Dessert,  Valentine's Day

Strawberry Coeur a la Creme

Food and love are meant to be shared.  And if you are a passionate person like me, you take them both very seriously!

With family and friends, I openly share my home, my food, my love.  But in intimate settings sharing food becomes more of a sensual dining experience.   Candlelight, soft music.. how romantic sharing a meal that you have prepped ahead or plan to make together!  And as the evening wraps up, the most luxurious, creamy dessert is presented, in the shape of a heart, made with love.

Even if your plans are for dining out, offering a sweet ending at home, two spoons and a kiss….simple pleasures, that’s what I love.

I realize now that I’ve tempted and teased you into desiring this dessert; you would need to have a special mold to make this.

But trust me this will not become another kitchen gadget to pack away in your cupboard especially in warmer months as this make-ahead, no-bake dessert served with fresh fruit can literally be whipped together in minutes! Just a few ingredients, cream cheese and whipping cream, create a melt in your mouth excitement, similar to a cheesecake, but lighter, and infused with lemon and vanilla, the taste is heavenly and the aroma of vanilla…well, it has been known to be a powerful temptation to men 🙂

Strawberry Coeur a la Crème

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Strawberry Sauce, recipe below

Place the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

Line a 7-inch heart mold with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate with a pool of strawberry sauce on the bottom and spooned on top. Serve at once.  Serves 6-8.

Strawberry Sauce:

2 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup strawberry jam

2 tablespoons Chambord liquor

Place strawberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes.  Stir in the jam and liquor.  Leave as is for a chunky sauce as shown in my photo or pour the cooked strawberries, the jam, and liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

 

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.

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