I Love Chocolate

by Stephanie Zonis


Chocolate-Almond Bavarian Cream

6 servings


This is special! A not-too-sweet chocolate custard, slightly set with the help of unflavored gelatin, has whipped cream folded into it before being piled into wine glasses and chilled. The almond flavor comes with the use of a small amount of amaretto; the liqueur can, of course, be omitted (substitute an equal amount more of vanilla) or you can substitute rum or another suitable flavor of liqueur, like orange or coffee. Lightly sweetened whipped cream is just the thing to serve with this, and the optional garnishes of shaved bittersweet chocolate and a few toasted, cooled, sliced almonds add a festive air.

You'll need a candy thermometer for this recipe; if the custard is cooked to too high a temperature, the eggs will scramble, and I don't trust instructions that tell you to cook a custard "until it coats the back of a spoon". You'll also need a strainer and 6 wine glasses, each of 6 to 7 ounce capacity. Bavarian cream will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, but it does not freeze.


4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream, divided
Pinch salt
3 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cold water
1-3/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
   (this is less than one envelope—you must measure the quantity)
2 tsp. almond liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla

For Serving:
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Optional Garnish:
Shaved or grated bittersweet chocolate
Toasted, cooled, sliced almonds


Chill a small bowl and beater(s) from a hand-held electric mixer. Have ready a whisk, a candy thermometer, a strainer, 6 wine glasses (each of 6 to 7 ounce capacity), and a pitcher of at least 3-1/2 cup capacity.

Place chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream (reserve remainder) until very hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; pour over chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then whisk gently until smooth. Set aside near stovetop.

In small bowl, combine egg yolks and 2 Tbsp. milk (reserve remainder). with fork, beat to mix well. Add sugar and beat in.

Place cold water in small cup. Sprinkle on gelatin; allow to stand at least 5 minutes. Have ready a pan of simmering water into which you can place the cup to dissolve the gelatin; the water should not come more than halfway up the sides of the cup.

In small saucepan over low heat, heat remaining 3/4 cup milk until very hot, stirring occasionally, remove from heat. Beating egg mixture constantly, gradually add hot milk. When all of hot milk has been added, pour mixture into a 3/4 to 1 quart saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat; stir constantly until mixture reaches a temperature of 174 to 176 degrees on a candy thermometer. When end temperature is reached, remove from heat immediately.

Whisk chocolate mixture to loosen slightly, then strain small amount of yolk-milk mixture into bowl of chocolate mixture. Whisk well to combine. Gradually strain remaining yolk-milk mixture into chocolate mixture, whisking gently but thoroughly after each addition and scraping bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula.

Place cup of softened gelatin into simmering water; turn off heat. Allow to stand, stirring often with a small metal spoon, just until gelatin is dissolved (it's easiest to see this with a metal spoon). Remove from hot water; dry bottom and sides of cup. Add gelatin to chocolate mixture, whisking in gently but thoroughly. Add liqueur and vanilla and mix in.

Chill the chocolate mixture, whisking occasionally, until it thickens to the consistency of a soft pudding; this may take an hour or longer. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically. If you want to speed up this process, fill a pan or bowl that is wider but not as deep as the bowl of chocolate mixture with ice and water, and place the bowl of chocolate mixture into the ice and water. Place the whole set-up into the refrigerator. Whisk often, and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl frequently. Whatever method you use, make sure the chocolate mixture does not set completely. When ready, remove from refrigerator (and from vessel of ice and water, if used); place on dish towel on flat surface.

In chilled small bowl with chilled beater(s), beat remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream just until soft peak stage. Whisk chocolate mixture once more to loosen, then scrape whipped cream into chocolate mixture and gently but thoroughly and quickly fold the two together only until the color is uniform. Work quickly here; the Bavarian cream may start to set up while you're folding. For easier handling, quickly transfer mixture to small pitcher, then pour equal amounts into each wine glass.

Chill the Bavarian cream for at least two hours before serving, covering tightly with plastic wrap after an hour or so. Store in refrigerator until serving time. To serve, top each portion with a pouf of lightly sweetened whipped cream, then sprinkle with optional shaved chocolate and/or toasted, cooled, sliced almonds. Eat within 2 days of making.


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This page created November 2000