[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

Valentine's Day Coeur à la Crème with Raspberries

If you're looking for a perfect Valentine's Day dessert for two, look no further than the classic, romantic coeur à la crème (which translates into "heart of cream"). Part of the classic French dessert canon, coeur à la crème is anything but complex to prepare, requiring only about ten minutes worth of actual work and then an eight-hour stint in the refrigerator. A sweet, cream-cheesy filling is poured into a heart-shaped mold, then left to set into the ultimate Valentine's Day treat. This dainty little heart is rich, sweet, and meant to be shared.

You can make coeur à la crème the night before, if you like, or the morning of the day you plan to serve it. As the heart sits for its eight-hour rest, excess moisture drains out of the holes on the bottom of the mold and turns the once light, fluffy cream into a richer, more mature version of itself. For full flavor effect, let the unmolded heart sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

Note: For this recipe you'll need a coeur à la crème mold, which can be made of either porcelain or plastic.


Valentine's Day White Chocolate Soufflé

And really, when it comes to romance, can you think of a culture more associated with grand, sweeping gestures of love than the French? Then it makes sense to celebrate Valentine's Day with another simple dessert straight out of France's pastry canon, the soufflé. Plus soufflés only take about 10 minutes of work to create, so you'll be able to spend your time doing, um, other things with your holiday.

Soufflés are light and tender, a perfectly delicate treat for Valentine's Day. Don't let the word soufflé scare you; they're easier to make than you might think. At their very core, soufflés are simply a sauce mixed with egg whites, which causes the batter to rise when subjected to high temperatures. Your primary concern when making a soufflé is to not flatten your egg whites, and this can be accomplished by not overmixing your batter. The key is to stop folding as soon as the egg whites disappear into the batter. Problem solved!

These little beauties sport a festive red and white swirl, or if you like, you can make them entirely pink by not dividing the batter before stirring in the red food coloring. You can also use 8-ounce ramekins, though you'll need twice as many and you'll have to reduce the baking time to about 14 minutes to compensate for the smaller size.

Get the Recipes!

Valentine's Day Coeur à la Crème with Raspberries »

Valentine's Day White Chocolate Soufflé »

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

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