Sweet and Romantic with a few hiccups - that's how I would define Valentine's Day 2007. We exchanged gifts in the morning and I promised to cook a special dinner. We got snowed in for a couple of days, both of us trying to work from home and taking care of the baby at the same time, at the end of the day I was tired and didn't feel like cooking. We couldn't eat out because of the blocks of ice and snow everywhere in the neighborhood. Luckily, we had bought all the ingredients I needed for dinner the weekend before. The day before V-Day I made a very special dessert from my all-time favorite cookbook. I love everything about The Inn at Little Washington which is one of the top ten restaurants in the world. I love their story, their food, and their stunning cookbooks. I chose the dessert they make for anniversaries and special celebrations. He [Patrick O'Connell] described his Coeur à la Crème With Raspberry and Chambord as a knock-out dessert. The dessert is fabulous, elegant, and dressy. I assembled the dessert before I got started on the main dish. I carefully laid the hearts on a dessert plate, hand-picked the most beautiful and plump raspberries from the pint to garnish and used the rest to make the raspberry sauce. When I turned around the get the raspberries I left on my kitchen island to garnish the dessert, I found only 1 of them sitting on the bowl where I left all of them. I look at my husband who is chewing something. I asked: "What happened to the raspberries?" He says: I ate them, thanks sweetie, they are delicious. At first I was furious, I told him I didn't leave them out for him, I had "plans" for the raspberries. He looked so surprised and gave me a heartfelt apology, I couldn't help but laugh. What the heck, I made the dessert for him. I should be glad he liked the raspberries. After dinner, we ate the Coeur à la Crème with no garnishes but he loved it anyway. We laughed the entire time, I should had known better. This is not the first time he eats one or more ingredients that I am using on a recipe.
Coeur à la Crème (adapted from The Inn at Little Washington)
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon Chambord or other raspberry liqueur
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
For raspberry sauce
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cut a piece of cheesecloth into four 6-inch squares. Dampen and wring out lightly. Press one square into each of four perforated heart-shaped ceramic molds and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup of the cream, the vanilla, the 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the Chambord until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate.
In a small bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup cream and the confectioners' sugar until the cream forms stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the chilled cheese mixture in three batches. Spoon the finished mixture into the prepared molds and fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the tops. Lightly tap at the bottoms of the molds on the counter to remove and air spaces between the mixture and the molds. Refrigerate on a tray or baking sheet a minimum of 2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, make raspberry sauce:
In a blender or food processor, purée the raspberries, granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Taste the sauce for sweetness and adjust the sugar or lemon juice as needed. Strain and refrigerate.
Assemble and serve:
Unfold the cheesecloth and drape it over the sides of the molds. Invert each mold onto a serving plate. While pressing down on the corners of the cheesecloth carefully lift off the mold. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon and remove the cheesecloth slowly.
Spoon raspberry sauce onto the plate around the heart and garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves.