By Signe Langford
I’m not sure what came first historically—the mould or the recipe — but I know what came first for me and that was the mould.
I saw these pretty little heart-shaped dishes from Quebec craftswoman Edith Bourgault, and I wanted to know what they were for.
In the Anjou region of France, where this recipe was created, it’s made with a fresh soft farmer’s cheese called fromage blanc, hard to find outside of Europe or possibly Quebec.
In the rest of North America, mascarpone, quark or cream cheese will do. I favour mascarpone because, well, it’s mascarpone! Seriously creamy and decadent.
Anyway, since I’m the kind who offers my heart up on a platter, this recipe for romance suits me just fine, any time of year.
Vanilla Coeur à la Crème with Blueberry Maple Compote Recipe Paired with Southbrook Vineyards Framboise
Makes 4 individual moulds or 1 family-size heart and about 1¼ cups (300 m L) compote
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (reserve pod)
¾ cup (180 mL) organic 35 percent cream
1 Tbsp (15 mL) icing sugar
4 oz (110 g) mascarpone (about ½ cup/120 mL)
6 oz (170 g) chèvre, at room temperature (about 1¼ cups/300 mL)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice (about half a lemon)
¹⁄³ cup (80 mL) runny honey
Blueberry Maple Compote
1 cup (250 mL) blueberries (frozen wild berries have the best flavour)
¼ cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
¼ cup (60 mL) ruby port
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
Rinse two 12-inch (30-cm) square pieces of cheesecloth in cold water and wring dry.
Line 2 heart-shaped coeur à la crème moulds with the cheesecloth, letting the cheesecloth drape over the sides of the moulds. Set heart moulds
onto a baking pan, tray or plate; set aside.
Add vanilla bean paste to a large bowl. Add the cream and icing sugar and whip to soft peaks with an electric beater.
In another large bowl with an electric beater, blend the mascarpone with the chèvre, lemon juice and honey until very smooth. Set aside.
In a medium bowl—wiped clean with a splash of lemon juice — beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Now add the whipped cream and whipped egg whites to the large bowl with the cheese mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold until well combined.
Add the cheese and cream mixture to the prepared moulds, folding the overhanging cheesecloth back over the filled moulds. Place in the fridge to drain and firm up for at least 6 hours; overnight is much better.
While the moulds are setting up, make the Blueberry Maple Compote.
Into a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the blueberries, maple syrup, port and scraped vanilla bean halves. Bring to a simmer, stirring often; you may need to decrease heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until reduced and thickened, stirring often.
Set aside to cool to room temperature. Compote can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.
To serve, peel back the excess cheesecloth, set a plate on top of the mould and invert. Carefully lift off the mould and gently peel away the cheesecloth; inspect for stray cotton threads.
Spoon some of the compote on the plate and offer more in a small pitcher or even a gravy boat.
Recipe from Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes from Douglas & McIntyre