Coeur a la crème, a tasty and impressive heart shaped French cream dessert served with a red berry sauce, is easy to make for Valentine’s Day and can be prepared days in advance. Raspberries or strawberries are the traditional garnishes but chocolate shavings or molded chocolate roses also make a pretty presentation.
Coeur a la crème is made in white porcelain molds with tiny holes in the bottom to allow the excess liquid in the sweetened cheese to run off as it chills. Molds are available in specialty kitchen stores or from Amazon. They come in two sizes, a seven inch that serves six and individual four inch molds. If you don’t have a mold, Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten suggests you make a round coeur in a seven inch sieve lined with cheesecloth and suspend it over a bowl to drain in the refrigerator. James Patterson in Glorious French Food makes individual round coeurs by molding the cheese in cheesecloth lined muffin tins, pulling the cheesecloth up over the tops of each and transferring the wrapped cheese to a cake rack to drain overnight in the refrigerator.
For our coeurs, we followed a recipe from Ina Gartin’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook with raspberry sauce. Ina says the recipe was inspired by friend Anna Pump from her Loaves & Fishes Cookbook. Anna flavored the sauce with Framboise, a French raspberry eau-de-vie, and suggested garnishing the coeur with either fresh hulled strawberries or strawberries dipped in chocolate.
The coeur recipe is simple, includes only six ingredients and is quickly combined in the bowl of an electric mixer. The mixture goes into the heart shaped mold that has been lined with cheese cloth so the excess liquid can drain away. It can sit in the refrigerator for a day or so. To serve, unmold the cream on plate, drizzle with the berry sauce and garnish with fresh berries. Voila, as the French say. It can’t get much easier than that. I suggest sitting close to your valentine and sharing this special dessert with the one you love.