Courtesy of Nancy Lloyd Pfahl, Washington, DC

For this recipe you will need about 10 individual Coeur a la crème molds, approximately 3” long, 3” wide, and 1½” deep.  You will also need cheesecloth soaked in salted cold water and wrung out.

   10 oz. cream cheese
    ½ cup confectioners sugar
    Seeds from a 1” piece of vanilla bean or 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    2 cups heavy cream
    6 tbsp. currant jelly
    1 tbsp. framboise
    1 pint whole fresh strawberries

Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy.  Add the sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until smooth.  In another bowl whip the cream until stiff.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Cut pieces of cheesecloth big enough to line the heart-shaped molds three thicknesses – about 6” strips.  Press into the molds, letting the edges hang over so that the top of the mold can be covered.  Pour the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture into each mold, giving them a slight tap to settle the mixture.  Set on cake racks over baking sheets and refrigerate overnight to drain.  Unmold onto glass plates to serve.  Top with macerated berries, berry sauce, apricot sauce, or any other fruit you choose.

Macerated Berries – Two hours before serving, clean berries and place in bowl.  In a saucepan melt 6 tbsp. of currant jelly.  Stir in 1 tbsp. of framboise.  Pour over berries.  Set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Fresh Berry Sauce -  1 qt. fresh strawberries or raspberries
                                    ½ to 1 cup sugar (to taste)
                                    2-3 tbsp. liqueur to complement berries, or fresh lemon juice

Sugar berries to taste.  Puree in a food processor to a thick, smooth consistency.  Add the flavoring of your choice.

To make with frozen berries, thaw berries and sweeten to taste after draining with either sugar syrup or sugar (if they have been frozen without sugar).  Proceed as above.

To make with jam or jelly, melt ½ cup raspberry or strawberry combined with ½ cup currant jelly.  Flavor with liqueur as above.  Puree or put through a sieve.

Apricot Sauce -          16 oz. can unsweetened apricot halves, drained
                                    ¼ cup water
                                    2 tsp. vanilla extract or a piece of vanilla bean
                                    2 tbsp. apricot jam

Simmer all together for 10 minutes until thick.  Remove the vanilla bean.  Puree in food processor.

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