Friday, February 15, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Coeur à la Crème


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.
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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.





40 comments:

  1. I like all of your additions. The rhubarb would have been yummy as well, I bet. Your photos are beautiful, and I am sure it tasted wonderful as well!

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    1. I am waiting for the first rhubarb to arrive, I cannot wait to make that first rhubarb tart of the season.

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  2. I love your bombe a la creme, and the blueberries with honey almonds is the best garnish of them all! Gorgeous Andrea!

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    1. Paula, I certainly like the expression "bombe à la crème" and I mentioned to my family that you found this rather fitting name for my "domed" version of this dessert! Much as I liked this shape, I would rather have these exquisite proper heart-shaped molds, preferably one large one! I will have to travel to France at Easter time and buy one, I guess.

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  3. Lovely! This made for a very elegant presentation, perfect for a Valentine's dessert. Nicely done!

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    1. Sara, thank you - while this dessert is perfectly suited for Valentine´s Day, I think it would also be delicious for any other day of the week - maybe a perfect summer dessert when berries are abundant, juicy and at their peek, which would make this even more of a treat.

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  4. Perfect combination, blueberries and cream. This was really good and we truly enjoyed it.

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    1. Nana, this was indeed a wonderful dessert and blueberries and cream really do go together so well.

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  5. What a beautiful post - each picture is absolutely perfect. And those honey almonds- oh my they sound delish. I have some great Savannah Honey Co honey left and you have inspired me to use them on my almonds - thanks. Again, your photos are off the charts - love that last one with the flowers too - so pretty !!

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    1. Tricia, thank you very much - I just thought that this creamy dessert needed "something" to make it more "pretty" and I did not really want to use anything red, so blueberries (which I happen to adore) were available and I always have honey and almonds in the pantry - that´s how the ideas for the "additions" came about and they happened to be delicious.

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  6. The honey almonds sound fantastic on thIs dessert. I also like the use of blueberries. I love the pretty flowers.

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    1. Geraldine, thank so much - since I could not find a heart-shape mold for this dessert, I felt that I should add something to "pretty up the presentation". And I am glad that I made the almonds and the bleuberry sauce, they really added some deliciousness to this creamy dessert.

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  7. This sounds delightful, and all the little details (both food and decor) make this even more beautiful. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you had a fabulous week, and I hope your weekend brims with good food, laughter, and love.

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    1. Monaet, this was the first time I made this creamy, dreamy dessert and we enjoyed it quite a bit and the addition of the sauce and honeyed-almonds made this even better.

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  8. I love the almonds on top - it is a nice touch.

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    1. The almonds were nice on top of this creamy dessert, somehow they were nice in combination with the berries and the soft cheese. I am sure that I will make them again some day, even when I own a proper heart-shaped mold.

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  9. I disagree that it does not look very nice. The heart shaped cakes are of course very cute and fitting for Valentine's day, but I actually think that yours looks lovely. At first I was very worried about the cloth that I was using and really tried to get it lie flat. But actually, the patter that it makes gives the cake a bit of character.

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    1. Rose, for the cloth, I went to my favorite kitchen supply store and got a cotton cloth used for dumplings and potatoes, I cut it to the size I needed and it worked perfectly.

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  10. Our harbingers of spring are snowdrops, which are blooming now in the beds in my backyard. I love the first brave flowers of the season. Your domed version of this dish looks very pretty, I think, especially with the honeyed almonds and blueberries for garnishes. I used homemade vanilla sugar in my version, too, but neglected to mention that in my post. Lovely photos!

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    1. Teresa, snowdrops are wonderful - I saw them peeking through the snow in a neighbour´s garden the other day and was delighted. As far as this domed version is concerned - although I was not really happy that I had to use a sieve, we thought that it tasted really good, particularly with the blueberry sauce and that´s all that couts really. Except tha I thought the whole time that a "heart" is certainly more photogenic than a "dome".

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  11. I famously (now) hate this dessert. But if I had to like one thing about it that would be the lovely texture and pattern that gets imprinted on it from the cloth...and your photos really appeal to me and show that for me this pattern is so elegant...even when there is no heart shape this pattern makes me love this dish. How did that happen? :)

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    1. Trevor, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! It is quite nice that you pointed out the texture of the cheese, my husband loved the look of the "imprint" as well and relly liked the picture too where the "pattern" is so visible on this dessert.

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  12. I love your presentation, Andrea!! The nuts and honey make a luscious topping! It looks so pretty!! Have a great weekend!!

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    1. Thank you, Kathy and enjoy your weekend as well!

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  13. Hyacinths are still 2-3 months away here. I love them, because they remind you that spring really is on its way.

    Blueberry/ honey-almond toppings sound like a lovely idea for this dessert. It would be perfect with a cup of tea!

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    1. Cher, the bluebeery sauce the fresh blueberries and the honeyed-almonds were really nice with this cream dessert. And the Hyacinths are having a good day today, we are currently enjoying spring like temperatures.

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  14. An excellent presentation, the desert in itself looks scrumptious and adding blueberries to it will make for a great culinary experience.

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    1. Hello Mason, thanks for stopping by and for the lovely comment!

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  15. This dessert looks wonderful, and I'd love to find one of those dishes too! I really have to give this recipe a try - whether served with raspberries, blueberries or rhubarb, I think it would be wonderful.

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    1. Beth, you are so right, this will be a "repeat dessert" with many different summer fruits on the side (once they have reached their peak seson)- the kids adored this dessert and it was gone in a flash.

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  16. Your dessert looks lovely, Andrea. I particularly like the honeyed almonds on top. Nice touch! Having muscari bloom on your windowsill must give you hope for spring. It's snowing here again today. I have narcissus nearly ready to bloom inside. It's the second batch. Our rhubarb won't be in season for another 3 months, so these indoor flowers keep me going! Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Betsy, yes, those flowers are quite wonderful and such a welcome sight at this time of year - February can be quite cold and dark and spring sometimes feels so far away still.

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  17. Making such a lovely coeur a la creme in a sieve proves that you don't need a heart-shape mold. The blueberry sauce looks and sounds so delicious with this and I love the crunchy touch of the almonds. Your idea of pairing this with rhubarb is perfect as well. I agree that this is a perfect dessert for any special occasion. Your presentations are always so beautiful and special.

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    1. Elaine, although I did realize that I do not really need a heart-shaped mold, I would not mind owning one...you know how it is...can´t ever get enough of those kitchen things even if I do nort really need them. I will be making this again using other fruits soon, cannot wait.

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  18. We had a lovely, mild day today...but snow, sleet and rain in the forecast. No sign of my hyacinths :( Your coeur a la creme is gorgeous....love the almond honey topping...mmmmmmm. All your photos are spectacular, Andrea!

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    1. That is a wonderful comment - thank you, Liz! Now that I posted my picture with the Grape Hycinths, there is a snowstorm in the forcast for tomorrow! Hopefully the snowy interlude will not last too long and spring will be back soon!

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  19. Despite it's a heart shape or not, or with rhubarb or not, I really love how you made this dessert! I personally prefer blueberry and almond addition better. :) I also don't own any heart shape baking supply and realized I need some...maybe cookie cutter first for the next Valentine's Day. :D

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    1. Thank you, Nami - I do not own that many heart-shaped molds or baking equipment either, but I do own a few cookie cutter and baking pans in the shape of a heart but I do not really use them all that often but whenever I do, the result is always fun shaped baked things that seem to make everyone happy.

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  20. There is no place that I like to visit better than your lovely blog. I love your interpretation of the dish and your last photo is so charming.

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    1. Karen, thank you so very much for this huge compliment - you certainly made my day when I read your comment!

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