Coeur à la Crème

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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!

Crème Fraiche Ice Cream

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I just came across this recipe recently, and realized that I’d completely forgotten about it. I made it once before, but for the life of me, can’t remember when. This isn’t like me, because I have a pretty good food memory. I’m assuming I made it when I had company, because I just don’t typically make ice cream. But it was marked “wonderful” in my handwriting, so I know that I indeed made it, and definitely wanted to have it again. After all, it is summer.

The recipe is from this Wolfgang Puck cookbook, published in 1991.
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The recipe calls for 4 cups of crème fraiche, which is a lot, so I began by making it myself. If you’ve never made your own crème fraiche, you should make it. For one thing, it’s so much less expensive if you make it yourself. For another thing, creme fraiche is quite versatile, from dolloping on a fruit salad, to stirring into soups. Or, in this case, turning it into ice cream. It’s nice to have on hand all of the time.

To make 1 quart of crème fraiche, place 1 quart or 4 cups of heavy cream in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons of buttermilk. Let it warm to room temperature, and sit for 12 hours. I cover loosely with plastic wrap. In 12 hours, you will have a firm crème fraiche.

Crème  Fraiche  Ice  Cream,  served  with  Raspberry  Sauce

1 quart crème fraiche
10 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar

After you’ve made the crème fraiche, chill it completely in the refrigerator. Also have your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer and ready to use.

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Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk them well. Add the sugar and whisk for about 1 minute.

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Add the crème fraiche and whisk until smooth.

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Pour some or all of the ice cream mixture into the ice cream bowl, depending how much yours holds. Turn it on and let it go until it’s ice cream. Mine took about 20 minutes.

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When ice cream is ready in an electric ice cream maker, it’s very soft. If you place the bowl into the freezer to get it firmer, the outside freezes and changes the lovely texture. It also can get too hard to remove – even with a sharp scoop.

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So for the purpose of the photos for this post, I “scooped” up the ice cream right away, and it’s easy to tell that it’s soft.

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That’s okay with me, because I got to eat some. And that’s what this is all about. Crème fraiche ice cream? It’s like frozen (or partially frozen) cheesecake.

Raspberry  sauce:

1 – 12 ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1 tablespoon white sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all of the ingredients in a blender jar and blend until smooth. If you don’t like seeds in your sauce (I don’t) then sieve the sauce to remove the seeds. Chill the sauce until ready to use.

The next day, I made a banana split of sorts with the crème fraiche ice cream, the raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, and bananas. To die for…

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