“The only time to eat diet food is when you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
– Julia Child
After the successful release of her cookbook, Julia Child managed to win the hearts of Americans with her wit, charm and (as I have discovered as I google Julia Child quotes) her brilliant one-liners. You can’t help but fall in love with her infectious personality and genuine enthusiasm for cooking while watching clips of her cooking show The French Chef.
In true Meryl Streep fashion, she does a tip-top job of portraying Julia Child in Julie & Julia. Here is a great clip comparing Meryl’s portrayal with the real Julia:
My mom and I watched Julie & Julia a few years back for the first time. We were both so excited about French cooking after the movie that my brother and I decided to surprise my mom with a copy of Julia Child’s landmark cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” for her birthday.
I really wanted to take a crack at one of Julia’s desserts for this series. In the movie, there is a shot of this lovely and delicious-looking pink creamy thing that Julie Powell refers to as raspberry Bavarian cream. Based on this brief clip, that is what I decided I wanted to make. My mom and I cracked open the cookbook and saw recipes for many different types of Bavarian creams, including orange and almond, but we had to opt for the lovely pink raspberry version.
As I learned reading through Julia’s recipe, Bavarian cream is similar to a custard but thickened with gelatin and lightened with whipped cream. The recipe is fairly intricate and specific, with many precise steps. My mom and I sometime shy away from recipes that are on the finicky side, but for the sake of this French cooking series we were up for the challenge! We did our best to follow the directions as closely as possible. The hardest part was determining when the custard mixture had adequately thickened over the heat. Like hollandaise sauce, you don’t want to over-heat the custard or the eggs will scramble and ruin everything (your mood, your dessert, your weekend, etc.) We didn’t have a candy thermometer on hand, so we awkwardly poked a meat thermometer into the custard trying to get a temperature to register in a timely manner. Navigating elevated levels of stress through this process, we removed the custard from the heat just on time!
Julia’s instructions called to gel the dessert in a mold before serving (I’ve included these instructions as well) but we decided to pour the dessert directly into the dessert bowls before letting them cool in the fridge. I thought the final product looked just lovely!
- As mentioned above, be very careful when thickening the custard over the heat. I would suggest using a candy thermometer.
- Be sure to follow the steps very carefully. The intricate steps may not make much sense at times, but there is method to the madness – have faith in Julia.
- Make sure the raspberry puree is mixed nicely through the dish. We didn’t do this very well, and I ended up with quite the raspberry jackpot in my serving at the expense of everyone else!
The attached recipe is pretty much Julia Child’s, but I reworded some of the directions. This is my attempt to make it as simple as possible while still emphasizing Julia’s technique.
The dessert turned out great – nice and light, and not too sweet. Or at least I think it turned out great – I had never had Bavarian cream before so am not exactly sure what Bavarian cream is supposed to taste like so there is a chance this was completely botched. Botched or perfect, I enjoyed it (and it looks so pretty!) But I won’t deny it, this dessert took some work and patience. But give it a try, just follow the steps carefully and see what happens!
(as Julia Child would say) Bon appetit,
Click here to view printable Word version of recipe:
Raspberry Bavarian Cream
Raspberry Bavarian Cream
500 grams frozen raspberries in light syrup
1 ½ Tbsp gelatin
½ cup whipping cream
5 eggs separated
2 tsp cornstarch
1 ½ cups boiling milk
1 cup + 1TBSP white sugar
Raspberries to garnish
- Thaw frozen raspberries. Reserve ½ cup liquid. Pour reserved liquid in bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside.
- Put remaining raspberries through a sieve to remove excess liquid. Reserve ¾ – 1 cup of the berries for the main dessert.
- Whip the cream until it doubles in volume. Set aside.
- Separate eggs.
- Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and whip to firm peaks. Set aside.
a. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with electric mixer.
b. Slowly add the sugar, beating continuously for a total of 2-3 minutes until mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon.
c. Beat in cornstarch.
d. Heat milk to boil on the stove. Pour milk into egg yolk mixture in a thin stream of droplets, beating as you pour (so as to not cook the eggs).
e. Pour mixture into saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring constantly until wooden spoon coats lightly. This happens around 170 degrees – you can use a candy thermometer. Do not overcook or egg yolks will scramble. Remove from heat.
- While still hot in saucepan, quickly beat raspberry-gelatin mixture into custard until gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
- Using a rubber spatula, delicately fold in the egg whites. Set over ice. Fold mixture with spatula frequently while mixture is cooling to keep it from separating.
- When mixture is cold and not quite set, fold in the whipped cream and measured raspberry puree.
- Rinse mold. Turn mixture into mold, cover with wax paper and chill 3-4 hours or overnight. Alternatively, pour into dessert bowls and chill.
- When removing dessert from mold, dip mold into hot water for 1 second. Run knife along edge of mold and then invert onto chilled serving platter.
- Garnish with raspberries