A Piece of Your Heart

Recipe and photos by Brandon Matzek

Nothing says "I love you" more than a home-cooked meal, so I try to impress my significant other with a new Valentine's Day menu each year. This year, I'll be serving Meyer Lemon Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce for dessert.

Light and silky, this Coeur à la Crème is flavored with lemon and vanilla. French for "heart with cream," Coeur à la Crème is like a cheesecake without a crust. The dish is finished with a sweet-tart raspberry sauce spiked with St. Germain elderflower liqueur.

This dessert is simple, yet elegant, and can be prepared a day in advance. You will need some special equipment to make Coeur à la Crème, including Coeur à la Crème molds and cheesecloth. I purchased both of these on Amazon.

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Meyer Lemon Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Sauce

Ingredients

For the Coeur à la Crème:
8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature (this is important)
1 cup sour cream
4 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Special equipment needed: four 4-inch Coeur à la Crème molds, four 9-by-9-inch squares of cheesecloth, stand mixer or hand mixer, fine mesh strainer

For the raspberry sauce:
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. Meyer lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 - 2 tsps. St. Germain (optional)
Special equipment needed: blender, fine mesh strainer

Process

To make the Coeur à la Crème:

Be prepared. Rinse each square of cheesecloth under cold water, and then squeeze until just damp. Line each Coeur à la Crème mold with 1 square of cheesecloth.

Beat and mold. Add cream cheese, sour cream, confectioners' sugar, Meyer lemon zest and juice, vanilla and salt to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (you can use a hand mixer here, too). Beat on medium until smooth (about 4 minutes). Using a spatula, press cream cheese mixture through fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl, then divide among prepared molds. Fold cheesecloth over top to cover any exposed mixture.

Chill out. Place filled molds in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 5 hours and up to 1 day.

To make the raspberry sauce:

Simmer and strain. Add raspberries, water, sugar and Meyer lemon juice to medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, and then cook until berries are soft (4 to 5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor and purée, scraping down sides if needed. Pour through a fine meshed strainer into a clean bowl. Stir-in St. Germain and additional Meyer lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate sauce, covered, for up to 3 days.

To serve:

Plate up. Peel away cheesecloth covering molds, and then turn over each mold onto a small plate. Carefully lift mold to release Coeur à la Crème, and remove the cheesecloth. Finish by pouring raspberry sauce around Coeur à la Crème.

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