Coeurs à la Crème for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers! This one is for you!

I have always wanted to make this recipe. What has stopped me? Fear of the unknown? With the commitment I made to “Invite a Blogger to My Table” last month when Valerie and I made Portuguese Tarts together, I decided to get this delectable little number checked of my ever-so-long list and “just do it”.

The first time I heard mention of coeur à la crème was probably somewhere unenchanting, like in a magazine at the dentist’s office. Probably a Martha Stewart magazine. I really cannot be sure. But, I am sure that this is a dessert that I have romanticised about, fanticised about, and already had developed a taste and texture profile for it in my little noggin.  I didn’t realize I had gone so far until I went to  unmold it. More on that, later.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I was tickled. I was going to woo Vanja; no, double woo Vanja with this delectable delight on Valentine’s night: Woo-Woo!

And is it not pretty? Come on! It is so pretty. And rustic and elegant and tantalizing. Isn’t it? They are hibiscus flowers in the top photos garnishing the heart of all hearts. And, my own home grown preserved sour cherries from the local Evan’s Cherry tree. I know you want it. Admit it.

Be ye not afraid! This is the easiest dessert I have made in my life, other than eating an apple. Truly.

However….

Invite a Blogger to Your Table

This is a new and innovative collaborative initiative by Val at More Than Burnt Toast that I participated in a bit ago with Val herself when she invited me to her table to make Portuguese Tarts. That was such a great learning experience! I have now invited Heavenly Housewife and Val to MY table and we will be each posting our own sauce with the traditional recipe of Coeurs à la Crème in time for Valentine’s Day! HH’a is here and Val’s is here.

PLEASE JUMP IN AND INVITE A CYBER FRIEND TO DO THIS WITH! It’s a blast!

Here are her “rules”:

Your choice of recipe can be anything you would like it to be. Is there something you have been wanting to make and need feedback and encouragement from a friend to create on your blog? Is there a special dish that you just have to share sweet or savoury? Do you just want the fun of collaborating with other bloggers to come up with a tasty dish you feel you and your readers might enjoy. This is a fun event that creates friendships throughout the blogosphere. Invite someone you have followed for years or a perfect stranger. It is up to you!

  1. Choose a dish to prepare and invite 1 blogger to create that dish with you. You can source your recipe from a cookbook, magazine, blog or any other source. Your dish can be sweet or savoury; easy or complicated.
  2. Decide upon a date that you can both mutually post your recipe within a 4 week time frame.
  3. Link back to More Than Burnt Toast somewhere in your post as the creator of this event: http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/
  4. Please feel free to use the Avatar/Badge above “Invite a Blogger to Your Table”.
  5. Once you have made your dish with your blogging friend or friends and posted it, you can choose to STOP or CONTINUE on and “invite another blogger to your table” to make something DIFFERENT on a mutually agreeable date within the next 4 week time frame.
  6. Cut and paste these instructions into your post and contact a friend. Let magic happen and let’s get cooking!!!

 

Back to the topic at hand: the ingredients are so simple: cream cheese, crème frâiche, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon and salt. I made my own crème frâiche which is the ultimate in the world of crème frâiches and is deadly and to-die-for and you must try it. I am making my best effort. My very best effort would have had me make my own cheese. Next time, I will. I really wanted to use Holly’s chèvre, but I didn’t have any on hand or anyway to get any fresh, so I used Philadelphia.

Both Heavenly Housewife and I ordered our molds for this very special occasion and when they came we wrote to each other vibrating with excitement! Years. I have wanted them for years. I even saw an antique one on ebay in France about 150 years old I almost bought for this post. (I kind of regret letting it go… )

I wasn’t sure why I should push it through a sieve, but I am a follow directions kind of gal. At least, the first time.

Did you see how lumpy it looked on the spoon above, even after straining it. Is wasn’t, though. It just looked lumpy. I am not sure why the instructions say to wet the cheesecloth. Maybe so the filling fills the mold with greater ease. The instructions say to let it rest to set a minimum of four hours, and preferably over night. Maybe the word “fort” was left out by accident? A fortnight would make more sense to me!

