It’s finally starting to feel like fall here in LA. Well, kind of. For a few brief days a cold front will settle in and I actually have to reach into the back of my closet to find a jacket to wear. Then, the summer heat will come back with a vengeance and I immediately trade in the jacket for a tank top and flip flops. However, on those few brisk days I’ve finally found myself with the desire to embrace the autumn season in my recipe choices.
During such a period of chilly weather I found myself wanting to re-make a long-favorite appetizer. It’s one of my best kept secrets: you take 8oz of cream cheese and just pour any type of jam over it, then serve with crackers. I guarantee you everyone will be raving about it, and you’ll be laughing inside with the knowledge that it took approximately 30 seconds to make. However, after watching my heroine Ina Garten make a savory version of Coeur a la Crème, I thought to try and make a similar version with pumpkin butter, and take my stand-by recipe to a new level. Coeur a la Creme translates literally to mean “cream heart” and is a typically sweet cream cheese spread molded into the shape of a heart. I didn’t have a heart mold on hand, but it tasted just fine in a circular shape, so don’t sweat it.
Mmmmm… this was good, and worth the extra effort required to get to the finished product. The flavors of lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg really complement the pumpkin butter, and, I now have a great fall appetizer to bring to any party or gathering. If you ever wished you could have pumpkin pie both before AND after dinner, (and seriously, who doesn’t think this?) then this is something for you to try.
Pumpkin Coeur a la Creme
I used pumpkin butter obviously, but I honestly can’t think of any jam or jelly that wouldn’t work with this. However, if you go with another spread I would consider cutting back or eliminating altogether the cinnamon and/or nutmeg, as the flavors may not go together as well.
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup half & half
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Blend together all ingredients except for the pumpkin butter.
Line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the sieve, fold the paper towels over it and place over a bowl so it can drain. Leave in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator and unfold the paper towels. Place a plate over the sieve and flip the cream cheese onto the plate. Pour pumpkin butter over top and serve with crackers. Prepare yourself to make new friends.