11 February 2011

Coeur a la Creme with Caramelized Strawberries for Invite a Blogger to Your Table


Coeur a la Creme with Caramelized Strawberries

In January I invited Valerie of A Canadian Foodie to my table and even though she lives in Alberta and I in British Columbia we shared our table by creating a dish together. Nothing creates friendships better than sharing a kitchen even it is virtually. For our initial creation we both made Pasteis de Belém (Portuguese Custard Tarts) a traditional Portuguese treat.  We so enjoyed the experience that according to the rules of the event as listed below Valerie invited Hana from My Life as a Housewife  from the UK to create a different dish, their very first Coeur a la Creme, and I was invited to tag along.

In honour of Valentines Day this dessert is perfect since Coeur is French for “heart.” This is a traditional French dessert, a simple no bake, crustless cheesecake made by draining a mixture of sweetened cream cheese and creme fraiche of excess moisture in a special heart-shaped ceramic mold.  The coeurs are traditionally molded in a special heart-shaped mold with holes on the bottom to allow liquid to drain out as it sets up overnight. If you don’t have a heart-shaped “coeur à la crème” mold or molds, you can use a colander. This will give it a dome shape rather than a heart. You can also rig up makeshift molds by cutting the sides of four 12-ounce paper cups to 3 inches high. With a toothpick, poke 12 holes in the bottom of each. Line with cheesecloth; fill as directed.

Coeur a la creme molds can be found in cookware shops across the country and even online. As with baked cheesecakes, the best way to ensure that you have a smooth dessert is to bring the cream cheese to room temperature and beat it well before mixing it with the other ingredients. When finished, the coeur is a pure white heart, ready to decorate in a variety of ways.

Caramelizing the strawberries this time of year concentrates the flavour when strawberries are shipped from warmer climates abroad. They are not at their peak of perfection so benefit greatly from this method to maximize the flavour of this topping. Here in Canada I will have to wait until June for local strawberries...sigh... but for this dessert I was simply not prepared to wait:D Strawberries and Valentine's Day are synonymous!!

Check out this Couer a la Creme from former White House pastry chef Chef Roland Mesnier. Just the other day I watched him create this dish on one of the news networks.


Here are the "rules" for the event "Invite a Blogger to Your Table" as I see it for now.

This is a fun event and an outlet for us each to challenge ourselves and create stronger bonds within the blogging community. Nothing is more intimate, or more effective at creating friendships than cooking and sharing meals together, even it is virtually. But hey, if you live in the same area as another blogger what's to stop you from gathering in your own kitchen for this challenge.

 Your choice of recipe can be anything you would like it to be. Is there something you have been wanting to make and need feedback and encouragement from a friend to create on your blog? Is there a special dish that you just have to share sweet or savoury? Do you just want the fun of collaborating with other bloggers to come up with a tasty dish you feel you and your readers might enjoy. This is a fun event that creates friendships throughout the blogosphere. Invite someone you have followed for years or a perfect stranger. It is up to you!
1) Choose a dish to prepare and invite 1(one) blogger to create that dish with you. You can source your recipe from a cookbook, magazine, blog or any other source. Your dish can be sweet or savoury; easy or complicated.
2) Decide upon a date that you can both mutually post your recipe within a 4 week time frame.

3) Link back to More Than Burnt Toast http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/ somewhere in your post as the caretaker of this event.
4) Please feel free to use the Avatar/Badge above "Invite a Blogger to Your Table".

5) Once you have made your dish with your blogging friend or friends and posted it, you can choose to STOP or CONTINUE on and "invite another blogger to your table" to make something DIFFERENT on a mutually agreeable date within the next 4 week time frame.
6) Please e-mail Val at bloggerstable(AT)gmail(DOT)com for no other reason than to let her know you have participated. She would love to see what you have accomplished.

7) Cut and paste these instructions or "rules"  into your post and contact a friend. Let magic happen and let's get cooking!!!


With this ongoing event I will challenge myself and one blogging friend at a time throughout the year as the seasons change. I hope this inspires you to make new friends in the blogging community as well as create something you have been itching to try.

I have had a fascination with Couer a la Creme ever since I was in highschool dreaming of the dinner parties I would have when I had a place of my own. I thought my first attempt was to be from the Silver Palate Cookbook, a classic cookbook that not only began my culinary journey over 25 years ago but continues to challenge me. All these years later I have still not tried their version. Look for it in a future post. You could also check out a Couer a la Creme with Grand Marnier Raspberry Sauce I made previously from Ina Garten.

The Verdict: I have had the pleasure of making this special occasion dessert previously.  If left for a day or two extra more liquid will be extracted for a firmer product but it still does not have that young cheese consistency that you would tend to expect. A majority of the liquid is soaked up by the cheesecloth so what is left in the dish perhaps is not a good indicator. Ina's recipe creates a dessert with a firmer texture from what I remember. The flavour profile is different considering the fruits used this time around. I will continue to experiment with different flavours. This dessert will convince your special Valentine's that you've spent hours in the kitchen when in truth this is one of the easiest dishes to make ever!I will always keep a special place in my heart for coeur la creme!!! Thank you so much Valerie and Hana for inviting me along on the adventure. It was so much fun wasn't it!!! Valerie made two versions one with Cassis Raspberry Blackberry Hibiscus Flower Garnish and one with Sour Cherry Soup. Hana wowed us with Couer a la Creme with Strawberry Rose Sauce.