That is only because I had imagined the texture, the consistency, the feel of these little parcels and the reality was not aligned. They did “set” in 4 hours and I could absolutely “unmold” them to hold their shape then. I checked. But, very little liquid had been released, and as I make yogurt cheese on a regular basis, I had expected a considerable amount of moisture to escape these tender little hearts. That did not happen. After twenty four hours, again, the mold came out beautifully. The heart tasted exactly like the filling that went into it flavour and texture wise.

What was I expecting? Magic? Well, yes. I was absolutely expecting a transformation. The kind I get when I hand yogurt overnight and in the morning I get cheese. It feels different and tastes different. That is what I expected from this simple French delicacy. I waited 48 hours and then “did it”. It was definitely a firmer consistency, but nothing like the one inside of my imagination. It is beautiful, though, with the cheese cloth markings: rustic and romantic. (The black dots are the vanilla bean seeds.)

Now you can see the texture. It is a very soft, loose pudding like texture. Nothing cheesy about it. I could not taste the vanilla. I could not taste the lemon (well, with one teaspoon, didn’t really expect to), but I could not taste my homemade lovely lush beautiful buttery crème frâiche! Now, that was disappointing. I could taste a very delicately sweetened cream cheese: plain old cream cheese. Maybe I was having an off day.

But, when I whirled and swirled it triumphantly (hiding my own impression) in front of Vanja after dinner to do the double voo-doo “Woo-woo”, he looked at it skeptically, one eyebrow raised (you know the look) took a taste, and just shook his head uttering something like. “Uh-uh. Nope… uh-uh…” all the way into his favourite chair.

I was left in the kitchen standing with my heart in one hand, loosely pulling the “Woo-Woo” chain with the other. Deep sigh.

But, don’t let me discourage you! I am not even going to let me discourage me! My friend came over today, and “oohed and ahhed” her way through almost two of them. She said it was a very special treat. The hibiscus flowers remind us both of choke cherry syrup. I love that!

I will make others. I can see a yogurt cheese one coming up, and a chèvre one, and some savoury ones, too. But I would need a large mold for that. Maybe. Anyway. I never give up.

I now have a project I am working on, like Bènè’s cake. and I will not stop until I succeed!

So, here’s a little love letter to each and everyone of my readers, today. Thank you for reading and enriching my life. Your feedback completes the circle. I learn from you and hopefully, you learn from me. I have learned so much from reading the sites I read and interacting with the wonderful cyber and local friends I have made through this work. My heart runneth over. Truly.

(But, not if you let it set for 48 hours!) XO

Coeurs à la Crème for Valentine's Day
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a recipe from the Whitehouse.
Author:
Recipe type: Cheese Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for Coeurs à la Crème:
  • 4 (10x10-inch) squares cheesecloth
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Ingredients for Cassis Raspberry Blackberry Hibiscus Flower Garnish:
  • fresh raspberries
  • fresh blackberries
  • ½ cup cassis syrup (same recipe as cassis sorbet (on my site), but not frozen; just strained)
  • fresh mint or hibiscus flower to garnish
  • Ingredients for Sour Cherry Soup:
  • sour cherries preserved in simple syrup
Instructions
Instructions for Coeurs à la Crème:
  1. Rinse cheesecloth under water; squeeze until just damp
  2. Line each of four 3- to 4-inch Coeurs à la Crème molds with 1 square of cheesecloth (I used double thickness)
  3. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, homemade crème fraîche, 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in large bowl until smooth (about 4 minutes)
  4. Press through fine strainer; divide among molds; fold cheesecloth over
  5. Place molds in shallow baking dish; cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day
  6. Unmold onto serving plate and garnish with sauce
Instructions for Coeurs à la Crème with the Thermomix:
  1. Rinse cheesecloth under water; squeeze until just damp
  2. Line each of four 3- to 4-inch Coeurs à la Crème molds with 1 square of cheesecloth (I used double thickness)
  3. Scale room temperature cream cheese, homemade crème fraîche, 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt into the TM bowl; insert butterfly
  4. Set time to 2 minutes and speed at 3-4 to whip mixture well; scrape all ingredients out of the TM bowl and into a fine tami or sieve
  5. Press cheese through fine strainer; divide among molds; fold cheesecloth over
  6. Place molds in shallow baking dish; cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day
  7. Unmold onto serving plate and garnish with sauce
Instructions for Garnish:
  1. Garnish the Coeurs à la Crème: with a either suggestion, above
  2. Garnish with mint and flower

 

I mean, I don’t get it. Am I supposed to eat them, or wear them?

