|Coeur a la Creme with Spiced Coronation Grape Coulis in Port|
When I go shopping for groceries I have learned over the years to shop only for a few days at a time. Despite the best of intentions most often my grand plans fall by the wayside and food is wasted. I find that if I shop for 3 days or even shop the European way and buy only what is needed for that evenings meal, there will be less waste and my trash bags will be lighter. There are a myriad of excuses but the most common are "I am too tired too cook", "I am missing a key ingredient", or "something else came up and I ran out of time."
Even with this philosophy I still find that waste is inevitable. Take for example this recipe. Where is the mint for the garnish? Well it became compost since it took several days to get to the point of preparing, photographing and writing about this decadent and yet simple dessert. I have been to countless writing workshops, and photography workshops over the years and one thing they always engrave on our souls is to photograph and cook with the freshest of ingredients to present a dish like the pros.
This is all well and good in theory but this is real life...my life. By the time I get home from work, make dinner, and am satisfied a recipe is something I can share on my blog (quality control you know), I usually just slap my food on the plate, take a few consolatory photos, and dig in before it gets too cold. For this particular dish I had to wait a day for the cream cheese to become room temperature, wait a day for the Coeur a la Creme to set up in the fridge, prepare the coulis in the morning before I headed to work and then in the evening take the photos before the sun sets. The microwave is my friend for reheating food on many occasion. With fewer day light hours this becomes even more of challenge. This may sound bizarre but this is the usual process for any post here at MTBT. I often get asked the question how I have time to blog when I work 6 days a week and still have a life. Well now you know. Otherwise these pages would be empty and I'd be writing about popcorn and stuffed apples. I may also become friends with my crock pot this winter! Anything is possible!
Well you know the demise of the mint. Would that stop me from sharing this luscious dessert with you? Well no, I just had to, just minus the refreshing green mint for colour and appeal. A Coeur a la Creme is a mousse-like dessert made with cream, cream cheese, and in this case, mascarpone, chilled and served with a berry puree, or whatever your heart desires. It is everything it has been described...creamy, soft, simultaneously airy and substantial. If I haven't bored you to tears already, let's begin.
The fall grape harvest is in the air. We had a late harvest due to a late start to the growing season. Usually winemakers are harvesting their grapes right in the middle of the wine festival here in the Okanagan. But these wonderfully aromatic violet-blue Coronation grapes are market ready both here in the Okanagan Valley as well as in the Niagara region of Ontario.
They might have a fancy sounding name, but Sovereign Coronation grapes are now the most commonly planted variety of seedless table grapes in southern Ontario and British Columbia. A descendant of the deep-blue Concord, these blueberry sized grapes have their ancestor's characteristic sweet-and-sour taste that bursts in the mouth. Virtually seedless with a deep, vibrant purple colour, these are not your average table grapes!! I happen to always have some ready to go in my freezer, but I am sure you could find a substitute in your area, perhaps Zinfandel, Cornith, or Cabernet grapes. Since they are the size of blueberries you might even consider using blueberries in this coulis. The flavour was earthy and a perfect pairing with the not too sweet coeur.
Coeur means "heart," in French. It’s traditionally made in a heart-shaped mold, but you could use just about anything. One large (16-ounce) or four individual (4-ounce) perforated heart-shaped ceramic molds lined with cheesecloth would be needed to create this dessert. The perforated molds allow the excess liquid, or whey, to drip through the cheesecloth, leaving the delicious "heart" of the cream. Coeur à la crème molds are usually available at kitchen supply stores.
Truly the "heart of my heart." What's the occasion...well today is Wednesday.... "Hump Day". No special occasion required. And yes these were enjoyed after hastily photographing them on a overcast, rainy day, outside on the deck, in my light tent to create the appearance of more light. The life of a food blogger...I just love it!!!!
**Coeur a la Creme with Spiced Coronation Grape Coulis in Port**
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon Port
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
Spiced Coronation Grape Coulis in Port Sauce (recipe below)
fresh mint leaves
Cut a piece of cheesecloth into four 6-inch squares. Dampen and wring out lightly. Press one square into each of four perforated heart-shaped ceramic molds and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the cream, the vanilla, poppy seeds and the Port until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate.
In a small bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup cream and the confectioners' sugar until the cream forms stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the chilled cheese mixture in three batches. Spoon the finished mixture into the prepared molds and fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the tops. Lightly tap at the bottoms of the molds on the counter to remove and air spaces between the mixture and the molds. Refrigerate on a tray or baking sheet a minimum of 3 hours (or overnight).
Meanwhile make the coronation grape coulis sauce below.
Assemble and serve: Unfold the cheesecloth and drape it over the sides of the molds. Invert each mold onto a serving plate. While pressing down on the corners of the cheesecloth carefully lift off the mold. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon and remove the cheesecloth slowly. Spoon coronation grape sauce onto the plate around the heart and garnish with mint leaves.
**Spiced Coronation Grape Coulis In Port**
1 cup ruby port,
2 tablespoons sugar,
1 (1-inch) strip lemon rind,
1 star anise
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar,
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground, black pepper,
2 1/2 cups seedless Coronation grapes or other small sweet grape
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lemon rind and anise, discard. Add vinegar and pepper to wine mixture, cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in grapes.
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