3 February 2008

Coeur a la Creme...Heart of My Hearts


Valentine's Day is coming up fast.

The history of Valentine's Day is obscure and clouded by various fanciful legends. "The holiday's roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day.

Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery. There were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.


Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, the factual ends and the mythic begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love)... he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion."

Gradually, February 14 has become the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine, whomever he is, became the patron saint of lovers. February 14th is marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers to the one you love....hint...hint.....

What a better way to show them your love than to make up something sweet and sinful. This is a rich and creamy dessert that seems to be delegated to Valentine's Day in our household. This particular recipe is a combination of Ina Garten's, the Barefoot Contessa herself, with , as they say, a little tweaking of my own. I have the cutest little coeur a la creme molds for making this dessert. I simply cut the recipe in half to accommodate my number of guests if I have to. I love to make this dessert even in the summer because it requires no stove time at all!!!!! Perfect and so sinfully good. Perfect for a sultry summer day as well...even the sauce is uncooked!!!!

I am entering this into the event "A Heart for Your Valentine" by its founder Kochtopf. Look for the round up and delicious Valentine entries here . Valentines Day is not just for chocolates...but I can have those too!!

**Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce**

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 -1/4 cups icing sugar
2 -1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Line 6 (1/2 cup) coeur a la creme molds with double thickness of dampened cheesecloth, extending beyond edges to enclose filling completely. A coeur a la creme mold has holes in the bottom to allow liquid to drain.

Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla bean seeds and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

(The Barefoot Contessa lines a 7-inch sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight). What I do for this recipe is spoon 1/2 cup of cheese mixture into each prepared mold. Fold cheesecloth over tops. Place molds on a rack set over a pan and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce around the base. Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

**Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce**

1 (12-oz) bag frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed, reserve juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)

Drain raspberries, reserving juice. Puree berries with 1/3 cup sugar in processor. Press through a fine sieve into a medium bowl to remove seeds. Add just enough reserved juice and Grand Marnier to thin puree to sauce consistency. Cover and refrigerate. Chill.

 Yields 2 cups

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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28 comments:

  1. That looks so decadent Val! Love the addition of Grand Marnier, and your heart is so cute!

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  2. I've always wanted to make these. I love them because they're so French- like Ina!
    I haven't seen any molds, but I'm sure I could get them online.
    These no-cook recipes are great! Yes, perfect for summer.

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  3. Hi Val. I have never tried this. It sounds delicious. I hope all your hints come true...LOL!!!

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  4. its an interesting article...

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  5. Wow - what an indulgent lip-smacking dessert... Perfect for the occasion!

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  6. I haven't had these before - looks really beautiful! I think the sauce is fantastic with the Grand Marnier.

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  7. I have a recipe in my Silver Palate Cookbook that I will have to dig out that has a poppyseed dressing.
    The sauce is delicious, thanks everyone :)

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  8. Rich and every forkful better than the other.

    Val, this also reminds me of Valentine's as a kid and exchanging those kiddy Valentine's cards.

    "Will you be my Valentine"?

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  9. Sure I'll be your Valentine Peter...now whisk me away to Greece with some of your delicious recipes :)

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  10. I've never heard of this, but it sounds like a simple, delicious, elegant-tasting dessert. Looks great!

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  11. I didn't quite know the whole story of St. Valentine. Always nice to learn something more. In Greece we also have a saint who protects those in love and is called St. Iakynthe. Your coeur a la creme looks great combined with the Grand Marnier sauce.

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  12. Hi Val,,,thanks for dropping by. Your heart looks precious and delicious! Yum Yum!! I'm a real sucker for theme based events...this one is great! Will wait for the poppy seed dressing too. Ciao!

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  13. Hey there :) Email me when you get a chance about Adopt a Blogger.

    I love anything with Grand Mariner in it! What a delicious recipe.

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  14. Hi Val, this is one stunning heart! I have also always wanted to make one of these but never taken the plunge! A great entry for "A Heart for Your Valentine" - well done :)

    Rosie x

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  15. Those are so very cute! I love them! Perfect valentine treat!

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  16. Looks great. I love the idea of having the Grand Marnier sauce to go with it.

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  17. I definitely plan on making something sweet and sinful - this looks amazing!

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  18. I remember seeing a great pic just like that of coeur a la creme on Ivonne's blog and thinking I should give it a try. That was probably about a year ago and it still hasn't happened...

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  19. Definitely try it Brilynn...they are delcious. I will have tio check Ivonnes site.

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  20. Oh Val, how perfect is that! I think that is now my fav desert from your blog.

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  21. Looks romantic, sounds delicious!

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  22. That is so pretty! And the raspberry sauce sounds like something that would be great on all kinds of things.

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  23. That is completely gorgeous. Be still my beating....well, you know. ;)

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  24. Valli, it's been far too long and I apologise for my absence, but I,ve just poured myself a cup of coffee and am salivating over your creme a la cour. It is way too early in the morning but I believe I could still eat one! YUM!

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  25. I had one for breakfast yesterday Vanielje ;)

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  26. Your Coeur a la creme looks beautiful! I haven't had one in a long time but yours is making me drool...got to clean the laptop screen again;)!!

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  27. Wow it looks so decadent for something that seems pretty easy to make. I can't wait to try it. Beautiful Hearts!!!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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