The White House version is in the video below that Valerie mentions on her post. Exactly the same recipe we used, too!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v80ssN_c8X8

Comments

  1. Valerie says

    Angie
    to me

    show details 4:34 AM (1 hour ago)

    Valerie, I have tried to write a comment on your blog under coeurs-a-la-creme post since this morning….but I reloaded and reloaded page…no comment box.

    The texture of coeures ala creme looks so smooth!
    Angie

    For some reason my comments were closed and I have now messages telling me to open them. How did that happen?

  2. says

    It’s almost eerie, dear Valerie. This is also a dream recipe of mine, one I’ve been meaning to make for eons, and that I’d finally settled on trying for this year’s Valentine’s Day (but with strawberries, which are now in season where I live). I’m simply awestruck by the beauty of what you’ve done here and am so grateful, as always, for your detailed instructions and observations about the preparation process. Love love love.

    I’m frankly stunned that the cheese base came out so soft, since I had ALWAYS assumed that it would be quite firm, with roughly the texture of chilled cream cheese.

  3. says

    Yay, we can post comments. I just wanted to say that your coeurs turned out beautifully with both versions. Both versions are so creative. Thank you once again for inviting me on this challenge. It was fun as always!!!Have a wonderful Valentines’s Day!!

  4. says

    Both your coeur a la cremes look amazing, but I particularly love the one with the hibiscus flowers (as does Beavie!). It looks so exotic, and the presentation is fabulous. I am also loving that close up photo where you can see the indentations left by the cheese cloth :D.
    Yeah, I wondered why this needed to be sieved too. I made kind of a mess doing that LOL.
    Again, thank you so much for asking me to team up with you on this. I was so happy when you asked me, because I love your blog! You are probably the most passionate foodie I know.
    Now that I have my moulds, I am definitely going to try other sweet and savoury variations of this.
    Wishing you and Vanja a very happy Valentine’s Day.
    *kisses* HH

    • Valerie says

      Thank you for stopping by, Gloria! It is so wonderful to meet one another’s admirers through shared cooking experiences like this one!
      :)
      Valerie

  5. says

    Oh Valerie, I love that you finally attempted this treat! A wonderful event “invite a blogger to your table!” I also would have thought the cheese would be firmer, but your right the rustic look does add to the dish. I love the look of the vanilla seeds, sorry that they flavor didn’t stand out, I think it would have added an extra layer to the creme, I am sure you will revamp this creme into your own…the hibisuis flowers rock!! one of my fav flavors!!
    sweetlife

  6. says

    OH my gosh Valerie! What a gorgeous presentation!!!! Stunning photos and thanks for the invitation, I would gladly sit at your table any day!

    Just love the texture on the white heart. So creative…simply gorgeous!

    Michelle

  7. says

    Valarie,

    Did you make the Hibiscus Flower garnish? It’s just stunning and looks tricky to make. I’ve made candy before but nothing like it, in fact I’ve not seen any thing like it before.

    Michelle

    • Valerie says

      Michelle:
      I have candied or sugared violets, and you bet I would be preserving these if they grew outside here, but no. The hibiscus flowers came from a friend of my daughter from Australia who ordered them for us on line (2 massive jars of them) and brought them with her for my daughter’s wedding. I picked them up from her home in Palo Alto and brought them (so proudly) home to the Canadian prairies with me. Here is the link she used to order them. She paid 25 American dollars plus shipping per jar and I see the same jar is now 35 American (with 50 flower per jar). OUCH. I saw them here in a specialty store and they were 50 Canadian dollars for a jar that big. Preserve your own, definitely. It would be worth it to buy the indoor tree!! Originally, we were planning a wedding and each flower was to be a garnish on a dessert. Now, we are using the flowers and enjoying them anyway we can! They are great in an exotic cocktail!
      :)
      Valerie

      • says

        Valerie,

        Thanks so much for all the info. I’ve preserved rose petals before but nothing as complicated as a whole hibiscus flower. They are so unique, I’d love to use them for something special.

        Thanks again.

        Michelle

      • says

        Okay now I see. This is actually a Hibisus bud, the flower is huge.

        Actually, we do have hibisus in the midwest and the flowers when fully opened are about the size of dinner plates and just gorgeous! And they are edible.

