Loretta's Coeur a la Creme

This is the Coeur a la Creme served at our wedding, our sons' Christenings and First Communion receptions, and on a countless number of other occasions shared with friends and family that called for "something special from the heart"čthe kind we hope your life is filled with.

cheesecloth
4 ounces fresh Philadelphia cream cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese (or substitute fresh creamy cottage cheese)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla cognac)
Scant 1/2 cup sugar

Line a 3-cup (heart-shaped) Coeur a la Creme mold with a double layer of cheesecloth that has been soaked in cold water and then wrung out. Be sure that cheesecloth extends over the sides of the mold. Place in refrigerator.

Whip cream cheese until light and airy; slowly add scant 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Before adding ricotta cheese, drain off any excess liquid or whey in the ricotta. Whip in the ricotta cheese. Slit the vanilla bean, lengthwise, and scrape seeds into cheese mixture. Mix well.

In a chilled metal bowl, beat cream until firm slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Lightly fold sweetened cream into cheese mixture and combine well.*

Spoon mixture into cloth-lined mold, bringing cheesecloth over top. Set mold, right side up, on a cake rack over shallow pan; refrigerate and let the Coeur a la Creme drain overnight or at least for seven or eight hours.

Moments before serving, unmold onto a silver or crystal platter, tray, or cakeplate. To unmold, fold back the cheesecloth and invert on the platter. (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 a Della Robbia wreath of mandarin orange segments, small grape clusters, almonds, and rose geranium leaves or surround with fresh strawberries. We usually make a little flower with the almonds and fruits on the heart or place a tiny bouquet of herbs and flowers used for the occasion. We have also used silver dragees to form the initials of a child being christened.

A sauce of brandy or Grand Marnier and preserves heated through is good with this. Or cook down the syrup from the oranges with liqueur of your choice. No sauce is really necessary though. If you do serve a sauce, put the sauce in a small cream pitcher near the serving platter so that guests can add it if they choose.

  • Tips: If you are using a food processor (as we usually do), the beaker must be spotless to whip the heavy cream. Either whip the cream first and set aside in a bowl while you are working with the cheeses or use two beakers if you have them. Do not combine the whipped cream and the cheese mixture with the processor--this step must be done gently by hand.



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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.