This morning, despite the snow piles still lining the streets, I can sense spring. The angle of the sun, a few spring birds sweetly chirping in the distance, the sound of one lone dove. Happy to wake up with a bit more optimism that the seasons may actually change. There’s a foot of new snow in Mt. Washington Valley and that should make for some good spring XC skiing this weekend, a sure sign of change in Northern New England.
March 22, 2014
If we’re going to heart spring and we can’t count on Mother Nature for help, let’s do it symbolically with Coeur a la Crème, something I haven’t made in ages and more suited for Valentine’s Day than the beginning of spring (Here’s where Mother Nature and I align – we’re both more than a month behind in our activities). I’d forgotten how delicious and easy these are, requiring these adorable coeur a la creme molds (even the French have molds, they just don’t put Jell-O in them). This past fall, when I unpacked all of my obscure baking equipment in my New Hampshire kitchen, I became reacquainted with my collection of molds.
Oh yeah, these. Memories of 90’s dinner parties and cooking classes flooded back. Perhaps you already have these, stacked dusty in the back of the cupboard. Well, here’s your opportunity to break them out! And, in future posts, I’ll share a few more savory recipes that I have used the molds for. Of course, you could also buy one big 7.25 inch (4 cup) mold and that would do. It’s all about presentation, so it’s up to you.
The holes in the bottom of the porcelain molds allow for the mixture cheesecloth to weep…that’s probably true if you were to use say Greek yogurt that might produce more liquid, but with this recipe, I see maybe a drop or two seep out. I’ve come to think of them as holes for aeration, allowing the creamy mixture to firm up before unmolding.
As for the white chocolate, if you are not a fan, by all means use milk or dark or hazelnut. Whatever your heart desires. I use my KitchenAid stand mixer for this recipe, and it’s helpful to have an extra bowl that fits your stand mixer. I opted for the smaller 3-quart bowl since I like to have an option of sizes. Two bowls are a must if you bake, create, make more than one thing at a time.
The raspberry sauce is so delicious and can be made any time of year with frozen raspberries.
Plus, it’s useful for so many desserts. Brighten the flavor a bit with a liqueur – Chambord is my first choice – I have a bottle that I’ve been nursing for years, (ok, maybe decades) since I only use it for dessert making, but Cointreau or Kirsch would also work well.
A wonderful way to end an elegant meal, or just because it’s finally spring in New England.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled
- ¾ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar, plus additional for garnish, if desired
- 4 - 6 ounces good quality white chocolate (I use Callebaut)
- Garnish: fresh raspberries, mint leaves
- 1 - 10 ounce package frozen organic raspberries, thawed
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon Chambord, Cointreau or Kirsch liqueur, or to taste
- Place a medium bowl and mixer beaters in freezer to chill while preparing remainder of recipe. Prepare molds: Allowing for overhang, line 8 - ½ cup coeur a la crème molds with a square of double thickness dampened cheesecloth. Alternatively, use one 4 cup mold for this recipe and line with dampened cheesecloth.
- In a small bowl, break chocolate into pieces. Melt over low heat, stirring until smooth or alternatively, melt on 50% power in a microwave (melting at a lower power will ensure, hopefully, that you will not seize the chocolate, but really only do this if you know your microwave well!). Set aside and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl (I use my stand mixer), beat cream cheese until fluffy,then beat in ¼ cup of heavy cream, add confectioner’s sugar and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Add melted chocolate and beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl to incorporate the mixture once or twice.
- Remove chilled bowl from the freezer. Pour remaining 1 ¼ cup of heavy cream in bowl and whip until it just begins to hold stiff peaks. Fold about ½ of whipped cream into cheese mixture to lighten. Fold remaining whipped cream into cheese mixture until there are no visible streaks of cream remaining.
- Spoon 2 heaping spoonfuls into each mold, dividing mixture evenly. Smooth tops. Fold and gently press overhanging cheesecloth on top of mixture. Place molds on a rimmed sheet or similar and chill for 8 to 24 hours.
- To serve, fold back cheesecloth from each mold and invert on dessert plate. Remove the cheesecloth and discard. Drizzle with raspberry sauce and garnish with fresh raspberries, mint leaves and/or a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar, if desired.
- Puree berries in food processor. Strain through a fine sieve, by stirring the puree with a wooden spoon, until only the seeds are left in the sieve, making sure to scrape the bottom of the sieve (because that’s where the good stuff is, take a look). Add sugar and liqueur. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.