        I’m going to try making the candied hibicus blossoms this summer. Want to do a Candied Flower post with me?

        Michelle

        • Valerie says

          Michelle!
          I would love to do a candied flower post with you this summer! Absolutely! Thank you so much! I haven’t hibiscus here, but there are so many I can try… and I can try this preservation method with some, too… even with simple rosehips in the fall. I am excited now! I have it on my calendar to be thinking of June 15th – there will not be so many flowers here before then. Sound good?
          :)
          Valerie

  8. says

    I’m smiling SO big at this post, Valerie!! I remember first seeing this dessert in a back issue of the gorgeous Victoria magazine. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since but have never tried it. :-) You did a SMASHING job and I’m so inspired to try it at last. :-)

  9. says

    Valerie,

    This is absolutely gorgeous, my friend! I’ve said this many times, but everytime I visit your blog I can’t help but think what a lucky man Vanja is. Even though this may not have been his favorite dessert, in the end, it’s really the thought that counts. I’m sure Vanja knows you put your whole heart into this to woo him (no pun intended). I love your use of the hibiscus flowers. Those are just gorgeous pictures! Happy Valentines to you and Vanja. You guys are the cutest couple. I always learn something every time I visit (both your very warm and inviting home and blog). Have a lovely Valentines weekend. Thank you for sharing the video with us.
    I’ve penned in March 13th. Now we just need to figure out a time and what you’re teaching me. Teehee. 

    PS
    Beavie, you wear those flowers with style, my friend. 

  10. says

    How beautiful decorated they are! That first shot is stunning! I am so in awe of the preserved hibiscus flowers. This is a dessert I have not tried yet myself. I need to find some heart-shaped pans first 😉

    Well done!

  11. says

    Valerie, you have outdone yourself with this post. Girlfriend – not only are your photos stunning in every way (food styling, lighting, etc.) The recipe you chose to share with your honey & us looks amazing. I think I need to be your Valentine 😉 The “Share a Table” thing sounds really awesome. Might need to team up with someone on that one. You and Miss. DTD are a great team.
    “I know you want it. Admit it.” Yes I do!!!

    xxoo

  12. says

    Your posts always have so much texture…like a finely woven garment. I love the words, the pictures, and the recipes that you share. I’ve never heard of coeurs a la creme before, and I’m smitten with these delicate desserts. I’m so glad it is finally Friday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend of relaxation, love and laughter. Thank you for sharing, my friend!

  13. says

    This looks so divine, and I love the whole concept of ‘Invite a blogger to your table’ and seeing how you and HH both presented the dish individually. And both mouthwatering. I’d ask you to be my Valentine in a heartbeat!

  14. says

    I love the one with hibiscus flowers a lot.the texture looks great.There always so much in your posts to learn and try.I saw these coeurs a la creme at HH’s blog 2 days back and that was my first stint with them:)These looks absolutely gorgeous.I hope with your step by step pictorial I ll be able to reproduce them.And yes Indian sweets can be realy overwhelming ..We are used to the taste but foe newbies it takes time to develop the palate.Thanks for this wonderful post my friend and HAPPY V-Day to you :)

  15. says

    I’ve always want to try this dessert. You did a sensational job, as always. And, I love the idea of the cherry soup. Incredible. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

  16. says

    Congratulations Valerie. This is “classic” Val, I think I’ve read your posts so much I can tell now when your so excited about a foodie project, it just overflows out of you. This is a foodie project my Mom & I share with you my friend, We’ve also long held a desire to make coeur à la crème – actually the gals in our family are all smitten with the idea of doing a spot of cheesemaking & stunning cheese based desserts as a project this year. Yours (& HH’s) fantastic results has made it into ‘the folder’ so I can’t wait to share our results.
    We love the Hibiscus flowers, aren’t they wonderful, in fact I just loved everything about this post, very impressive.

    • Valerie says

      Anna,
      I appreciate your thoughtful and heartfelt comments, and you are absolutely right. Cheesemaking has also been a huge goal of my own. I am looking for someone locally to partner with as it is a bigger project than I want to take on myself… at least, the project in my head is, as I want to start with basic simple fresh cheeses and work my way through to a series of others!
      :)
      Valerie

  17. says

    I am in love. Cherries are by far my favorites and being Eastern European I love anything that resembles our white cheese. I am sure that Vanya was beyond wooed, more liked knocked over. Love the hibiscus flowers.

