16 September 2011

Coeur a la Creme with Blackberries and Poppy Seed Framboise Dressing

Coeur a la Creme with Blackberries
and Poppy Seed Framboise Dressing

When I first started learning to cook in my home kitchen, one of the initial things I discovered was that the key to outstanding meals was using good quality ingredients. As time passed I realized that this meant either growing or purchasing the best local ingredients available which with today's trends has become easier and easier with a resurgence of farmers markets, specialty food shops and local producers.

What has taken me years to understand is that recipes are merely guidelines and are open to any interpretation. I used to follow recipes to the letter and they always turned out well, but as the years progressed, and I have become confident in the kitchen, I am more open to experimentation and substitution. A good example would be this Coeur a la Creme that I discovered a lifetime ago from the Silver Palate series of cookbooks. Even as a teenager I collected recipes like hockey cards and had a burgeoning cookbook collection.

Back in 1982, two women who changed the way we thought about home cooking, Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, put together a cookbook filled with recipes from their gourmet catering business in New York, City, “The Silver Palate" where they introduced Americans to the bold, strong flavours of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. The two went into business as the Silver Palate in the summer of 1977, with Lukins as the cook, carting food over from her apartment several times a day to the then kitchenless store, and Rosso as the marketer and front-woman.

Back in the day their cookbooks were my culinary bibles with their revolutionary approach and early trendsetting. This was the age of nouvelle cuisine when shallots, button mushrooms and flat-leaf parsley were hard to find. It got people thinking about what they were doing at home with food and how to recreate restaurant quality dishes in our own kitchens.The book’s big, sophisticated flavours were produced from accessible ingredients and modest cooking skills, not from French techniques or canned cream soups.

My original Silver Palate cookbook remains in the kitchen cupboard, splattered with food stains and filled with memories. As I flip through it, I marvel at all the dishes I have prepared and all the recipes that have landed in my prized, best-of-the-best personal collection. When I open it up, it talks to me!!! I can hear laughter and animated conversations from wedding showers, wedding receptions, graduations and L'il Burnt Toast's recitals where many dishes from their pages shone. Recipes like Linguine with Tomatoes and Basil. Chicken Marbella and Butterflied Leg of Lamb are still welcome additions to any get together. The series inspired me to become a better cook and to continue a life long love affair with cookbooks.

Sheila Lukins had graduated from New York University in 1970, moved to London with her husband, Richard Lukins,  and took classes at the Cordon Bleu cooking school. They moved to New York with their 2 children and that's when she began The Other Woman Catering Company, which supplied meals predominantly to single men. Her motto was, "So discreet, so delicious and I deliver." Lukins met Rosso in 1976 when Julee hired her to cater a press breakfast. A month later they became partners in the legendary Silver Palate gourmet shop.

When Julia Child retired as food editor and columnist for Parade, which was a Sunday supplement enclosed with 400 American newspapers with a readership of 83 million, Sheila Lukins succeeded her, and continued in the role for 32 years. In 1991, she suffered a near-fatal cerebral hemorrhage which paralysed most of her left side, but she continued to work. She was diagnosed with brain cancer three months before her death and the world lost a game changer.

Julie Rosso and her husband Bill have owned the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan for over 20 years where they are serious about celebrating local food. Julee says, "My husband Bill and I learned long ago that one of the keys to life is to follow your passions and call it work. I think that my career in the food world has brought an added dimension to Wickwood. I simply want to share my love of good food and wine and make it a part of our guests everyday experience. It's been a joy to me for over thirty years to hear a cooks enjoyment of my cookbooks and how various recipes have become their family traditions. It's my continued delight to satisfy my insatiable curiosity and create new recipes and to share them with our guests at Wickwood." Julee conducts cooking classes and lectures at numerous universities and symposiums throughout the United States.

One of my favourite well-travelled bloggers Mary of One Perfect Bite invited bloggers to travel along on a culinary journey throughout the year. Gourmet Live brought out a list of the 50 most influential women in food...Fifty women game changers. Some are chefs, some are food writers, and some are women who are passionate about the creative process. You could certainly add or detract women from this list, but no matter what these women have all influenced us in one way or another. Being a woman and passionate about food myself I wanted to explore and join Mary on this journey and not only learn from the masters but recreate some of their dishes to better understand what has shaped and molded them into who they are today. In doing so I have learned more about myself, and have learned more than a few new recipes and techniques.

