Like little girls who decide they don’t love pink anymore–even if it was the only color they would wear for years–we went through a stage of not loving heart-shaped things. They seemed too sweet, too silly, too obvious. Luckily, we got over ourselves, and are now big fans of this lovely, light dessert which translates to “Cream Hearts.” If you can find one big heart mold, it can also be a real show-stopper, although everyone loves getting their own individual heart as well. The hardest part of this recipe is definitely finding the molds–good news for shoppers!–but don’t worry if you can’t find them. You can stock up here for next year, and for now, you can make the dish in a cheesecloth-lined sieve or bowl and it will convey your love just as well. Edible valentines: right up our alley!
Coeurs à la Crème
1 8-oz package of cream or Neufchatel cheese, preferably at room temperature
¼ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
pinch of salt
½ cups cold heavy cream
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
raspberries or ripe strawberries for garnish
Special equipment: six small heart molds with drainage holes, and cheesecloth
For raspberry coulis:
2 packages frozen raspberries (about 2 or 3 cups), thawed
liquid sweetener to taste: we used maple syrup but you could use agave or honey
Line each mold with a double layer of damp cheesecloth, leaving enough around edges to fold over.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for several minutes until smooth and creamy. Sift in sugar and salt and beat until well combined, then add vanilla and beat again. Scrape mixture into a large bowl.
In the same mixer bowl (no need to clean it), now using the whisk attachment, beat cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold ⅓ of whipped cream into cream cheese mixture to lighten, then carefully fold in the rest of the cream. Fill molds with mixture, pressing down gently to make sure it fills out each heart. Fold edges of cheesecloth over each heart, pressing down gently again, then place on a baking sheet or tray and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Meanwhile, puree raspberries in a blender and strain through a sieve. Add sweetener to taste, then chill along with the hearts.
To serve, un-mold each heart onto a pretty plate. Serve with coulis and fresh raspberries.