Coeurs à la Crème with Strawberry Sauce

Serves

For a dramatic, chic, and unusual dessert, try your hand at this variation on a French classic. Heart-shaped porcelain molds are a prerequisite, but despite the initial investment, you'll have these for a lifetime. That said, the recipe will work in 4-ounce ramekins, but of course you'll no longer have heart-shaped ("coeur") desserts! Either way, the flavor is subtle, the texture sublime, and the fresh strawberry sauce adds a jewel-like brilliance to the presentation.


Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (divided)
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar (sifted)
3 ounces white chocolate (melted)
1 pint organic strawberries
2 tablespoons fraise eau-de-vie or strawberry liqueur
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  sugar to taste
8 mint leaves (as garnish)


Directions

Line eight 4-ounce heart-shaped molds (or 4-ounce round ramekins) with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth, allowing the edges of the cheesecloth to extend beyond the sides of the molds. You need enough excess cloth to totally enclose the filling.

Beat the cream cheese with 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the confectioner's sugar until fluffy. Add the melted white chocolate and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream until stiff, then fold it into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon 1/2 cup of filling into each mold, smoothing the surface, and then fold the cheesecloth over the top to cover the filling. Refrigerate the molds on a baking tray overnight.

Reserve 8 perfect strawberries for garnish, and purée the remainder in a blender. Strain the purée through a sieve, then add the eau-de-vie and lemon juice. Taste and add sugar to desired sweetness.

Starting just below the stem end, make 4 or 5 thin cuts down the length of each reserved berry, taking care not to detach any of the slices from the stem. Gently squeeze the strawberries to fan the cut sections decoratively.

To serve, spread a pool of berry sauce on each 8 chilled dessert plates. Carefully unmold the coeurs, removing the cheesecloth. Center the desserts on each plate and garnish with a fanned strawberry and mint leaf.

 

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