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.