  18. says

    Awe, Valerie! These coeurs-a-la-cremes look wonderful to me. I can’t imagine them not being delicious. They look so creamy with those tart cherries and hibiscus. I think I would have been like your friend and savored every bite. Plus, I have no built up concept of them, so such a pretty plate of real food would be very welcomed by this witch (smile). Yeah, they look magical…!
    p.s. I’m hosting a giveaway in case you want to enter, Sweet Lady:-)

  19. says

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Vanja! :)

    Yes, they are most certainly very pretty, though I am sorry that Vanja was not quite as thrilled as you might have hoped he would be LOL

    I love the garnishes – and the photos are beautiful AND laugh out loud funny!!

  20. says

    Valerie, it is stunning! It looks perfect, from the vanilla bean seeds to the cheesecloth pattern to, yes, the texture! I have not made this since culinary school, but I look at the molds every time I am at a cookware store. So far, I have resisted!
    I have seen hibiscus flowers in syrup here and have ignored them, as I don’t love the taste, but if you say they taste like chokecherry syrup, then I’ll have to give them a try. My grandmother used to make me chokecherry jelly and I miss it and her very much.
    I wonder if you could rehydrate the dried hibiscus flowers you can buy rather cheaply in a Latino food store? They are called ‘flor de jamaica’–look for them when you are hunting down that passionfruit puree in the freezer.
    :)

  21. says

    Alright Valerie, I’m truly taken in by the warmth and love from this post today.
    The dedication towards a dessert you were longing to make didn’t quite meet your expectation and you still managed to excite me on wanting to one day make this too.
    The presentaion is definitely what captured me…what a stunning display!!!
    Anyhow, now that you’ve followed the complete recipe…you’ll be able to put your ‘Valerie magic’ on the next try…looking forward to your tweaks ;o)

    The hibiscus flowers were an exceptional touch.

    A big warm hug to a true Foodie at heart!
    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  22. says

    This is DEFINITELY pretty! Gorgeous, in fact! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

    And re: your question about guajillo chiles (sorry, I’m really behind in replying to this). It’s not all that spicy, definitely close to ancho. I just put it whole in the chili to infuse, then removed it… and actually ate part of it, but there wasn’t that much flavour left, and it was tough. As for chipotle chiles en adobo, I can eat them solo, but maybe they’re weaker than plain chipotle? I mean, I have a pretty high tolerance for spice, but not *that* high…

  23. says

    Looks absolutely fantastic! I like the impressions the sieve gave on the heart. I’ve always wanted to make couer a la creme but never got around to buying one of those specialized pans, but I think seeing this has given me the motivation to get one :)

  24. says

    They served this at a tasting at Delurenti’s. It was amazing! Then I noticed it was Saveur. Now here. I think that’s enough signs that I should make this. Pronto. Great pictures Val.

  25. says

    If it’s good enough for the White House, it’s more than good enough for me! These look adorable and I do so wish I had those heart-shaped dishes. A great idea this blog event is, too. I hope to invite a blogger myself sometime.

  26. says

    Val..as I was drooling over the artisan sausage, and about to leave a comment, I found myself back paging to this just to ogle the beauty and creaminess. I LOVE coeur a la creme, and your hearts and presentation are simply 5 star beauties! Also, the invite a blogger to your table is a brilliant and fun idea! So many new challenges and blog activities, I can never keep up – then again, as long as there is no ‘linky thing’. Confuses the heck out of me..lol

  27. says

    this looks brilliant Val:) you are so talented and i would love to try out this dessert.. it looks very elegant. thank you for sharing this and for stopping by my blog. I will try to work out the how-to on flower making soon. *hugs*

    • Valerie says

      Marilyn!
      Thank you so much. I wasn’t fortunate enough to get to FoodBlogher. I teach school full time, but right now I am on sick leave. I certainly know who Lauren is though! I wrote her to congratulate her for her blog award and for finding herself on Michael Ruhlman’s home page as a gluten free reference: one of only 4 there! As I teach school, I have always been thrilled to see Lauren’s work!
      Thank you for stopping by. I don’t know anyone from Edmonton who went to Foodblogher, but I do know a Valerie from Kelowna who went and she writes a More Than Burnt Toast. Maybe that is who you met?
      :)
      Valerie

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