by Stephanie Zonis
Cool, smooth, creamy, and delicate, this is a great summer dessert. If you don't know, a Bavarian cream is a cooked custard with unflavored gelatin dissolved in it. Whipped cream is folded into the cooled custard, and the whole is poured into a mold, chilled to set it, and unmolded to serve. Somehow, it's rather easier than it sounds. This is a not-too-sweet white chocolate version, with a mostly milk chocolate sauce that's so simple I could prepare it in my sleep.
You'll need a five-cup mold for this; it can be a ring mold or some other shape (I have a star-shaped mold made of copper). If you do use a ring mold, I would fill the center with fresh berries before serving. In any case, you'll also need a candy thermometer for the custard. I do not trust the recipe directions I've seen that call for cooking the custard until it's "thick enough to coat the back of a spoon", or words to that effect, and I always use a candy thermometer so I won't curdle the custard by cooking it to too high a temperature.
For the sauce:
Combine finely chopped chocolates and salt in medium heatproof bowl. Set over very warm water on low heat; stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water.
All at once, add 1/3 c. + 1 Tbsp. hot water. Whisk well to combine ingredients; sauce should be perfectly smooth. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Note: this sauce can be made up to several days in advance. Store airtight at room temperature. If made in advance, it may be necessary to thin the sauce with a little warm water to a pouring consistency before serving.
Makes about 1-1/4 cups
For Bavarian Cream:
Lightly oil mold with tasteless vegetable oil (I use a paper towel to do this) and set it aside.
Chill a medium bowl and the beater(s) from a hand-held electric mixer. In small heatproof bowl, place chopped white chocolate. Heat 1/2 c. heavy cream (reserve remainder) in small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot. Pour about half of hot cream onto chocolate. Place over warm water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir often until melted and smooth.
Gradually whisk in remaining cream. (Note: White chocolate is often stubborn about melting. If you cannot get yours to become smooth, add the rest of the cream as instructed. Whisk to combine, then turn the mixture into a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cover to keep warm, but do not process yet.) Set aside near stove.
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small cup; stir to combine. Set aside near stove. In medium heatproof bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, and about 1/4 c. milk (reserve remainder). By hand, beat well to combine. In small, heavy saucepan, place remaining milk. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until very hot. Very gradually add hot milk to egg mixture, beating constantly. Turn entire custard mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until custard reaches a temperature of 172 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat. Now, if your white chocolate mixture wasn't smooth, process it just until there are no lumps left.
Add this mixture to the cooked custard and stir it in thoroughly (don't forget to scrape the sides of the pot). Add the soaked gelatin and stir it in until the gelatin grains are dissolved (this is easiest to see with a metal spoon).
Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a large, nonreactive metal bowl. You'll need another bowl or a frying pan of larger diameter (but not deeper) than the bowl into which you've strained your white chocolate mixture.
Partially fill the larger container with ice and cold water, and set the bowl of white chocolate custard into it. Gently whisk occasionally; the mixture will begin to thicken after 10-15 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. After mixture begins to thicken, whisk a bit more frequently until white chocolate custard is the approximate consistency of raw egg whites. You do NOT want the custard to set now, so watch it carefully.
While the custard is cooling, check the mold you have oiled. I usually need to even out the light coating of oil on it with a paper towel, as the oil tends to bead up after a while. Do this if required. When the white chocolate custard is of the right consistency, whisk well and remove from ice and water.
In chilled medium bowl with chilled beater(s), beat reserved 1 c. heavy cream just until cream forms a soft shape (this is before soft peak stage). Whisk cooled custard well once more to loosen, then quickly but gently and thoroughly fold in softly whipped cream. Don't handle any more than necessary. Mixture will be thin at this stage—OK. Quickly pour into oiled mold; spread evenly. with a toothpick, prick any large air bubbles. Place mold in refrigerator.
Chill Bavarian cream at least 4 hours before serving.
Have ready a container of hot water; your mold must be able to fit into the container, but the container should be shallower than the mold.. Loosen Bavarian cream from sides of mold gently (I use a plastic knife). Dip mold into hot water for a count of 10; hot water should come almost all the way up the side of the mold. BE CAREFUL! You don't want to get any hot water into the Bavarian cream!
Quickly dry the bottom and sides of the mold with a dish towel. Turn serving plate upside down on top of Bavarian cream. Holding plate and mold together, invert. The Bavarian cream should slide out of the mold. If not, re-invert and dip into hot water for a few seconds more. Serve with above sauce and fresh berries.
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This page originally created in 1998 and modified October 2007
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