Coeur à la Crème, which literally translates to "Heart of Cream," is the quintessential Valentine's Day dessert. Not *only* is it adorably heart-shaped and garnished with vivid red raspberry sauce. It is *also* incredibly light and delicate, meaning you won't feel weighted down for any amorous acrobatics later. If you're celebrating at home this year, give this traditional French recipe a go!
Many of you may not have heard of coeur à la crème, but you can basically think of it as the OG no-bake crustless cheesecake. It's brightly flavored with lemon zest and vanilla paste and has the consistency of mousse. The raspberry amaretto sauce, far from playing second fiddle, is a perfectly tart-sweet foil for all the creamy goodness.
Table of Contents
What is Coeur à la Crème & Why Do You Love It?
Coeur à la Crème literally translates to "heart of cream," and is a French dessert made with primarily cream cheese and whipping cream. When I was little, I was pretty convinced that it was just thickened cheesecake batter, because that's honestly what it tastes like.
You can think of coeur à la crème as the original crustless cheesecake, perfectly suitable for all you glu-tards out there. Oh, and even better? It's a no bake dessert, making this a super simple dish that takes just a few minutes and no real skill to put together.
While traditional recipes flavor this light, creamy and fluffy dessert with lemon and vanilla, you can certainly play around with the ingredients as you like. I flavored this one with a mix of the traditional plus added some almond extract to bring out the flavor of the raspberry amaretto sauce.
In terms of skill level, even the most novice among you can feel good about making this simple dessert. All you need to do is WHIP IT, WHIP IT REAL GOOD! Seriously, it's super easy and will probably take just about the length of the DEVO song to make.
Finally, if you're in the market for a non-chocolate Valentine's Day themed dessert, I can't think of a better one. It is delightfully airy, verging on a mousse-like consistency. If cheesecake were devil's food, then coeur à la crème would be the angel's food of the pair.
After something super rich (like my Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta), it's a bright and light finish. Regardless of what you're serving for dinner, it is a lovely and delicate way to end the meal.
Ingredients and Equipment
Coeur à la crème is simple in both ingredients and method. For the cream base, all you'll need is:
Here's what you'll need for the sauce:
A few notes to consider:
- Cream Cheese - don't skimp here. Get high quality, full fat cream cheese for best results.
- Powdered Sugar - if you're doing the low carb thing, I have no reason to believe that swapping the powdered sugar for powdered Swerve would have any adverse effects on the consistency.
- Vanilla Paste - I love the flecks of vanilla bean throughout the dessert, but if you don't have vanilla paste on hand, there's no reason you can't swap it for more vanilla extract. If you're fancy, use the seeds from a real vanilla bean!
- Almond Extract - I'm a sucker for anything almond flavored. Amaretto, marzipan, frangipane? They're my homies. If almond is not in your flavor wheelhouse, substitute more vanilla or omit it. If you're feeling brave, you can also experiment with other extract flavors. Peppermint? Hazelnut? Coffee? Might be fun to give it a whirl. Just adjust the lemon zest accordingly.
- Kosher Salt - kosher salt has larger flakes than table salt, making it harder to over-salt things. In terms of ingredients, most cooks think kosher salt is the gold standard. If you're using regular table salt, cut the amount in half.
- Raspberries - use fresh or frozen for the sauce! Having some fresh on hand for plating is a nice touch, but definitely not necessary.
- Amaretto - like I said, I love almond flavored things, but you can easily substitute other spirits to suit your own tastes. Framboise would be traditional and more raspberry focused. Cointreau would impart a bit of orange flavor that would play nicely with the lemon. Avoiding booze? Opt for a touch of pomegranate or orange juice instead.
In terms of equipment, you'll need a hand or stand mixer, a mixing bowl, a blender, some cheesecloth and a coeur à la crème mould (or a sieve).
How to Make Coeur à la Crème
Beat your softened cream cheese until smooth.
Add salt, powdered sugar, vanilla paste, extracts and zest. Mix it on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add in the cream and beat until it looks like whipped cream with stiff peaks. NOTE: To avoid the cream splashing everywhere, start the mixer on low speed, slowly increasing the speed as the mix becomes thicker.
Line your mould with cheesecloth, leaving enough overhang to fold back on itself.
TIP: No cheesecloth? No problem! Dampen a sheet of paper towels and use them to line the mould instead. Try to keep them in a continuous sheet to prevent sticking.
Pour the cream mixture into the mould, cover with the overhang fabric. Wrap in plastic wrap to keep other food aromas from getting into the mix, but be sure to leave enough of a gap for liquid to escape the holes. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days before serving.
