First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you who celebrate it! May you all be with your loved ones on the 14th and share a special meal and bottle of wine or two!
I’m not one to make everything heart-shaped just because it’s February, but years ago I was gifted a white porcelain ramekin in the shape of a heart, just for making Coeur à la Crème, which roughly translates to heart of cream.
There are many different ways to make this luscious dessert, using marscapone, cream cheese, farmers’ cheese, ricotta, or cottage cheese, and even yogurt. The cheese drains in the ramekin, forming a firm, cheesy dessert, that I will serve with a mixed berry coulis.
I like this recipe because it’s not terribly rich, and not too sweet.
Coeur à la Crème
1 – 17.6 ounce carton Fage 2% Greek yogurt
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons powdered sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla powder, or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
Empty the carton of yogurt into a colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towels. Let it sit for 4 – 6 hours or overnight. You will notice that a significant amount of liquid has strained from the yogurt. That’s why this step is important before you begin with the recipe.
When the yogurt has strained, place it in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.
Slowly at first, using an electric mixer, mix up the cheese until smooth. Scrape down the bowl once and keep mixing. It should take about 5 minutes. Taste the cheese and make sure you like the flavor. I like it a bit off-sweet. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more powdered sugar.
Wet about a 20″ square piece of muslin or cheesecloth and wring it out very well. Then lay it over the ramekin and form it into the heart shape, with as few wrinkles as possible. Gently place the cheese into the ramekin.
Smooth it out on top, and tap it a few times to make it settle.
Wrap up the ramekin with the overflowing cheesecloth, then set the ramekin on a plate lined with paper towels. Cover the ramekin with a paper towel, and then put everything in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
When you are close to being ready to serve, unfold the cheesecloth from the ramekin, then turn the Coeur upside down on a serving plate, and finish removing the cheesecloth. If you like, smooth out the cheese with a knife.
Let the coeur warm a little before serving with your sauce of choice, whether it be fruit-based, or chocolate.
If you want an extra decadent coeur, use goat’s milk yogurt or some goat cheese. I served the coeur with a berry sauce, made from frozen mixed berries. Besides vanilla extract, there are many choices for flavoring. Citrus zest can be used, different extracts, as well as liqueurs such as Chambord or Grand Marnier.
It’s all a matter of taste!