For 50 weeks we will experiment with dishes from each of the 50 influential women on "the list". Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty and their order it will be an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters. Follow us on this journey while we take an in depth exploration of these women's lives and what has made them who they are. My cohorts for this adventure can be found below. If you would like to join in  please contact Mary. This is an informal event and you have the flexibility to follow along when you can. We will be posting every Friday.

What have we been up to for the 14th Game Changer......

Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Coeur a la Creme with Blackberries and Poppy Seed Framboise Dressing
Joanne of Eats Well With Others  - Honey Curry Bread
Susan of The Spice Garden  -Duck with Fourty Cloves of Garlic
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed  - Stuffed Zucchini
Heather of Girlichef  - Salad Nicoise
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Rhubarb Bread and Pineapple Granita
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living  - Pasta Puttanesca
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud - Tea Sandwiches
Sue of View from The Great Island - Apple Cake
Linda of There and Back Again - Bishop’s Cake
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Seafood and Pasta Salad
Martha of Lines from Linderhof - The Silver Palate Carrot Cake

Back to the Future....

Over four years of blogging I have found many wonderful recipes to share on these pages. Some from my own kitchen, some from your creative blogs and web sites, and some from well known celebrities and chefs. I have been feeling a little nostalgic and was browsing these very pages just the other day, creeping back to the very beginning in 2006 when More Than Burnt Toast was in it's infancy and no more than "knee high to a grasshopper". We all have those stellar recipes from when we first started when we were lucky enough to find one comment and have maybe one reader; in my case even before I was taking photos of the dishes I prepared. My other motivation for reconnecting with the past is to create uniform formatting on this blog and this is a fun way for me to revisit past posts.

So here are a couple of flashback recipes from the very first baby steps here at MTBT with...

Coeur a la creme, a delectable way to say I love you, but not too sweet because it is made with the addition of chevre cheese and a bit of heavy cream.  I have wanted to make this particular version of a coeur a la creme since I first added the The Silver Palate cookbooks in my hands many years ago. Sheila Lukins recreated  it on one of these morning shows back in the day
You can use your choice of fruit. The meaty, earthy flavoured blackberries I had just picked worked beautifully to balance this dish. One word of warning use plenty of sauce for each serving. The recipe makes 2 cups! It is a blend of sweet and savoury and marries the whole dish together.The kidlet did not care for the additon of the shallots in the dressing, but I will leave that up to you.  It has taken over 25 years to bring this couer a la creme into my kitchen and it has been worth the wait!

**Coeur a la Creme with Blackberries and Poppy Seed Framboise Dressing**

8 oz farmers cheese
12 oz cream cheese, preferably without vegetable gum
3 tablepoons crumbled Montrachet or other soft mild chevre cheese
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
Assorted seasonal fruits of your choice (melon balls, whole strawberries, sliced bananas, orange segments, grapes, berries, sliced kiwis, blackberries)
Poppy Seed-Framboise Dressing (recipe follows)

1. At least one day before serving, process the cheeses in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and poppy seeds and process until smooth. Add the cream and process until thoroughly incorporated.

Line a china coeur a la creme mold with a double thickness of slightly dampened cheesecloth. Fill the mold with the cheese mixture and place the mold on a plate or in a shallow bowl to catch the drippings. Refrigerate the mold until the cheese is firmly set, 24 - 48 hours.

Make the dressing.

Unmold the coeur a la creme on a large serving platter and arrange the fresh fruits around it. Pass the dressing.

Makes 8-inch heart

**Poppy Seed-Framboise Dressing**

3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey mustard
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper. to taste
3 tablespoons framboise liqueur
3 tablespoons Creme Fraiche

Whisk the vinegar, mustard,and wine together in a small mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, poppy seeds, and shallots, and stir to mix. Stir in the sugar. Gradually whisk in the oils and season to taste with salt and pepper. Finally add the liqueur and creme fraiche and stir until smooth. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Makes 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 and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. That is one delightful dessert! Everything about it is fabulous.



  2. Val, I made this a couple of years ago, but the recipe called for mostly cream cheese, so it tasted more like a cheesecake...which is not my cup of tea. But I've printed your recipe and I'm going to give it a try. I like that it has other cheeses to tone down the cream cheese flavor. And I love the addition of the dressing!

