Though coeur à la crème (cream heart) has long been a part of the classical French repertoire; it is far from being haute dessert like most French desserts. It is so simple to make that it debunks the myth that French desserts are, without exception, complex and difficult. How simple? One can make this dessert in less than 30 minutes (chill time not included)!!
As I learnt, traditionally, this dessert is made from unsweetened soft white cheese set into porcelain heart-shaped molds with perforated bases for the whey to drain and firm up overnight. They are then unmolded and served with cream poured all over and with a generous amount of sugar sprinkled all over.
My version of this much loved classic French dessert is an adoption of Christine Manfield’s version found in this book. She made hers using a combination of mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and yogurt instead of the traditional unsweetened soft white cheese. She stated that this combination has a more complex, sharp and interesting flavor than the traditional version. Btw, she used homemade mascarpone in this recipe but of course, you can substitute with the store brought kind. If you are not in favor of her combination, try replacing the mascarpone with cottage cheese, ricotta, or crème fraîche and it may yield a different and intrigue texture and flavor. I have never had this dessert before so I don’t know how it suppose to taste like but I am leaning more to CM, where she served them with fresh berries and fruit sauce instead of the traditional way.
The dessert was just as delicious as CM promised. It has an extremely smooth and airy texture and the sweet-tangy sauces works in heady harmony with this creamy dessert and helped on cutting down on the creaminess giving it a perfect balance. It is absolutely scrumptious!
I hope that you’ll give this a try. Please don’t be put off from making this sophisticated tasting dessert if only because you can’t find these traditional porcelain molds. You can make this dessert with any mold, as long as it has draining ability. If you have none of such molds then just simply wrap the cream mixture in muslin, making them a more free form affair. As for me, I got these traditional porcelain molds from sur la table just in case you’re interested =)
Vanilla Mascarpone Cream Heart with Edible Flowers and Fruit Sauces – makes 6
150g vanilla mascarpone
100g cream cheese
125g caster sugar
250ml heavy whipping cream
125g plain yogurt
Some edible flowers such as pansies and nasturtiums
Some raspberry sauce
Some mango sauce
Some roasted pistachio, coarsely chopped
Blend the vanilla mascarpone, cream cheese, and caster sugar in a food processor until smooth; occasionally scrape the side of the bowls to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed, about 3 minutes. Add the plain yogurt and cream and blend until incorporated.
Line 6 porcelain heart-shaped molds with perforated base with a layer of wet muslin, press the muslin onto the walls then arrange 1 to 2 edible flowers in each mold. Spoon the cream mixture into the molds until full and even; lightly tap them on the counter to release air bubbles. Place a wire rack inside a sheet pan then place all the molds on the rack and cover with plastic food wrap then let set in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.
Lift the cream heart out of the molds by lifting on the muslin, invert them onto the center of the serving plates then carefully remove the muslin. Spoon some fruit sauce onto the plates, sprinkle some toasted pistachio if you fancy and serve immediately.
Vanilla Mascarpone – makes 700g
If you want to make plain mascarpone, simply just omit the use of vanilla bean.
1000ml whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1tsp scant citric acid or strained fresh lemon juice
Zest and juice the limes. Bring the zest, cream and vanilla bean to a vigorous boil over medium heat; continue to boil until the cream separated, about 5 minute, add the lime juice and citric acid or lemon juice and bring it back to a boil. Let cream mixture simmer for a minute then remove from heat.
Line a mesh sieve with a piece of muslin then pour the hot cream through the sieve into a bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and leave the cream to set; about 5 hours.
Position a mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of muslin over a large bowl. Remove the set cream from the refrigerator and pour it into the sieve. Cover the sieve and bowl with plastic food wrap, put it back into the refrigerator to let drain allowing the whey to separate from the curd for 24 hours.
Discard the whey and scoop the curd into an airtight container and let refrigerate until ready to use. The mascarpone will keep for a week.
Raspberry or Mango Sauce - makes 300ml
500g raspberries or mangoes
100ml sugar syrup
25ml strained fresh lemon juice
Make the sugar syrup: bring equal amounts of sugar and water to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool before use.
Puree the raspberries or mangoes, with the sugar syrup and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pass the puree through a fine-meshed sieve and discard the solids.
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days before the puree separates from the syrup.
在這個被譽為世界甜點之都﹐於美食甜點文化上足以傲視群倫的法國，甜點的複雜鋪陳度﹑精緻度、多樣化、與細膩考究程度都是眾所週知的事實﹐可這道易操作卻美味無比的coeur à la crème甜點卻破解了以上所陳列的種種。比起那些需時1-2天製作的點心﹐這可以在30分鐘內就可完成的甜點是那麼的讓人驚訝及在意料外的事。
據說這道點心的正宗傳統做法是將一種軟的原味白乳酪用心形陶瓷模具盛著﹐靜置隔去多餘的水份凝固定型﹐再淋上鮮奶油加砂糖一起食用﹐簡單的享受新鮮的滋味。雖然很想嘗試這個簡單的做法﹐可我偏向較精緻的Christine Manfield’s版本。她起用的材料比較多元﹐味道上有別於正宗的風味。以馬斯卡朋﹑奶油乳酪﹑和原味優格的組合來取代原味白乳酪﹐據她說味道更豐富多元富層次﹐質地更細緻軟滑。不得不說她用自製的馬斯卡朋﹐相對的讓這道甜點更富挑戰性﹐當然市售的馬斯卡朋也可以。如果以上的組合不是你的那杯茶﹐可以嘗試用以下的軟白乳酪像美國的cottage cheese(農村乳酪?﹗)﹑ 意大利的瑞可達乳酪﹑又或是法國酸奶油乳酪crème fraîche等﹐我想味道也是值得期待的。因為從未吃過這道甜點﹐所以無法比較它的味道口感但我偏向CM提議的享用法﹐就是捨棄濃郁的鮮奶油加砂糖取佐解膩的酸味較重的新鮮漿果與果醬。
法式香草軟乳酪心佐雙色果醬 – 6人份量
適量 烤開心果仁, 切碎
關於這個底部穿孔的心形陶瓷模具: 若你人在北美﹐這模具在sur la table有售。就算沒有做這道點心的模具也沒關係﹐任何一種有洞可去水份的模具和容器也行﹐就算沒有也可簡單的用紗布裹著。
香草馬斯卡朋 – 約700g
覆盆子﹑芒果果醬 – 約300ml