Whoever invented this delightful satiny dessert known as Bavarois, or Bavarian Cream, really deserves a pat on the back. Not that we’re ever likely to find out who that is – they can’t even decide whether it originated in France, Bavaria, Switzerland or Germany. Who cares? All I know is how darned good it is!
This delicious concoction is, in essence, a custard combined with whipped cream and set with gelatin. It’s velvety and firm, and rather more mousse-like than a typical baked custard. It also looks a picture sitting on a serving plate.
I found this scrumptious recipe on Delicious Magazine.co.uk. The recipe made four servings, but I wanted at least five to six, so scaled up the bavarois portion of the recipe. It made five good-sized portions, though you could easily make six in smaller ramekins.
The result? The custard was thick and creamy and subtly flavoured with almond. I reckon, if you were short on time, you could simply use commercial almond milk – I’ll probably give that a try next time around. The almond praline is sinfully moreish and you’ll have plenty of it left over for other uses. And, the rhubarb is a really nice tart contrast to the sweet custard. One thing I will say though is that the rhubarb syrup was WAY too sweet, so I’ve cut back the sugar by half.
This delectable dessert, with its perfect blend of sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy, would make a fab show-stopper dessert to serve at the end of a great meal. Enjoy!
- 225g (7.9 oz) blanched almonds
- 550ml (18.6 fl oz) whole milk
- 4 large (or 3 small) free-range egg yolks
- 125g (4.4 oz) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- About 3 gelatine leaves* (I used Equagold Gold Grade Gelatine leaves)
- 225ml (7.6 fl oz) double cream
- 400g (14.1 oz) (about 2 bunches) rhubarb, cut into 5cm pieces
- Pared zest 1 lemon
- 65g (1/3 cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 50g (1.7 oz) blanched almonds
- Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Spread the almonds over a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool a little, then finely chop and put in a saucepan with the milk. Heat until the milk just starts to boil, then set aside to infuse for 4-6 hours or overnight.
- When the milk has taken on the flavour of the almonds, strain it into a measuring jug (you can save the almonds for smoothies); the quantity of milk will have reduced and from what remains, you’ll need 340ml (11.5 fl oz) milk.
- Put the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl, then beat with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Heat the 340ml (11.5 fl oz) milk until steaming, then pour into the bowl, stirring as you add it.
- Half fill a roasting tin with cold water and ice cubes.
- Put the gelatine in a small bowl and cover with cold water.
- Return the egg and milk mixture to the cleaned saucepan and heat gently for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and lightly coats the back of a spoon. It should gently steam, but not boil. Remove the custard from the heat.
- Squeeze out any excess water from the gelatine leaves, then stir them through the custard until completely melted. Strain through a sieve into a mixing bowl.
- Put the bowl in the water-and-ice filled roasting tin and gently stir with a spatula until thickened – it should stay parted for a second when you draw your spatula through it.
- Put the double cream in a larger mixing bowl and whip until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold through the custard with a metal spoon or spatula until combined. Divide the mixture equally among the moulds, cover each with cling film (not touching the surface) and chill for 4-6 hours until set, or overnight.
- Heat the oven to 110°C (230°F). Arrange the rhubarb pieces in a large shallow roasting tray. Scatter over the lemon zest and sugar along with a splash of water. Cover the tin tightly with foil and bake for 1½ hours.
- Remove the rhubarb from the oven, uncover and carefully pour the juices into a small pan. Bubble for 5-6 minutes until syrupy. Leave to cool, then pour back over the rhubarb. Chill until needed.
- Gently heat the sugar in a frying pan until melted, then boil without stirring. While it’s boiling, scatter the 50g almonds in a baking tray lined with baking paper, then tip the caramel over them as soon as it’s a golden-reddish brown. Leave the almond praline to cool completely. Pulse in a food processor (or finely chop with a large, sharp knife) to a coarse powder. If making ahead store in a sealed container and store in a dry place (don't place in fridge).
- Take the bavarois out of the fridge 30 minutes before unmoulding. Run a thin knife inside the edge of each mould, and/or dip briefly in hot water, then invert the bavarois sharply onto serving plates. Serve with the rhubarb, rhubarb syrup and a dusting of praline.
**You'll have lots of praline left over. Simply store in a sealed container in a dry place (not the fridge) for future use.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting