Wednesday, February 11, 2009

there’s no excuse not to make a special dish on st. valentine’s day with this coeur à la crème recipe - recipe: coeur à la crème

Let me start by stating that I can't believe I'm featuring a dessert recipe for Valentine's Day that doesn't involve chocolate. Although I adore, adore, adore chocolate, I find myself drawn towards vanilla, lemon or fruit-based desserts more and more often.

Lately, when I have a chocolate craving, I tend to enjoy a nice piece (or four) of solid milk chocolate.

I know, I know, true "gourmands" prefer the 70 per cent cocoa dark chocolate, but I can honestly say that I'm a milk-chocolate girl, no matter how hard my hubby tries to convince me to embrace the "dark side."

I first came across this recipe in Ina Garten's (a. k. a. the Barefoot Contessa) cookbook on Paris.

It looked fabulous and I made a mental note to try it one day. Recently, I was at Conestoga Mall and ventured into Gizmo's to take a peak at the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets — and wouldn't you know it, I found the heartshaped mold which (I thought) was required to make this dessert (and for a reasonable $10, no less). So it was a done deal — I had to buy it and knew what I'd be making my sweetheart for Valentine's Day.

I recently tested this recipe for my dad's birthday, and it received rave reviews.

I've adapted Garten's original recipe by omitting the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean (I didn't have any at home and it was a snowy day and didn't feel like going back to the store to get any).

Also, I didn't bother making the raspberry Grand Marnier sauce either, as I thought that some fresh berries would do the trick.

Garten's original recipe including the raspberry sauce can be found online at .

Lastly, I didn't realize until reading through the entire recipe that you can substitute a seven-inch sieve for the coeur (heartshaped) pan if you don't own one or don't want to buy one.

So, now there really are no excuses not to make this for that special someone.

Coeur à la Crème (which translated means "heart of cream")


  • 12 oz. plain cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2-3 cups assorted mixed berries


  • Place the softened cream cheese and the icing sugar into the bowl of stand mixer.
  • Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until well blended and soft.
  • Scrape down the paddle attachment and the bowl with a rubber spatula and change the attachment to the wire balloon whisk attachment.
  • Add the vanilla, lemon zest and half of the cream and beat until the mixture becomes thick like whipped cream.
  • Add the remainder of the cream and beat again until the mixture looks like whipped cream.
  • Line a coeur mold (heartshaped mold with holes at the bottom) or a seven-inch sieve with cheesecloth and pour in the cream mixture.
  • Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over top of the mold or sieve. Suspend the mold or sieve over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the mold/sieve and the bottom of the bowl so that any liquid can drain out.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Discard the liquid, remove the crème from the mold and serve with fresh fruit (or fruit sauce, if desired).

quick tip

Don't have any cheesecloth to line the coeur mold or sieve? A few good quality thick paper towels will do just as good a job.

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