Coeur à la Crème translates from the French as “heart of the cream.” Made of sweetened cream, drained of its whey, it becomes the foundation for this simple but exquisite dessert.
Originally molded in heart-shaped wicker baskets, concerns about lingering bacteria between uses have given way to the pierced white porcelain molds used today. Available in individual three-inch size or the generous seven-inch size, which holds about five cups, these molds are both pretty and affordable. Alternatively, one can improvise with just about any container that has drainage holes and a capacity of six cups or more — a colander, scalded flowerpots or a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl. This recipe yields ten servings (about six cups).
Please note that all ingredients are Non-GMO Project Verified products (with the exception of the sherry, which is optional) and can be found by brand or category on our Verified product shopping list.
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered confectioner’s sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large vanilla bean
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- several sprigs fresh mint for garnish
- 1 jar (10 oz) red currant jelly
- 3 tablespoons sherry (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups of fresh raspberries (reserve one cup for garnish)
Before you begin: Line your molds (either ten 3” hearts or two 7” hearts) with three layers of cheesecloth that have been rinsed and wrung out in cold water. Be sure to leave enough cheesecloth overhanging the edges of the molds so that it can be folded back to cover the top of the cream.
Beat cream cheese in large bowl with an electric mixer until it is very light. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt. Split vanilla bean lengthwise with sharp paring knife; scrape seeds into cheese mixture until well distributed.
In a chilled bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff. Using rubber spatula, stir one quarter into cheese mixture, then gently but thoroughly fold in the rest.
Turn mixture into prepared mold(s), smooth out top and fold overhanging cheesecloth to cover. Put mold(s) on a rimmed cookie sheet (if using a sieve, set it over a bowl; if using flowerpots, elevate them on a rack) to drain. Refrigerate overnight.
To serve, turn back cheesecloth, put a serving plate right side down on top of mold, invert, remove mold and carefully peel off cheesecloth. Garnish with fresh berries (the tartness of raspberries pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the cheese) and fresh mint. Serve with a small pitcher of the chilled red berry sauce.
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill two of the larger 7” molds. You may successfully halve the recipe if you wish to make only one.
Melt jelly over low heat and stir in sherry and lemon juice. Cool, cover and chill in serving bowl. If using fresh berries mix two cups into the sauce up to two hours before serving.
Photos: Ann Street Studio