Sunday, February 8, 2015

What to Give Someone Who Has Everything For Valentine's Day: Coeur a la Creme

In less than a week it will be Valentine's Day. I really love this day because it gives me a reason to stop everything and show the ones I hold dear how much they mean to me. Sometimes I feel that we all take each other for granted, but not on February 14th. Everyone should be made to feel special on this day.

Now that we are a little older and have more things than we will ever need or use in this lifetime, my husband and I try to show our love by sharing small, sweet little things that will leave us with memories instead of the task of trying to find a permanent home for them.

Mr. H knows that there is nothing I like better than a bouquet of fresh flowers and I know that he looks forward to a special dinner with a decadent dessert and boy, have I ever got one for him this year.

I have been wanting to make a coeur a la creme ever since I saw Ina Garten make one several years back. Hers was a heart shaped white cloud spun from cream cheese, heavy whipped cream and vanilla bean, aaahhh, pure heaven.

Well, my coeur a la creme didn't come out quite as beautiful as Ina's, but hers couldn't have tasted any better. Unable to find a tear drop or heart shaped strainer, I had to use my round one giving it more of a boule (ball) shape than a coeur (heart) shape, but beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

So here's an early "I love you" to my beholder. I know that ever since I started this blog over five years ago, he's gotten used to celebrating everything early so I can blog about it before the day. I guess that makes our saying around here, "better early than never". Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Coeur a la Creme

Super simple to pull together, this dessert is very reminiscent of a crustless, no bake cheesecake but just a bit lighter. It is great all on its own, but paired with a raspberry or strawberry coulis (like mine here), this is a great ending to a romantic meal.

2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Combine 1/2 cup of the cream with the lemon juice; set aside.

Place softened cream cheese into a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer set on medium until it is smooth and whipped Add in the sugar 1/3 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and lemon zest.

Now give the cream and lemon juice mixture a good stirring. Add it to the cream cheese mixture and mix it in with the electric mixer set to medium high. Slowly add the remaining cream. Once it is incorporated, turn your mixer up to high and whip the mixture until it is the consistency of firm whipped cream. Set aside.

OK, now as the traditional recipe goes, at this point you are to line a mesh strainer (I used my 7 inch mesh strainer) with enough cheese cloth that it drapes over all the edges. The excess will be laid over the top to cover it. You then set it over a smaller bowl to drain overnight. It is important that there be enough room at the bottom so that moisture can drain from it without touching it.

Well, mine never did have more than about a tablespoon of liquid at the bottom I don't know if it was the brand of whipped cream I used (Promised Land Heavy Whipping Cream) or the Philadelphia Cream Cheese, but there wasn't much excess moisture to drain from it.

After draining, peel the cheese cloth back from the top then carefully invert onto a serving plate. Remove the cheese cloth from the top and enjoy. Serve with coulis (recipe follows). Keep unused portions covered and refrigerated.

Easily serves 8 people

Strawberry Coulis

1 pint strawberries, stemmed, hulled and chopped
1- 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
1 tablespoon water, lemon juice or limoncello

Place strawberries in a small sauce pan set over medium heat. Stir in sugar and water, lemon juice or limoncello. Cover pan and bring to a simmer. Mash berries a bit with a potato masher, reduce heat and replace cover. Simmer, stirring frequently for approximately 10 - 15 minutes or until berries are soft.

Remove from the heat and blend with an immersion blender or in the bowl of a counter top blender until you have a smooth puree.

Makes about a cup.

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