Friday, 23 September 2011

White chocolate coeur à la crème for Cook the Books

I am a contrary soul. Ask almost anyone and they will tell you that I almost invariably go left just because everyone else is going right. It means I haven't read The Kite Runner or The Da Vinci Code. And it means that I have never read Orangette, Molly Wizenburg's blog (or in fact any of the other "must-read" blogs. Must-read? Not for me!)

It means that the current Cook the Books bookclub selection, Molly Wizenburg's book, A Homemade Life, was an entirely unknown quantity for me.

What a treat it was! Warm, funny, very moving, it's a series of short pieces that hang together as autobiography, interspersed with recipes.

There were a number of dishes I wanted to try, and in fact a number I have and still will, but it wasn't long before I realised that it had to be the white chocolate coeur à la crème. Unlike Molly, I don't have a strong association between the 80s and white chocolate (I thought the 80s was all about kiwi fruit with meat and strawberry vinaigrette) but I do have strong nostalgia for coeur à la crème.

More than 20 years ago I bought my mother a set of coeur à la crème moulds (was it for a birthday or Christmas? That I cannot remember). She memorably used them (I think following the traditional Elizabeth David recipe, which is slightly savoury and contains whipped eggwhites) for my aunt's wedding lunch, and served them with pears poached in red wine. Although actually I can't remember if that was the same occasion.

So my mother actually has the right kit for these delights (which, just in case she is wondering, would go very nicely with sauternes if she is planning a birthday menu for Bill...). I don't. But I do have an actual proper cheese-making mould from my Forging Fromage endeavours.

A small amount of melted white chocolate is whisked through cream cheese and folded into whipped cream, then the mixture is drained in cheesecloth-lined moulds overnight so it becomes firm enough to turn out, yet light and luscious as a mousse. Unfortunately at the 11th hour I realised that I had run out of cheesecloth, so I had to line my mould with my jellybags, the seams of which left some pretty deep indentations in my glorious pudding.

In Molly's book, she serves this with a berry puree (there were lots of berry purees in the 80s. Ubiquitously called coulis). I served it with some rhubarb compote. Unfortunately I managed to make the rhubarb completely inedible - no idea what went wrong but it was horrible. The coeur à la crème, however, was divine.

24 comments:

tori said...

Love the coeur a la creme, and loved 'A homemade life'- almost as much as I loved Ruth Reichl's 'Comfort me with apples'- which is saying a lot. Hope the rhubarb isn't as recalcitrant next time...

Simona said...

Your first paragraph applies to me as well. And you should add to it that I don't watch TV. Nice choice for CtB.
As an aside, I have recently adopted cheese netting, which is made of nylon: it is a breeze to clean and sterilize and can be reused.

SKIP TO MALOU said...

CONTRARY SOUL! I love that, and in a way I am one too. My hubs call me the "rebel" because of that trait of mine...
But yeah I read "The Homemade Life" just because my daughter gave it to me as a Christmas gift, but I still haven't found my way (well regularly that is) to Molly's blog, but I call myself her fan? Hmmm does it make sense haha.
Great choice for the Cook the books, only if I could dig in right now that's even better hehe.
HAve a great weekend. I realized I haven't been here in awhile. Great to be here again.

Malou

ARLENE said...

I guess I march to the beat of a different drummer, too, since I generally read the book AFTER posting time. Just ordered my copy last night. Your coeur a la creme looks delicious, with or without a coulis.

Foodycat said...

Tori - I'll have to read the Ruth Reichl book!

Simona - thanks for the tip on cheese netting!

Malou - thanks! Good to see you too!

Arlene - it was nice to have in the fridge to just dip a sneaky spoon into.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am glad you liked the book. I found Orangette before I started blogging by accident and although I am not too much of a regular visitor, I pop in from time to time. ;-)

Love the coeur a la creme--I almost made it too. Ina is the one who introduced me too them and I love how creamy and decadent they are.

Great post and entry--thanks for joining in this CTB round.

C said...

Looks fab. I know exactly what you mean - I tend to avoid blogs where the author gets so many comments they can't possibly read them.

Perhaps I'm just jealous?! I'm certainly jealous of your coeur a la creme though!

The Cat's Mother said...

These look great and may work better in the climate here. My only attempt in Qld didn't work.

I think I served it with berries for the wedding - it was November.

Foodycat said...

C - I think jealousy comes into it for me. And also I like a relationship with my fellow bloggers; you can't possibly have that when there are thousands of comments.

Mother - it certainly seemed pretty stable and obedient!

grace said...

i know there are lots of white chocolate haters out there, but i'm definitely not one of them. frankly, i like it better than dark chocolate, but don't let that get out. this dessert looks phenomenal!

Barbara said...

Molly's coming up on our list of 50 women game changers...I still wonder about the inclusion of young bloggers on this list, but I guess one has to admit they HAVE influence and an enormous audience. I still haven't read Molly's book I'm sorry to say but I do check her blog out once in a while. Perhaps I better see if the library has it.
I'm not much of a white chocolate fan, but her coeur a la creme sure looks good!

Eliotseats said...

That chapter was my favorite but I have not been brave enough to make the coeur. Great CTB post. Mine is up at http://eliotseats.com/?p=5771.

tasteofbeirut said...

I haven't read this book, but now I am tempted to; the coeur a la crème looks wonderful, and reminds me of a New Year Eve's dinner at a restaurant in Barbizon in France, where meat was grilled in a huge fireplace in the middle of the restaurant and the dessert was a huge platter of crème de la crème or something to that effect, the creamiest cheese I have ever tasted in my life!

Foodycat said...

Grace - I am not a huge white chocolate lover, but the sort of delicate vanilla flavour works well in this!

Barbara - Hmmmm, yes, I see what you mean. She's good but surely it is too soon to see if she is game changing?

Eliot - thanks!

Joumana - your dinner in France sounds amazing! I am glad I could remind you of it.

mscrankypants said...

I know what you mean. I can't stand listening to Adele now she's famous and everyone's raving about her.

But I'll always love a coeur a la creme -- yours looks divine.

Jessica @The Literary Foodie said...

I remember the first time I read A Homemade Life and what a nice surprise it was. At the time I had not read the blog. I am definitely hooked on it now, and eagerly awaiting her next book. Love your recipe choice.

Foodycat said...

Cranky - that is seriously contrary! Adele is great!

Jessica - thanks! I will also look out for the next book.

Rachel said...

Great post tackling the coeur a la creme for Cook the Books. And thanks to Simona for the cheese netting tip. I'll have to dig some out.

As for me, what I most remember about the 80s were all those crazy big hairdos, crazy big shoulder pads and crazy big synthesizer music.

Kaye said...

I had my eye on the couer à la crème too. My husband thinks he doesn't like white chocolate, but I thought he might not notice in this. :-)

Eliotseats said...

CONGRATS on your CTB win!!! Very deserving post. I bet you are excited!

Foodycat said...

Rachel - oh yes, the big hair! At one point I had a Farah flick and it took me years to grow out the layers.

Kaye - my husband refused to even taste a bite of this one. His loss!

Eliot - thank you!

Foodjunkie said...

Great post and congratulations on your win! I have a dislocated shoulder and the doctor ordered to stay away from the computer, so my commenting has fallen behind...

DaniD said...

Great post and congratulations on your win! You made coeur a la creme seem easy; it intimidated me at first reading the book but I think I will try it for my boyfriend and my anniversary!

Foodycat said...

Jo - you poor thing! Take care!

Dani - it was lovely and very, very easy. Try it!

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