Our very own Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes started The Food Blog Diary some time ago. We are inundated with so many food blogs events on the Internet it is hard to keep track of everything that has passed our radar. If you have an event you would like to advertise or would like to find an event you would like to participate in check out her Food Blog Diary. She keeps an up-to-date listing of food events like this one, challenges and competitions out there in the blogosphere.

Have fun and make this "fooled you into thinking I am a kitchen goddess dessert" for your Valentine!!!! Find a friend today and cement your own friendships by joining us in the "Invite A Blogger to Your Table" initiative!!!


**Coeur a la Creme**
Recipe adapted from Epicurious and Bon Appétit

4 (10x10-inch) squares cheesecloth
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Rinse cheesecloth under water; squeeze until just damp. Line each of four 3- to 4-inch coeur à la crème molds with 1 square of cheesecloth. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, crème fraîche, 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in large bowl until smooth, about 4 minutes. Press through fine strainer; divide among molds. Fold cheesecloth over. Place molds in shallow baking dish; cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

To serve, fold back the cheesecloth corners and invert the coeur à la crème onto a serving platter; remove mold and cheesecloth. Arrange the strawberries and sauce around the rim of the plate.

**Caramelized Strawberries**
from Saveur

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I used honey)
1/2 cup red wine, preferably pinot noir or zinfandel
3 whole cloves
2 whole black peppercorns
1 2" cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
3 cups strawberries (about 1 1/2 pints), hulled and halved lengthwise

Make the strawberries: In a 12" skillet, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is light golden, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add wine, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and vanilla bean with seeds. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, occasionally stirring gently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Content must be credited to this author. Best Blogger Tips

21 comments:

  1. That is a great event. I didn't know Valérie's blog.

    That dessert is delightful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Your coeur a la creme is beautiful Val. So much more traditional than the one from the pastry chef.

    I was inspired to make this after seeing the recipe in Ina's book. I bought the heart shaped mold and forged ahead. I was a new blogger at the time and my plating and photography skills were almost nil. However, it tasted fabulous and my Valentine was very impressed as you've said he would be.

    Happy Valentine's Day.
    Sam

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  3. Looks fabulous! You and I were on the same track with the strawberries. I agree, no fruit says Valentines Day like strawberries. I really enjoyed this, and can't wait to try other versions of coeur a la creme. I havecome up with a few ideas (both sweet and savoury) and plan to get some good use out of those little moulds I bought :D.
    *kisses* HH

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  4. My comments are now turned on. How did that happen? Anyway... this is such an incredible event, Valerie! I am amazed that more didn't jump into the ring the first time we wrote about it. To anyone reading this comment: you need not wait for an invite, you can issue one. It really is fun to bake with a cyber friend and compare notes. It was very motivating to be on both counts. I would have done neither recipe without this friendly motivation and support, and for that, I am so grateful. I will definitely invite more bloggers to my table! That is what it is all about!
    Your caramelized strawberries look so delicious. That is a novel recipe - and the White House dish - well, if only I had seen it sooner! I would have bumped it up a notch (crocked wicked grin)
    Great fun, Valerie!
    Thank you ever so much, and HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to you!
    XO
    Valerie

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  5. Trust you Val to come up with another great event. I am amazed at how innovative you are!!

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  6. Is absolutely nice and adorable dear Valli, !! I have to be brave and ask top someone Do you want cook with me?? he,he I love this idea Valli, you are really smart. I will visit Valerie blog!! xx gloria

    Happy Valentine day, I will link your post on mine!

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  7. I've never made this dessert at home but I'm impressed by how easy it is to put together and how beautiful it looks on the plate. Using an egg plate is a great idea, Val. Your caramelized strawberries are the perfect garnish.

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  8. I'm always amazed by you! So creative and prolific - I'm so jealous. And this dessert is just beautiful, too.

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  9. Coeur a la creme is one if those dishes that I definitely want to make sometime

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  10. An absolutely stunning dessert, Val, and one I've been dreaming about ever since I first saw it in the pages of Victoria about twenty years ago. :-) I cannot wait to try it now!!!

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  11. Love those strawberries. I could see them on a nice flourless chocolate cake as well as on this lovely couer a la creme.

    It does seem like strawberry season is too far away. But winter is half over. We'll be berry picking soon enough.

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  12. Val, the detail on the "creme" with the kiwi is inspired...bravo!

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  13. I have just published a post on a heart-shaped cheese: it must be that time of the year. I have never caramelized strawberries: it's an interesting concept. The combo dish looks very elegant. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  14. I love the idea of bloggers reaching out to other bloggers and cooking together across nations. The perfect symbol of unity for V-Day! THe coeur de la creme looks beautiful!

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  15. what a great idea to share the love with another blogger. This is a dessert that's long been on my radar list, but I still haven't made it,

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  16. Very excited to see this post, I've loved Valerie's & HH's version, its a gorgeous dessert & I can't wait to make it. Love the stained glass icing work on the last pic, stunning huh.

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  17. I love A Canadian Foodie! I also love how drop-dead sexy this dessert looks. Swoon.

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  18. aw, val, what a wonderful valentine's day treat! i only wish that strawberries were more in season so they might have a little more flavor right now. caramelizing them is a great idea!

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  19. This looks so delicious Val! I love all the flavors!

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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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