8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces heavy cream
1 ¾ pounds strawberries, sliced
1 ounce sugar
In a mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla on high for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the motor running on high, gradually add the cream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to whip on high to stiff peaks. Divide among 6 cheesecloth-lined coeur à la crème molds set on a baking tray. Smooth the mixture into the molds using a spatula and fold the excess cheesecloth over the tops. Let drain in the refrigerator overnight.
To serve, unfold the cheesecloth from the coeurs and invert each one onto a dessert plate. Remove the molds, gently peel off the cheesecloth, and set aside at room temperature for about half an hour. Meanwhile, toss together the strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl and let macerate, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft and juicy. Divide the strawberries among the coeurs and serve immediately.
Serves 6. Use a high quality cream cheese such as Nancy's. If you can get your hands on it, use Tahitian vanilla, which has a uniquely floral character. You'll need about 2 pints of strawberries for this recipe. If heart-shaped coeur à la crème molds are unavailable, use little berry colanders instead. Finely woven cheesecloth is preferable—if you have the loosely woven kind, use several layers of it. If you like, flavor the coeurs with some finely grated lemon zest. Alternatively, substitute chèvre for a portion of the cream cheese.