Love is in the Air…Valentine’s Day

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook


Valentines Day with a GREAT NEWS headline-I mean this is the perfect news to launch a tasty “love” day: Dark chocolate may be healthier than fruit juices. What could be better? Give up the oj and just eat chocolate-but make sure it’s the dark stuff!

Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Coulis

As a classic French dessert, this creamy fresh cheese masterpiece is simple to prepare and requires no cooking-just a bit of whipping up and then draining! The most beautiful aspect of all when I made it was…I got to use freshly homemade mascarpone cheese! The story is that Laura Riddle had tested it for our upcoming cheese making workshop and donated it to me for this timely dessert, traditionally made with mascarpone. Now we’ll see how the Coeur à la Crème goes, but there just might be a smidgeon left for ya’ll to taste at our workshop!

Although the traditional porcelain mold makes a charming heart-shaped dessert, there now are other not quite so showy, but useful, molds available-especially if you just make Coeur à la Crème once a year for Valentine’s Day.

The cream can also be drained in a large cheesecloth-lined sieve. Simply scoop as you would ice cream, drizzle with a tangy Raspberry Coulis and garnish with fresh raspberries. This Coeur à la Crème is dense and decadently luscious as it stands alone, however, I’ve added some chocolate shavings to pull in that healthy dark chocolate!

Serves 6

  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Dark chocolate shavings for garnish

Line 1 large (or 6 individual) Coeur à la Crème molds or a large sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth lightly dampened, allowing the excess to hang over the edge.

In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat together mascarpone and vanilla until smooth and creamy. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the sugar and then fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese mixture.

Fill the prepared mold with the cream mixture and set on a rack over a large plate to drain. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate on a tray or baking sheet a minimum of 2 to 3 hours-up to 24 hours.

Unwrap and invert the mold(s) onto a serving plate or plates. Remove the cheesecloth. Or, if using the sieve, invert onto a large plate and use an ice cream scoop to spoon individual servings into dessert bowls. Surround the Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Coulis, fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings. You may want extra chocolate shavings on the side.

Raspberry Coulis

Makes 1-1/2 to 2 cups

The gorgeous color and tangy flavor makes this vibrant sauce an a highlight for many desserts and even a very special crepe or waffle. Coulis is the fancy name for a sauce and can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries or 1 pound frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or raspberry liqueur such as Chambord
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish

Purée the raspberries and any accumulated juice in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain seeds and refrigerate sauce.

Stir the sugar and liqueur into the purée. Taste and adjust the sweetening, if necessary.

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