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My unrelenting love of period melodramas continues with a second installment of my Downton Abbey Jelly Series. The first Downton Abbey post, Mr. Molesley’s Prize-Winning Rose Blancmange, was historically correct and visually lovely, but disappointing taste-wise. It turns out adapting Victorian/Edwardian recipes to modern-day ingredients and measurements is not as easy as I hoped.
For the second installment of the series, and to prevent another taste disaster, I decided to not create my own recipe but follow in the steps of my own culinary hero, Julia Child. Lucky for me, Mastering the Art of French Cooking has several recipes for the pinnacle gelatin dessert of Edwardian England – the Bavarian Cream. A Bavarian Cream (Bavarois if you’re fancy) is essentially custard with whipped cream added just before setting, a touch of gelatin to maintain shape, and a touch of flavoring and booze.
If you’ve ever made a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, you know they are not simple or straight forward. Instead they are convoluted and complicated, resulting in many tear stains on my beaten up copy. This recipe pushed my limited culinary skills to their breaking point. Needless to say, the Bavarois à l’Orange was the most work I’ve put forth for a gelatin dessert.
Let me summarize what is required for this recipe – you must separate a bunch of eggs, whip egg yolks in sugar, cook egg yolks without scrambling (I’m still shocked I pulled this off), dribble boiling milk into egg yolks, whip egg whites and fold into yolks, stir egg mixture in a bowl sitting into another bowl of ice, whip cream, and fold cream into everything else. Grating and juicing the oranges was just the easy part. Get the idea?
Complaining aside, the work put into this dessert is worth it. This is, without a doubt, the most delicate and flavorful dessert I’ve ever made. Egg yolks created a taste more rich and complicated than typical panna cottas, and addition of whipped cream and whipped egg whites created a delicate and fluffy texture that transcended – well – anything I’ve ever tasted. Since I’ve never had a Bavarian Cream before, I have no idea how “authentic” mine turned out, but I do know it was a hit at my French-themed birthday party.
A note on this recipe:
Since it would be a breach of copyright law to replicate the entire recipe on my blog (and I really hate breaking copyright laws), I will not post the recipe. However, if you’re the type of person who wants to make such a complicated and fantastically delicate dessert, you should bite the bullet and just buy Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Good news: After some research, I discovered most Bavarian Cream recipes are not nearly as complicated as Julia’s. So if you’re looking for an easier recipe, Google away!