Bavarian cream (which is also known as Bavarois) got its glorious start in France during the 19th century and can be used for just about anything these days.

Like all custards, Bavarian cream consists of a liquid (milk, cream, puree, etc.) that is thickened with eggs, then flavored with all manner of food. It's also a cooked custard, meaning it's simmered over a double boiler. But what separates this variation from the pack is that its base is also thickened with gelatin.

And on the flip side, the cream is then lightened with whipped heavy cream. The result is a rather thick yet aerated dessert that can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways (glaze, filling, or as its own dessert).

Both thickened and lightened

A basic custard formula doesn't require much gelatin to become a Bavarian cream since its already been thickened with the yolks. In fact, one gelatin sheets to a cup of custard should do the trick.

As for the cream, using an equal part to the custard is a great starting point. Today's recipe is a standard Bavarian cream (vanilla flavored) that's simple to follow and delicious.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • One cup milk
  • One cup heavy cream
  • Half tsp vanilla extract
  • One pinch salt
  • Five egg yolks
  • One cup (120 g) granulated sugar
  • Four gelatin sheets
  • Two cups heavy cream, whipped

Directions:

  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl filled with cold water and set aside. Combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and 20 grams of sugar in a heavy saucepan or double boiler and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl until smooth and ribbons form.
  3. Temper the whisked yolks by gradually adding one fourth of the heated milk/cream mixture.
  4. Pour the tempered yolk mixture into the saucepan and simultaneously stir and cook the combined mixture until it reaches 85°C or is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
  5. Remove the gelatin sheets from the cold bath and wring to remove excess water. Add the sheets to the cooked custard.
  6. Chill the custard over an ice bath. Chill and whisk simultaneously until the custard reaches 24°C
  7. Fold the heavy cream into the custard until fully combined to complete the Bavarian cream.
  8. Chill or serve immediately in dessert glasses or molds.

Makes 1 quart.

Variations

  • Chocolate: Fold one cup of melted chocolate into the custard in step five
  • Banana: Combine one cup of mashed bananas with the egg yolks and sugar in step two
  • Bourbon: Substitute two tablespoons of Bourbon for the vanilla extract.
  • Berry: Fold in one cup of berries of your choice
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