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Coeur a la CremeEach forkful is heavenly! It’s easy to make Coeur à la Crème in a heart-shaped mold. Photo © copyright Peabody Rudd.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

STEPHANIE ZONIS focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.

 

 

February 2007
Last Updated February 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Recipe For Romance: Coeur à la Crème

Page 1: A Dessert Rich With Mascarpone

 

CAPSULE REPORT: The perfect cheese course for Valentine’s Day—or any romantic situation—is Coeur à la Crème. Of course, the luscious mascarpone creation (the same cheese used to make tiramisu) can be enjoyed any day of the year. This is Page 1 of a four-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

Overview: Coeur à la Crème

Coeur à la Crème translates from the French as “heart of the cream.” Traditionally associated with Valentine’s Day, it is most often served in a heart shape.

But what exactly is this dessert? It usually involves heavy cream, some sweetener, a little flavoring (which may be alcohol, lemon juice or both), perhaps an agent to color it pink (which may be Chambord or red food coloring), and a fresh, soft cheese. When not colored pink, it’s frequently served with a raspberry sauce. Beyond that, there seem to be as many recipes for it as there are cooks.

The origins of this dessert seem to have been lost in the mists of time, but it’s been around for centuries. Several sources refer to it as “classic” or “timeless,”  and it likely originated in France, most likely in an area with an abundance of dairy products. Like many early formulations, it could well have been a way to use up some extra cream in a cheese that was meant to be eaten fresh.

No one has an explanation for the usual heart shape of Coeur à la Crème: My suspicion is that it was not molded into a heart shape at first; this seems likely to have been a later addition, but the details are lost in time.

 

Coeur à la Crème Mold

The perforated molds in which the cheese is made allow the excess liquid, or whey, to drip through the cheesecloth, leaving the delicious “heart” of the cream (thus the name).

We can imagine that at some point in time, a creative milkmaid decided to mold the cheese in a heart shape—perhaps in celebration of something amorous (The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, “Parlement of Foules,” in 1382).

Of course, you can make this delicate cheese dessert in any shape mold.

 
Coeur a la Creme molds are available in 4" individual sizes and 7-1/4" sizes, perfect for two. Mold available from Amazon.com.

Continue To Page 2: Making Coeur à la Crème

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