Vanilla Bavarian

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Today’s recipe comes from this big ol’ cookbook, I  Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot. It’s an English translation of what is basically the encyclopedia of French cooking. I both like and dislike this book. I like how much it includes and the different variations of recipes, what I dislike is how short the recipes are.

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Some of these recipes are rather technical, it being French cooking and all, and I find myself wishing for more instruction. I often jump into a recipe not entirely certain it will turn out or if I’m doing it right. Today’s recipe is no exception. However, my attempt was successful, and I have tried to fill in the gaps where I wish the original recipe had.

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Today’s recipe is Vanilla Bavarian (Creme Bavaroise A La Vinille), contrary to what the name says, this is not a recipe for Bavarian creme. This is essentially a creme anglaise (the custard used in creme brulee) that has been thickened. Trust me, you’re going to love it.  A decadent dessert, worth the effort, and perfect with fresh berries.

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Vanilla Bavarian

From I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c heavy cream

Directions:

First separate your eggs. Put the egg yolks in a bowl that can be used in a double boiler. What to do with all of those egg whites? I freeze mine individually in cupcake tins so that I can use them for other recipes in the future.

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Next get the gelatin set up; empty the three packets into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water. Give it a quick stir with a fork to combine and then set aside. Wash the fork immediately (trust me).

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Now it’s time to start making the creme anglaise. In a medium-sized pot whisk together the milk, sugar, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. While the milk heats up, whisk the mixture every once in a while to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Now, when I say bring to a simmer, I mean a simmer, not a boil, you do not want to get your milk too hot or it will curddle your egg yolk during the next step. You have been warned.

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Once the milk is simmering, pour it into a tall measuring cup with a spout. Start pouring the milk SLOWLY into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking the mixture constantly. Continue whisking until the milk and egg yolks are combined and slightly frothy.

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Put the mixture on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Keep that heat low-medium (this will depend on your stove, if you have gas keep it on low, I have gas so I had my temperature set at a medium heat).

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The idea is you want to gradually thicken your creme angliase and do NOT let it boil. Stir the mixture constantly. The creme anglaise is finished when it coats the back of a spoon. Be patient with this one, it can take several minutes depending on your stove.

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Pour the creme anglaise through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the gelatin to the mixture while it is still hot. If your gelatin is a solid disk like mine was, this is ok, the hot mixture will dissolve it.

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Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. While it is cooling whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

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Once the creme anglaise is cool, gently fold the whipped creme into the mixture. Do this slowly, working in batches of 1/3 of the whipped creme at a time.

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Once the mixture is completely combined pour it into a mold. Put into the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours. You could use small individual molds, or one large one like a round cake pan or a bunt pan. You could also put into fancy glasses.

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After 3 hours remove from the mold and serve with fresh berries.

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Vanilla Bavarian

From I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c heavy cream

Directions:

First separate your eggs. Put the egg yolks in a bowl that can be used in a double boiler. Next get the gelatin set up; empty the three packets into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water. Give it a quick stir with a fork to combine and then set aside. Wash the fork immediately (trust me).

In a medium-sized pot whisk together the milk, sugar, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. While the milk heats up, whisk the mixture every once in a while to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Once the milk is simmering, pour it into a tall measuring cup with a spout. Start pouring the milk SLOWLY into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking the mixture constantly. Continue whisking until the milk and egg yolks are combined and slightly frothy.

Put the mixture on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Keep that heat low-medium (this will depend on your stove, if you have gas keep it on low, I have gas so I had my temperature set at a medium heat). This will gradually thicken the creme anglaise and do NOT let it boil. Stir the mixture constantly. The creme anglaise is finished when it coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the creme anglaise through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the gelatin to the mixture while it is still hot.

Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. While it is cooling whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Once the creme anglaise is cool, gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture. Do this slowly, working in batches of 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time.

Once the mixture is completely combined pour it into a mold. Put into the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours. You could use small individual molds, or one large one like a round cake pan or a bundt pan. You could also put into fancy glasses.

After 3 hours remove from the mold and serve with fresh berries.

Move Over Pie: Tartes are Taking Over!

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*This article originally posted on www.Somerville.Patch.com*

The Tarte Tatin is a dessert that never fails to impress.

Looking for a way to dress up your fruit pies? Enter the Tarte Tatin. This upside down pie featuring fruit baked in a caramel sauce is a classic dessert that dates back to the late 1800’s from the Sologne region of France. This dessert both tastes delightful and will impress any hungry dinner guest awaiting the final course.

