, room temperature
Powdered sugar to taste (about a tablespoon?)
A bit of cream to thin the cheese, if necessary
2 egg whites, beaten stiff (or 2 to 2½ cups stiffly whipped heavy cream)
Optional: ¼ tsp vanilla extract, or to taste

Whip 2 egg whites to firm peaks. Mix sugar, milk or cream and cheese together well. Fold in egg whites or whipped cream. 

Fill heart-shaped molds lined with cheesecloth, place on a sheet pan and refrigerate

One important thing to do is allow some space at the bottom of the mold for the heart to continue to drain... I'm using my bamboo sushi mat between the molds and the sheet pan. I put a weight (small glass baking dish) on top of the molds before refrigerating them.

After being chilled overnight, I peeled back the cheesecloth over the top and turned them over onto a small plate. The mold and cheesecloth came off easily although the molded cheese is still rather delicate and needs to be handled carefully.

The raspberries (for a Raspberry Coulis) I thought were in the freezer must have been in my imagination and I didn't want to make a run to town, so I just opened a jar of preserves. Any sweet topping will do, and it really makes a lovely, light dessert treat! YUM!

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