Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cinnamon Bavarois

Cinnamon Bavarois. Photo by Steve Shanahan

First published Canberra Times 7 December 2011.

Many Aussies tend to turn their noses up at the mere mention of gelatine, but the French on the other hand regard gelatine as an accepted staple in the French kitchen. It’s just possible, that the Aussie aversion is due to the stories we were told as kids about horses and animal hooves. As a child, I remember watching my uncle as he filed down his horses hooves to properly fit its shoes, and using my very creative mind to imagine the hoof filings going into my jelly dessert.

In true French style the Bavarois, a classic dessert whose basis is a flavoured, cooked egg custard, contains whipped cream and a small amount of gelatine which is then set in a mould. Oddly enough, the name of this creamy dessert is a peculiarity of the French language in that it can be spelt in both the masculine form, Bavarois and the feminine, Bavaroise.

This dessert that is eaten cold, has all the hallmarks of Christmas with its cinnamon and vanilla flavours, that can be made in advance and set in either individual moulds or one large jelly mould.

If you prepare your Bavarois in a large fluted mould and  place it in the centre of the table at the end of the meal, you will have your guests drooling to try it, but given the Aussie aversion, maybe keep the gelatine thing to yourself.

This quantity makes 600ml for a large mould or 6 x 100ml individual moulds.

300ml milk
1 tspn ground cinnamon
50g sugar
3 egg yolks
3 gelatine leaves or 1½ tspn powdered gelatine
½ tspn vanilla paste
175ml whipping cream
ground cinnamon for dusting

Place the milk, cinnamon and half the sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until light and fluffy in an electric mixer. With the speed turned to medium, whisk the boiling milk into the yolks, then pour back into the saucepan to cook. Lower the heat and stir constantly until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t let it boil or the custard will split.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft, scrunch and drain and add the scrunched gelatine sheets to the hot custard with the vanilla. If using powdered gelatine, sprinkle it on to the hot custard and leave it to soak up for a minute, then stir it in. Strain the custard into a clean bowl through a sieve and leave to cool.

Whip the cream, fold into the custard and pour into six individual moulds or one large mould. Leave to set overnight. To unmould, hold the mould in a hot cloth and invert onto a plate with a quick shake. Dust with cinnamon. 

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