Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Coeur à la Crème. Of course, "crème" means "cream" and "coeur" means "heart" in French and as everyone knows, the French are a romantic people. So what better way to celebrate your loved ones then with a French sweet heart or "soft cheese heart". Even when it is not Valentines Day. And even when the heart is not a heart but a round shape.
This week’s recipe is for a very traditional French dessert of whipped cream and cream cheese (I used Quark), sweetened and flavored with vanilla (I used homemade vanilla sugar) and framboise, Kirsch or rum (or freshly squeezed lemon juice as in my case), and set to drain until thick, sweet, and creamy in a heart-shaped mold (I had to use a sieve).
The cheese mixture for this dessert gets spooned into the dampened cheesecloth or muslin-lined mold or basket, leaving plenty overlapping around the sides. The dessert is then refrigerated overnight, during which time the whey (liquid) drains out through the basket or perforated mold. To serve, the dessert is unmolded and garnished with a coulis, fresh berries and /or other fruit.
To serve, I opted for fresh blueberries instead of the usual raspberry coulis and made a blueberry sauce by placing 150 grams of blueberries in a saucepan with a bit of powdered sugar, water, and grated organic lemon zest. I let the sugar dissolve over gentle heat and simmered the sauce for a few minutes, and then tossed in some remaining blueberries. I spooned the berries and blueberry sauce around and served straight away.
As an additional touch, I heated some local honey in a skillet and added sliced almonds to the pan - it made a nice addition to the dessert and it looked pretty.
Despite my efforts, I could not find a proper heart-shaped mold or molds, so I had to use a sieve, much the same way I use it when I make ricotta or yoghurt cheese. While it might not look as nice, the taste certainly did not suffer and next time, we are going on a trip to France, I will make sure to buy one or the other of these wonderful fun looking white porcelain molds.
This dessert leaves a lot of room for some interpretation. Originally, I was planning to prepare a rosy-hued rhubarb stew to serve with this dessert. Alas, no such luck getting the first fresh rhubarb of the season, too cold still. But blueberries worked fine and the almonds added a really nice crunch.
This is one the best no-bake desserts on the book. It is decadent and sweet, and fun. It is simply the perfect treat for a loved one or all your loved ones on any special occasion.
While I could not find the first rhubarb of the season yet, the first Grape Hyacinths or Muscari have started to bloom on my kitchen window sill. I am particularly fond ot these tender blue harbingers of spring.
To see how the other Doristas prepared this very traditional French dessert, please click here.