Country Inn Coeur a la Creme

Cheesecakes have long been popular in America's cosmopolitan regions, and, happily, several of the old favorites are available in the market (bless you, Sara Lee). One that is currently in vogue is the fresh, simple, French classic, Coeur a la Creme, which has long been a favorite of ours--we made it for our wedding breakfast among other happy occasions. Coeur a la Creme is equally delightful for a romantic breakfast for two served with fresh strawberries and croissants or as a company-special dessert surrounded with a garland of berries, mandarin orange sections, green grapes, and almonds.

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
4 ounces whipped cream cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained of excess fluid
Scant l/2 cup sugar
l/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh berries

Line a Coeur a la Creme mold (or a colander or a disposable foil cake pan punched with holes at l-inch intervals) with a double layer of cheesecloth that has been dipped in cold water and wrung out. If you are using a perforated cake pan as a mold, be sure that the cheesecloth extends over the sides. Stir the sugar and the vanilla into the sour cream in a medium-size bowl (at least 6-cup). Fold in the ricotta and whip until fairly smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream cheese until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined mold or colander and fold the cheesecloth over the top. Set the mold on a plate or shallow bowl and refrigerate. Let the Coeur a la Creme drain for at least several hours.

To unmold, fold back the cheesecloth and invert on a plate. (If you want to be traditional but aren't using a heart-shaped mold, you can shape the dessert at this point into a heart with your hands.) Carefully peel off cheesecloth. Surround the Coeur a la Creme with fresh strawberries or raspberries and serve.

Notes: If you like a smoother Coeur a la Creme and have an electric mixer, beat the ricotta until smooth before folding with the other ingredients.

Substitutions work fairly well in this recipe because no cooking is going on. We've tried sour cream substitutes, Neufchatel cheese, and lowfat ricotta cheese. But don't use a sugar substitute--go a little lighter on the sugar if necessary. The flavorings can be varied, of course: Amaretto, almond extract, Grand Marnier...

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This recipe is copyright ©1985, 1999 William and Loretta Marshall.
Questions and comments can be sent here.
Page last updated 5/15/99.