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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Coeur A La Creme

 

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Coeur à la Crème is cream cheese and whipped cream #dessert with a fruit topping that’s traditionally made in the shape of a heart. I’d compare this dessert to being a French style cheesecake. Coeur à la Crème, by its name alone, seems as though it would be so hard to make, it turns out is easier than a traditional cheesecake.

I saw this dessert made by Ina Garten, who I love, and knew I had to recreate this dish, but in a style of my own. At the time, I didn’t have the correct mold.  Ina Garten made this dessert using a mesh sieve, so that’s what I used as well. Since then, I have bought a traditional Coeur à la Crème mold. Let me show you what one looks like.

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Let me walk you through how easy this dessert is to make.

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Vanilla Sugar Jar

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Equipment: Stand Mixer with whisk and paddle attachments, mesh sieve, heart-shaped mold, a large piece of cheesecloth, 1 large mixing bowl, 3-quart sauce pot, large serving platter

Ingredients:
12 ounces of softened cream cheese
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large piece of cheesecloth

Ingredients For Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries
1.2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup blueberry jam
1 sprig of fresh mint

Directions:
To start, add the softened cream to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Let that mix on low speed for a couple of minutes. Next, add in the confectioner sugar and cream that together until the sugar is incorporated. A good tip is to have the mixer on very low speed while mixing in the sugar, otherwise, the sugar will spray all over the place.

Next, it’s time to change to the whisk attachment before adding in all the flavorings. Add in the lemon zest, vanilla bean seeds, (tip: add the empty vanilla pod to your sugar container and you’ll have vanilla sugar for future recipes), pure vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream. Again, start the mixer on low speed, then crank it up to high. Whisk all the ingredients together until they have the consistency of whipped cream.

Using a mesh sieve or the traditional Coeur à la Crème mold lined with cheesecloth as seen in the above pictures, transfer the flavored whipped cream to the sieve. Make sure you have a large enough piece of cheesecloth ( you can purchase cheesecloth at you local grocery store) to cover the top of the flavored cream too.  Place the sieve with the covered flavored cream mixture inside a larger bowl to allow the excess liquid to drain, as seen in the pictures above. Transfer to the refrigerator and let set up for 24 hours. Discard the liquid.

Directions For Blueberry Sauce:
Add the blueberries to a sauce pot, reserving a good handful back for garnish.  water, sugar, and fresh lemon juice.  On medium heat, stirring all the ingredients together, watching until it comes to a bubble. Turn down to a simmer and let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the blueberries start to burst and the juice thickened slightly.   I remove about 1/4 cup of the semi-cooked blueberries, place them into a small bowl cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator along with the reserved fresh blueberries.

Add the cooked blueberries and blueberry jam to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. Place into a plastic container with lid and chill overnight in the refrigerator. That’s the blueberry sauce. The semi-cooked and fresh blueberries will give our sauce a variety of different textures.

The next day, remove the flavored cream from the frig.  Unfold the cheesecloth from the top of the mold. Place a large serving plate over the top and invert the whole dessert onto the plate. Carefully peel off the rest of the cheesecloth from the cream. You’ll have a white silky dome-shaped dessert with little specks of vanilla resting like a soft pillow on your serving plate.

Next, take the blueberry sauce, semi-cooked blueberries, and fresh blueberries out of the frig. If the sauce is too thick, add 1 maybe 2 tablespoons of very hot water to thin out the sauce, and stir well. Using a spoon, spoon the sauce over the top the dome-shaped cream and let the sauce fall down all over the sides. Spoon over the semi-cooked blueberries on the top of the sauce and let them fall all down the sides as well. Finally, take the fresh blueberries and sprinkle them all around the outside rim of the dessert. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

You could use whatever berries you like for the topping. Raspberries would be delicious.

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Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Sweet Ricotta Cream

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This Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Sweet Ricotta Cream is a dessert that anyone can make from scratch without feeling intimidated by the process.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes (mixing batter)
Cook Time 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes
Inactive Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time:  2 hours 15 minutes
Equipment: two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2- inch loaf pans
Electric mixer

Ingredients:
Non-stick baking spray
4 tablespoons of Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8-ounce cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups of sifted cake flour (measured after sifted)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of Ricotta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup powdered sugar
fresh mint for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F.
Spray two non-stick metal loaf pans with non- stick spray. Sprinkle the insides of the pans with the Turbinado sugar, tilting the pans to cover evenly.

Place the butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure ingredients are well mixed. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl before adding the next egg. Mix in the vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.

Combine the cake flour and salt in a large bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, scraping down the bowl and the beater with a rubber spatula. Mix the batter with the spatula to be sure everything is well mixed.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the center rack of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. The cake is done when toothpick or cake tester gadget, inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a baking rack and cook for another 30 minutes

To serve, slice a piece of Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake topped with a dollop of Sweet Ricotta Cream. Garnish with fresh mint.

 

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Toasted Quinoa Salad

 

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I brought my Toasted Quinoa Salad to a graduation celebration and it was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this recipe ASAP!

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes (add 5 minutes cooking time if you’re toasting the quinoa)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, mesh sieve, whisk, serving bowl

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce package (equivalent to 1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa)
3 cups of unsalted vegetable stock, HOT (substitute water or unsalted chicken broth)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 cups of feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of a hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
1/4 cup of fresh basil, Chiffonade style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley (dried 1 tablespoon)
zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
*E.V.O.O.

Directions For Toasting And Cooking Quinoa:
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve.

Directions:
If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First, you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa first. The outer coating is called saponin and it’s bitter. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

In a large heavy bottom 3-quart saucepot on medium-low heat add (or leave) some water to the quinoa so that it’s moist, add the quinoa to the heated pan. Make sure not to overcrowd. using a whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around in the pan as it begins to toast.

Once the water is absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you’ll know it’s drying out. Continue whisking until the grains of quinoa begin to brown. The aroma will begin to smell nutty, around 5 minutes.

In another pot bring the 3 cups of vegetable stock up to a boil and salt. Pour the hot vegetable stock into the pot containing the quinoa. Give the quinoa a good stir, cover (with the glass lid). With the heat still on medium-low, simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking (during the 15 to 20 minutes) dice the vegetables and feta, zest, and juice a lemon. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl. Add in the cooled cooked toasted quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving my Toasted Quinoa Salad, I like to add a drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

 

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