Happy Valentine's Day! It's probably not a surprise that I'm from a family that loves this holiday. Not only because we embrace any opportunity to send each other cute cards (and chocolates!), but also because it is my middle sister's birthday. And lest we have just one day of celebration, the very next day it is my other sister's birthday!
Some of my favorite Valentine memories are of my sisters' births. Clear as day, I can still see the special heart-themed paper that my mom used to wrap my Valentine presents those years. (I was four and five years old those years. Yeah, I was excited about the prospect of baby sisters, but hello - it also meant I got presents! Wrapped in pretty paper!)
This year, as Sammy is more likely to eat any sort of festive paper, the packaging of his gifts won't be too memorable, nor will his actual gifts. But it was fun to pick a few things out. As any modern baby should have, he'll receive his first (plastic, obnoxiously loud and bright) cell phone (so what if I was a junior in college when I got mine?), a baby toothbrush (to prevent any cavities from his non-existent Valentine chocolates), and Where Is Baby's Valentine (I am obsessed with Karen Katz books). We will go out for a special Valentine lunch with Daddy, and at night, we'll celebrate Auntie Em's birthday with a special dinner made by Queenie, and some chocolate truffle tartlets. It should be quite a day!
Rewinding a bit, James' and my Valentine celebration actually began this past weekend, as we packed Sammy up and shipped him off to Queenie and Grampy's for the night, and partook in our street's annual Valentine dinner party. (If ever there was a street that I was meant to live on....) As my contribution, I made a coeur a la creme with raspberry sauce. I've actually owned a coeur a la creme mold for years, but had never used it. I don't know what I was waiting for!
This was a super easy recipe, and basically involved mixing cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest for a few minutes, and then letting it set - for hours on end.
The recipe calls for letting the cream mixture sit for at least eight hours or overnight. I didn't have that time - I had about seven hours and tried to freeze it for the seventh hour. The mold still came off pretty easily and I only had one sort of deformed heart ... tip? But the real challenge was unmolding the cream right smack in the center of the serving platter. At this I failed. (Read on for photographic evidence.)
To accompany the coeur a la creme, I made Ina's raspberry sauce (though not with Grand Marnier, as the recipe I link to includes). Again, it was easy peasy. Bring raspberries and sugar to a boil, and simmer.
Throw the mixture in a food processor with some seedless raspberry jam and framboise. (I mistakenly bought framboise beer, and not the actual liqueur - no matter.)
Drizzle raspberry sauce around the heart (or rather, drown the heart in raspberry sauce in order to hide the fact that the cream mold is ridiculously nowhere near the center). Artfully scatter fresh raspberries on and around the heart. And finally, pour yourself a glass of champagne in a swanky champagne coupe, garnish with a raspberry, and get ready for a fun night where everyone raves over your festive coeur for hours on end.
(Oh, yes. And snap obligatory close-up Instragram-appropriate pic.)
Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!