Coeur a la Crème (Heart of Cream)
If you love cheesecake you have to try this classic French Valentine’s dessert. It’s every bit as good and less than half the work. If you can’t find the molds, just serve a scoop of the cream in a martini glass.
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 (one-third) cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch salt
- 1 basket strawberries, hulled (about 1 pint, 12 large berries)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 (1/3 cup) ceramic coeur a la creme molds** (click here for an example, available at gourmet kitchenware shops or online)
To make coeurs: Beat together cream cheese, sour cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Press mixture through a fine sieve or strainer (something like this, for example, available at most kitchenware stores) to remove any fine lumps. Line molds with a single layer of dampened cheesecloth and divide cheese mixture among molds, smoothing tops. Fold overhanging cheesecloth over tops, pressing it lightly. Refrigerate molds in a shallow pan or dish (to catch drips) at least 4 hours. **If you don’t have molds just line a strainer with cheesecloth, set over a bowl and chill for 4 hours or up to 2 days. Then scoop the creamy goodness into a martini glass when serving.
To make sauce: Heat strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice over moderate heat in a
saucepan just until they begin to exude their juices but still maintain their shape. Unmold cheese mixture and carefully peel off cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving. Sauce can be served hot or cold. Spread a few dollops on a plate and place the coeur on top. Drizzle more sauce on top if desired.