I had a dream one night that I was flying through clouds made of whipped cream. It reminded me of those old commercials where the angels sat on clouds and ate cream cheese, flavoring some of it with strawberries or blueberries.
A coeur a la creme is a dreamy pillow of whipped cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla bean and lemon zest. The consistency is so airy that it feels like eating the top of an ice cream sundae, but it is dense enough to form the beautiful heart shape you see below.
I like mine framed by a moat of raspberry sauce spiked with Gran Marnier.
This recipe is a bit of a story. I have wanted to make it for years, after seeing it on Barefoot Contessa. I decided to make it this year for Valentine’s Day, which required I put the special dish on hold at Sur la Table. When I finally made it, I forgot to buy heavy cream and tried half/half, which didn’t have the milk fat needed to make it fluff together. So I threw that whole batch out (wah).
I got it right the second time – just watch your Gran Marnier, that stuff gets strong!
- 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows
- 2 half-pints fresh raspberries
Place the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla bean seeds and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream (about 5 min.).
Line a coeur a la creme dish (or 7-inch sieve) with cheesecloth (or paper towels) so the ends drape over the sides and place it on something to catch the liquid (if using a sieve, suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the dish and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain). Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth (I doubled my cheesecloth layer), fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight. Mine drained just a few drops of liquid, so don’t expect a flood.
You’ll love the way the cheesecloth leaves an impression on the surface:
Now, make the raspberry sauce:
- 1 half-pint fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier)
Place raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and liqueur into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Chill.
To serve, unmold the coeur a la creme onto a plate and spoon sauce around the edges. Tumble raspberries all around and dig in!
I honestly can’t have more than one or two spoonfuls at a time – it is very rich. This would be PERFECT for a spring or summer dinner party because it makes so much and is so cool and soft to eat.