On the eve of Valentine’s Day, I think it’s appropriate to create one last dessert post that is not only easy to make, but with no baking required. Coeur a la Creme, is a French dessert, combining cream cheese and whipping cream, sort of a no-bake cheesecake with much lighter and airier results than American cheesecake. I first learned of this dessert back when Ina Garten wrote her “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook, which I just love, and it’s loaded with not-too-difficult recipes, including this one for Coeur a la Creme. I have tweaked the recipe a bit, so anyone can make it with almost any pan, no need for special heart-shaped equipment, or even cheesecloth.
For starters, I halved the recipe because my heart shaped mold can only hold four cups. That being said, a 8-inch cake pan will work just fine, or even a 7-inch mesh strainer covered with plastic wrap, or cheesecloth. In the original recipe, draining the cream mixture in a mold with holes covered in cheesecloth is instructed, but I found that not much, if any, liquid comes out of the cream. So, you can skip the perforated mold if you don’t have one on hand.
What you do get with this dessert is an easy to prepare, fluffy vanilla cream that is super delicious, and festive for any occasion, but especially Valentine’s Day. The fresh raspberries and chocolate sauce make it even tastier, not to mention gorgeous. It will serve at least four people, so those of you having a heart themed dinner party – here you go.
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 cup half & half
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, mix cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add heavy cream, vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract and salt. Using whisk attachment, beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy, like whipped cream.
- Cover mold or pan with cheesecloth or plastic wrap, and spoon cream cheese mixture inside. Fold up edges of cheesecloth over cream cheese mixture and place mold on a plate. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to overnight.
- In a large microwave safe bowl, heat half & half until hot for 2 minutes. Add chocolate, butter and salt, stir until creamy. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Unwrap and invert dessert onto serving plate and remove cheesecloth. Scatter raspberries on top and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy with chocolate sauce.