To begin, select your favorite pie crust recipe. Cut your recipe in half, as you will only need 1 crust for this tarte. When making your dough add 1 tsp of lemon zest and set it aside to chill while preparing the rest of the pie.

Now it’s time to prep the fruit. This pie is tradionally made with apples—if you choose to use apples it is important to use firm apples that will hold up in high heat, such as the Golden Delicious. Baking apples will turn to mush by the time the baking is finished.

Pears are a yummy alternative to apples and yield a pie that both looks dramatic and tastes delightful. If using pears, be sure to select pears that are of medium firmness. If they are too firm you will have a difficult time peeling and slicing them, and the tarte will not have a big flavor. If the pears are too ripe, they will not hold up well in high heat, so be sure to select 4-5 pears that are only slightly firm.

Peel the pears, slice them in half length-wise and take out the seeds and cores with a spoon. Soak the pear halves in cool water with a tsp of lemon juice while slicing the rest of the fruit; this will keep the fruit from turning brown.

This tarte looks lovely with the pears sliced in half but for a more dramatic effect turn the pear halves into fans. To do this place the pear half on a cutting board with the rounded side facing up. To create the fan effect you need to make slices without completely separating them from each other. Make 5 slices lengthwise that start about ½ an inch down from the very tip of the pear. Return the pears to the water and lemon juice mixture.

Once all the pears are sliced, it’s time to preheat the oven to 425 and begin to make the caramel. To do this, you will need a large skillet that can later be placed in the oven (no plastic handles). In the skillet combine 1 cup of granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons of butter, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice over medium high heat. Stir together occasionally until the butter melts and the mixture begins to boil.

Gently add the fruit to the skillet, starting with the rounded side facing down in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Next, carefully turn the pears over to cook the other side for 5 minutes. Flip the pears again and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the mixture has browned and begun to caramelize. Please note that at this point the caramel mixture is extremely hot (somewhere around 200 degrees), so be very careful when flipping the pears to not splatter or burn your fingers. If you find that the sugar is browning too quickly while cooking the pears reduce the heat slightly.

While the pears are cooking in the skillet take out your pie dough and roll it out thinly so it is large enough to cover the top of your skillet (suggestion: if your skillet has a lid use this to measure). Once the pears are done cooking in the skillet and the mixture has begun to caremelize remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the rolled out pie dough to cover the pears in the skillet. Using a wooden spoon tuck the edges of the pie crust around the inside edge of the skillet to form a rim for when the pie is taken out of the pan. Cut slits in the dough to form vents to allow steam to escape and place in the oven to bake for 25 mintues or until the crust is golden brown.

Allow the skillet to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before demolding the tarte. When it comes to removing the pie, it is no time to be shy or hesitate; be bold! Take a serving platter or plate and cover the top of the skillet, then quickly flip the skillet over to invert the the tarte and remove the skillet. Put the platter on the wire cooling rack for 30 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Tarte Tatin summer edition; this tarte can also be made with peaches. If using peaches peel the skin off the peaches and cut into halves. When cooking the fruit in the skillet cook for 2-3 minutes on each side rather than 5 minutes.


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Pear Tarte Tatin

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4-5 firm pears
  • 1 c of granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice

Directions:

Peel the pears, slice them in half length-wise and take out the seeds and cores with a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 435 degrees. Heat a large skillet or oven-safe pan over medium-high heat and add the sugar, butter, and lemon juice to the pan. Stir together occasionally until the butter melts and the mixture begins to boil.

Gently add the fruit to the skillet, starting with the rounded side facing down in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Next, carefully turn the pears over to cook the other side for 5 minutes. Flip the pears again and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the mixture has browned and begun to caramelize. If you find that the sugar is browning too quickly while cooking the pears reduce the heat slightly.

While the pears are cooking in the skillet take out your pie dough and roll it out thinly so it is large enough to cover the top of your skillet (tip: if your skillet has a lid use this to measure).

Once the pears are done cooking in the skillet remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the rolled out pie dough to cover the pears in the skillet. Using a wooden spoon tuck the edges of the pie crust around the inside edge of the skillet to form a rim for when the pie is taken out of the pan. Cut slits in the dough to form vents to allow steam to escape and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Allow the skillet to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before demolding the tarte. When it comes to removing the pie, it is no time to be shy or hesitate; be bold! Take a serving platter or plate and cover the top of the skillet, then quickly flip the skillet over to invert the the tarte and remove the skillet. Put the platter on the wire cooling rack for 30 minutes.