I’m thinking Valentine’s Day…

…perhaps one or two days late for planning purposes, but at least I didn’t forget it this year.

Q and I spent the weekend in Tucson where a good friend was exhibiting her photography at her first big show in the Southwest.  As we normally do when we’re spending time in car and then in a hotel room, we stock up on cookies, snacks and chocolate. Good chocolate…bars of it. Enough to make you want to swear off the stuff for at least a month. So this Valentine’s Day, I forgo the traditional two-pound box of truffles, and fall back on an old favorite from my days in culinary school.

Coeur a la Creme

12 oz. room temp cream cheese

1C heavy cream

1 lemon, zested, divided

1T freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2C powdered sugar

1 pint fresh raspberries

1t sugar

1t raspberry liqueur

Place the cream cheese in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle and whip until it’s firm like whipped cream. Turn it down to low speed and add the  powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon juice and 1/2 the zest. Change the paddle to a whisk, then slowly, increase the speed to high and mix until it’s very thick.

Line a 6″ coeur a la creme mold with moistened cheese cloth, making sure to leave some draping over the sides. Pour the mixture into the mold and smooth the top with a spatula. Then, fold the excess cheesecloth over the top, covering the entire surface. Place the mold on a plate, refrigerate overnight.

To prepare the raspberry sauce, rinse the raspberries. Put the berries in a food processor, along with the sugar and liqueur. Puree, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to remove all the seeds. You want smoooooth…chill.

When ready to serve, turn over on a plate and unmold. If there are creases in the surface, heat the blade of a knife in a glass of very hot water and run it over the surface until smooth. Plate, garnish with raspberry sauce. Yum.

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. All rights reserved (c) 2011.

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