TIP: Using a round sieve instead of a coeur à la crème mould? Place it over a similarly sized bowl before wrapping it in plastic wrap.
How to Make Raspberry Amaretto Sauce
This one is extra simple to pull off. Dump all ingredients into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth purée.
If you so desire, strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds. Done!
How to Serve
Remove from the coeur from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Unwrap the cheesecloth from top of the mould to expose the top of the cream mixture. Place a serving platter over the top.
TIP: Be smarter than me and place the plate so the coeur is centered. Insert facepalm emoji here.
Place one hand on top of the plate, then gently flip the mould so the coeur à la crème falls out onto the plate.
Gently remove the cheesecloth and discard it (it composts!). Decorate with the raspberry sauce to your liking.
TIP: For better control of where the sauce goes, I recommend decanting it into a squeeze bottle.
Fresh raspberries and fresh mint sprigs add a touch of class, but are not necessary.
Feel free to plate it in separate bowls, or go lady and the tramp style and share a plate. Now enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Nope! While they are pretty cute and inexpensive, you can opt to use any dish that has holes in the bottom. A sieve, colander, or even a clean flower pot with a hole should all work. They also sell individual sized moulds if you prefer.
In this instance, you can totally swap in a damp paper towel instead.
You have leftovers?!? LUCKY! That sauce is pretty much the jam. Put it over ice cream or rice pudding for dessert. Stir it into some plain greek yogurt for a fancy feeling breakfast. Drizzle it over your whipped cream on your hot chocolate. Serve it with a slice of dark chocolate cake. Basically anywhere you'd even think to add raspberry flavor you should.
I haven't personally tried it, but I see no reason that this dish wouldn't work as a keto friendly dessert if you swapped in some powdered Swerve for the powdered sugar. I also imagine it would take well to extra ingredients like peanut butter powder or cocoa powder, depending on the flavor you're going for. If you try any of these swaps, holler at me in the comments below! I'd love to know how they turn out.
Don't you fret! You're definitely not alone. And while this dessert might traditionally be associated with Valentine's Day, it certainly doesn't have to be. Here's a few notes:
If you don't want your dessert in the shape of a heart, who cares?!? Line a round mesh sieve with cheesecloth instead and you'll end up with a Dome à la Crème instead. 🙂
Try this idea for turning your heart into a bloody (or broken) heart instead. Bonus points for every time you stab it with your spoon.
Need more date night inspo? Check out these other winning recipes:
- Homemade CBD Gummies | Works for THC too!
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta
- Date Night Salmon with Minty Pea Purée
If you tried this recipe for Coeur à la Crème with Raspberry Amaretto Sauce, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments below! You can always tag me in your creations, too!
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Coeur à la Crème, a.k.a. The OG Crustless Cheesecake
Coeur à la Crème
- 12 oz Cream Cheese full fat, softened to room temperature
- 1 ¼ C Powdered Sugar or substitute powdered Swerve for keto
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Paste
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Almond Extract
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
Raspberry Amaretto Sauce
- 12 oz Raspberries fresh or frozen
- ½ C Sugar
- 2 tablespoon Amaretto or sub framboise, cointreau, or - if avoiding alcohol - pomegranate or orange juice.
Optional for Plating
- Fresh Raspberries
- Fresh Mint
How to Make Coeur à la Crème
- Beat softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth.Add salt, powdered sugar, vanilla paste, extracts and zest. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the cream and beat until it looks like whipped cream with stiff peaks. NOTE: To avoid the cream splashing everywhere, start the mixer on low speed, slowly increasing the speed as the mix becomes thicker.Line your mould with cheesecloth, leaving enough overhang to fold back on itself.Pour the cream mixture into the mould, cover with the overhang fabric. Wrap in plastic wrap, but be sure to leave enough of a gap for liquid to escape the holes. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days before serving.
How to Make Raspberry Amaretto Sauce
- Dump all ingredients into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth purée.If you so desire, strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds.
How to Serve
- Remove from the coeur from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Unwrap the cheesecloth from top of the mould to expose the top of the cream mixture. Place a serving platter over the top. Place one hand on top of the plate, then gently flip the mould so the coeur à la crème falls out onto the plate. Gently remove the cheesecloth and discard it (it composts!). Decorate with the raspberry sauce to your liking. Fresh raspberries and fresh mint sprigs are welcome, but not necessary.
- No cheesecloth? No problem! Dampen a sheet of paper towels and use them to line the mould instead. Try to keep them in a continuous sheet to prevent sticking.
- Using a round sieve instead of a coeur à la crème mould? Place it over a similarly sized bowl before wrapping it in plastic wrap.
- For better control of where the sauce goes, I recommend using a squeeze bottle.