The classic, decadent soft cheese dessert. Eat it, and fall in love!
Servings: 2 4-inch wide heartsPrep Time: 30 minutes, not counting chill time
1 cup (8 ounces) fromagina or fromage blanc 1 tablespoon granulated sugar* 1 tablespoon heavy cream 2 egg whites, beaten until stiff
Note: Coeur a la Creme traditionally includes the use of raw egg whites, which is a concern for many people today. According to the American Egg Board, egg whites do not readily support bacterial growth (as yolks do). However, to be safe, you can cook the whites with sugar, beating over hot water or on low heat until soft peaks form. (Without sugar, the whites will coagulate too fast. The recommendation is two tablespoons sugar per egg white.) Check the temperature as you beat the whites–they must either slow-pasteurize at 145 degrees for 30 minutes (a bit long for beating, but humidity is not a meringue’s best friend, so the double-boiler method does take some time) or fast-pasteurize at 165 for 30 seconds. If you’re not comfortable with home pasteurization, you may also use either liquid or powdered pasteurized egg white products, or buy pasteurized eggs.
*If you pasteurize your egg whites with sugar as outlined in the note above, you will be adding 4 tablespoons of sugar to the whites in the beating process instead of 1 tablespoon as per the recipe. (It’s okay. I did it this way. Tasted delicious and not too sweet at all.) If using liquid or powdered pasteurized egg white products or pasteurized eggs, simply follow the recipe as directed.
Combine the cheese, sugar (if not beating sugar with the whites), and cream. Fold in the egg whites. Spoon into individual, lined heart-shaped molds, placed in a pan or on a baking sheet. The instructions call for butter muslin. I used disposable cheesecloth. Chill in the refrigerator for 6-10 hours before serving.
To unmold, invert each mold on a serving dish. Lift away the mold. Gently remove the lining. If you need to, you can smooth the heart lightly with a butter knife to make it look a little bit more perfect.
Serve chilled! (Or frozen. I’ve also tried this frozen–it freezes well and is a very rich, delicious dessert treat in hot weather.) Add fresh berries or other fruit. Drizzle chocolate sauce or a fruit syrup. Sprinkle grated chocolate or nuts. Anything you want. It’s very similar to an individual cheesecake. Only richer.
You can also make a Coeur a la Creme savory by adding coarse ground black pepper or garlic to the mixture and topping with a pepper relish, some chutney, or finely chopped vegetables–and serve it with crackers.
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