February 14, the day of love. I was challenged with deciding what to create to show the love to my family on Valentine’s Day. It’s not that I don’t have a zillion yummy dessert recipes to choose from or half a zillion that I’ve never tried but want to. No, that was not the problem. I wanted something easy and unusual. Something they had never tried before. Not chocolate this time, not cake, cupcakes or cookies. While mulling it over I remembered I own a Coeur à la Creme mold. I also thought I had a Bon Appetit magazine from many years ago, saved just for the Coeur à la Creme recipe. Voila! Found the magazine, dated from February 1980 and easily put my hands on the mold. Decision finalized!
Coeur à la Creme is french for “heart with cream”. It is a simple, lovely and refined dessert. I laugh as I visualize the words I wrote in the previous sentence. Simple, as in easy to prepare; lovely, as in appealing, refined, as in elegant and well-mannered. These words indeed describe the Coeur à la Creme. The motivation for my laughter is the words I will use to describe the joint where we’ll eat our Valentine’s dinner tonight. We will be heading to Keller’s Drive-In. A greasy spoon burger joint, complete with car hops reminiscent of the 70’s and 80’s, bikers, pick-up trucks and pot holes. I’d call Keller’s rough, crude and not much to look at. Don’t get me wrong it is a great establishment serving greasy cheeseburgers that are covered in “special sauce”, tater tots fresh out of the freezer bag into the deep fat fryer, and ice-cold beer. We’ll get a kick out of discussing the contrast to our dining choices over dessert. Stay tuned to find out just how greasy our burgers were. Meantime, put on your white gloves and whip up a lovely Coeur à la Creme.
I altered the original recipe from Bon Appetit just a bit (altered recipe follows). Having licked the bowl after filling the mold I can attest it is creamy, fluffy deliciousness!
Coeur à la Creme
8 oz. cottage cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 Tbsp. Kirsch
Extra strawberries for garnish
Soak the cheesecloth in water, wring out excess water and line the mold with the cheesecloth. Allow 2 inches to hang over on all sides.
Combine cheeses, sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly until light and creamy. Whip heavy cream at high-speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture. Spoon into prepared mold smoothing the top. Cover with cheesecloth. Place mold on a wire rack over a pie plate and refrigerate overnight. The whey will drain onto the pie plate leaving the heart of the cheeses.
Puree hulled strawberries with Kirsch. Chill. When ready to serve, remove cheesecloth from top of mold, turn mold upside down onto a plate and remove cheesecloth. Garnish with fresh strawberries and drizzle purée mixture over the coeur à la crème.