Friday, April 17, 2009

Savoury Coeur A La Creme

A couple of years ago, my friend Sally served up a phenomenal dip. It was incredibly more-ish (a perfect quality in a dip) and was tangy and fresh and spicy and indulgent all at the same time. Clever Sally later confessed the dip was nothing more than a tub of cream cheese tipped upside down, dowsed in sweet chilli sauce and then sprinkled generously with chopped coriander. Soon, everyone was making the same dip, so much so that Kraft released "Light Philly Pourovers", a range of dips that were inverted so either a sweet chilli or mango or chilli capsicum sauce poured over the cheese.

This month's Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Challenge is a savoury coeur a la creme, which achieves much the same result, albeit considerably more glamourously. It is also a lot slower, because it needs to drain and set overnight, before it can be unmolded for serving. In my opinion, the key advantage that this recipe has above simply using a tub of soft philly is the opportunity to flavour the cheese itself. I stuck to the lemon as written below, but the sky is really the limit if you felt like getting creative: why not use some taco seasoning in the cheese and salsa over the top? Or lime zest and juice with a Thai dipping sauce over the top? Thanks to Anne Strawberry for the choice of a great base recipe.

Savoury Coeur A La Creme
from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle chutney (Ina recommends: Cross and Blackwell Major Grey's) Crackers, for serving

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until it is firm like whipped cream. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick.
Line a 6-inch coeur a la creme mold or 6-inch sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the top of the cream. Place the mold on a plate or suspend the sieve over a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, unmold the creme upside down onto a plate and pour the chutney over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Serve chilled with crackers
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