When it comes to guilty indulgences, I have more than my fair share. The occasional expensive latte on my afternoon coffee break? Yup. Lying in bed for an extra hour on weekends? Double yup. A great pair of shoes, especially if they're on sale? Absolutely. Gooey sweet desserts? Not so much.
Yup. Despite what you might thing from reading this blog, I don't really have much of a sweet tooth. Honestly, I'd much rather save the calories for savoury treats, like gooey soft cheeses or fresh-baked bread.
I do, however, make an exception for certain things.
As of this week, I'm adding one more dessert to my list of exceptions - this citrusy riff on coeur a la creme, a classic French dessert that takes looks and sounds super-fancy, but actually takes roughly five minutes and four ingredients to prepare.
It's light as air and wonderfully creamy, falling somewhere in the intersection between cheesecake, panna cotta and mousse, and with just barely enough sweetness to keep it firmly planted in dessert territory.
And since citrus season is in full swing, I've topped it off with a brilliantly crimson blood orange compote. Partially because I love me some blood oranges (ding ding... another guilty treat), and partially because I just love that pop of colour against the snowy white of the coeur a la creme.
Not to mention that it's heart-shaped, which is a nice bonus... what with Valentine's Day coming up and all.
Traditionally, coeur a la creme is prepared using a combination of fromage blanc and creme fraiche. But since real fromage blanc can be a little tricky to find here in Canada, I've used a clever alternative.
(And no, it's not cream cheese, which is what most North American versions use.)
So what's my not-so-secret weapon? Nordica Smooth cottage cheese.
Yes, that's right. Cottage cheese. Betcha never thought something as mundane could be transformed into something so sexy, right?
As far as indulgences go, it may not be up there with a cute new pair of boots on clearance, but it's dang close.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Lemon Coeur a la Creme with Blood Orange Compote
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
This classic French dessert may look impressive, but it actually comes together in a matter of minutes. Smooth cottage cheese takes the place of the more traditional fromage blanc - if you can't find it, substitute for regular cottage cheese and then blend in a food processor until smooth.
Coeur a la Creme:
- 200g Nordica Smooth lemon-flavoured cottage cheese
- ½ cup Gay Lea sour cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¾ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Blood Orange Compote:
- 4 medium-sized blood oranges
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
Make the Coeur a la Creme:
- Line 4 individual coeur a la creme molds with cheesecloth.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the cottage cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared molds. Fold in the edges of the cheesecloth to cover the top, and arrange on a wire rack that’s been set over a shallow dish. Transfer to the refrigerator to drain for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).
Make the Compote:
- Using a sharp knife, cut away all of the peel and white pith from the oranges. Working over a small bowl, carefully slice away each segment from the membranes. Once the segments have all been cut out, squeeze the membranes into the bowl to extract as much of that precious juice as you can, then discard.
- Measure out the blood orange juice that’s accumulated in the bowl - you should have about ¼ cup. (If you’re a little short, squeeze in the juice from another orange, or top up with some bottled OJ… trust me, no one will notice.)
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, stir together the blood orange juice, sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until clear and syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the liqueur. Pour over the orange segments, stir well, and set aside to cool completely.
- When ready to serve, unfold the cheesecloth covering the top of dish and invert the molds into four shallow dessert bowls. Gently peel away the rest of the cheesecloth and discard. Spoon orange compote on top, and serve immediately.
If you don’t have the special coeur a la creme molds, you use a fine wire-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and place over a mixing bowl to drain. It won't be heart shaped, but I promise it will be just as delicious!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: French
Kim Teasdale says
What great tips! And amazing recipe!
The Food Hunter says
I absolutely love the sound of this. I need to get some blood oranges and make it
Kirsten/Comfortably Domestic says
Cottage cheese in a coeur de creme?! No. WAY! I have to try this for the food science aspect alone. The added benefit of ending up with an elegant dessert is definite bonus.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
I feel the same way about Desserts!! But this I could not resist!
Lora @savoringitaly says
I wish I could find that cottage cheese near me ...it sounds fantastic. Lovely dessert to make for a sweetheart for Valentine's!
Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
Absolutely gorgeous! Such an elegant dessert and I adore blood orange - love it!
Alyssa | EverydayMaven says
I love this idea!
Nikki @ Nik Snacks says
So beautiful! Blood orange is one of my favorite things, when I can find them. This compote is like, whoa!
Lauren Kelly Nutrition says
This is fabulous! That blood orange compote....WHOA!
How pretty they are and make perfect individual desserts?
I want it all! The savoury and the sweet! This is my "problem" ;)
I've never made a coeur à la crème. I don't even think I've ever eaten one! I guess it's kinda like a cheesecake but not, right?
Isabelle Boucher says
It's got a similar profile to cheesecake, in that it's creamy and a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy, but the texture is completely different... it's airy and fluffy and very light, almost like a mousse, which makes it perfect to end a heavier meal where a regular cheesecake might be too much.
Ayngelina Brogan says
This is awesome, I always blend my cottage cheese because I hate the consistency but these look good enough to replace my individual yogurts.
Blood orange compote?! Nom.
Nicole | Culinary Cool says
I love Panna Cotta so I can only imagine how much I would love this!! I'm also very intrigued by your use of cottage cheese!
Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says
These look so good! Love the citrus zing!