    Thanks, Terri

  3. I've never made Coeur a la Creme, and I have some just-picked blackberries sitting around with nothing to do...looks delicious!

  4. Deaer Vall! I love all you put in this recipe, and especially your blackberries, are beautiful!! a beautiful dessert, have a nice weekend! gloria

  5. Val, You always do such an incredibly great write-up for these posts! My comliments! This cheese dish is just so elegant and is truly an 'over-the-top' tribute to Rosso and Lukins. So beautiful!

  6. The cooking scene in their day was quite the burgeoning one, no?

  7. I think that Coeur a la Creme is such a beautiful dish and I love the way it rolls off my tongue. YET, I've never made or even eaten it!? This recipe sounds fabulous and the dressing...mmmm. This may be the one I bring into the kitchen with me, Val =)

  8. I have been following Mary @ One Perfect Bite for a while now. Today I decided to spend time to see what the other blogs had to say about the Gourmet women game changers. I particularly like how you list what every one else has chosen to represent them. Now I need to spend more time at your blog. Thank you.

  9. I've never had Coeur a la Creme before, but it looks like a beautiful dish to honor these two ladies by.

  10. What beautiful hearts these are. Wonderful ingredients too - how special!

  11. What a beautiful, special dessert this is. How delicious with those gorgeous blackberries too.

  12. I'm so glad I was introduced to these ladies because I've loved everything I've seen from them! I need those cookbooks!

    This coeur a la creme looks amazing...definitely the kind of thing I want to dig a spoon into.

  13. What a delicious looking dish and a well researched post! I learned so much about these two women from reading what you wrote. I'm delighted to learn about the Michigan connection! I'll definitely have to check that out the next time I'm hoem!

  14. what a beautiful dish! i love this.. i have never heard of coeur a la creme before... wow!!

  15. Not only beautiful but I know it is tasty! Looks like an amazing dessert.

  16. This looks like such an elegant dessert. Have a nice weekend!

  17. What a lovely Coeur a la Creme, Val. So pretty to see it with blackberries. (Don't the British call those brambleberries?) And such an unusual dressing for the topping. I'm used to making the boring raspberry topping. Great recipe and you always do such a thorough job researching our "game changers".

  18. I also have never had Coeur a la Creme before but I've always loved the look of them when I see them like this. How lovely and delicious it must be with those beautiful berries and poppy seed dressing.

  19. What a lovely coeur Val. It reminds me to use my coeur dish more often.

    I adore the Silver Palate cookbook. It's like reading a novel it's so full of great information and stories and recipes. Chicken Marbella is one of our all time favorites in the book.

  20. What an interesting post, Val. I tend to stick to most recipes, as written. Sometimes, I'll make "safe" changes. I think it's because I've seen so many people diss a recipe, but when you read all the changes they've made, it's not anywhere close to how it was written. On the other hand, kudos to you for adapting recipes. I've made a traditional Coeur a la Creme with a raspberry coulis sauce, and I love it. I saw a savory version in one of Ina's cookbooks, and have contemplated trying it. I'm struggling to like goat cheese, though-- I feel like I'm missing out on a "gourmet" component. So far, I haven't overcome the strong flavor not agreeing with my taste buds. But, I forge on. I'd bet I'd like this recipe. It sounds lovely.

  21. I've never had Coeur a la Creme before - Val you've done a great job as always - it looks delicious!

  22. I know what you mean about the Silver Palate series - they changed the way that I looked at food as well. It was the start of a long journey to more seasonal, fresh ingredients.

  23. It looks wonderful and so gourmet!

  24. I absolutely agree that recipes are open to interpretation, well, that is except for baking ones which require more precision. But when it comes to cooking, I love to experiment.

  25. I love your cookbook memories! I wish mine talked to me when I opened them. As for the dish, beautiful! Thank you for bringing these ladies and the Silver Palate to a personal level for me.

  26. Fabulous looking poppy seed framboise dressing. THat is exactly the kind of thing that I would put on EVERYTHING. The kidlet may not have been into the addition of shallots, but I think it looks divine!

  27. Awesome. Poppy seeds have been under-used since spinach salad with poppy seed dressing in the 70's - 80's.

    Julee was a sister in Alpha Phi.

  28. i love the poppy seed component of this! love treat, val. :)

  29. I have served this at dinner parties I have catered and it's always got great revies....must try your version.


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