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Dinner Tonight! | Learning to Cook

The Only Dessert You'll Ever Need

July 04, 2001|MARION CUNNINGHAM | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

If you learn to make this Bavarian Cream, you really will never need any other dessert recipe. This gets raves from my guests every time it's served and it can be designed to suit any season.

At this time of year, you can simply serve it with berries or soft ripe stone fruits.

In cool weather, my favorite way to serve it is with Rich Butterscotch Sauce. This sauce keeps indefinitely in a covered jar in the refrigerator and it, too, has some versatility. Serve it over poached pears or baked bananas, or just a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The most important part of making a Bavarian Cream is to be careful not to let the milk boil. Heat the milk just until the bubbles form around the outside of the pan.

Bavarian Cream

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes plus 3 hours chilling

1/4 cup cold water

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whipping cream

Put the cold water in a small cup or bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin into the water and stir to blend. Let it sit until the gelatin has softened, about 5 minutes. (It can sit longer, if necessary.)

Place the yolks in a bowl and use a whisk or fork to briskly stir and blend. Slowly add the sugar to the yolks and continue to stir until well-mixed.

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stand right by the stove and watch for a circle of tiny bubbles to form around the outside edge of the milk. The milk should be hot, but not boiling.

Pour the yolk mixture into the hot milk, add the softened gelatin and stir with a large spoon or whisk to blend well. Cook, stirring slowly but constantly, for 3 or 4 minutes, and tilt the pan to see if there is a thin coat of custard on the bottom that doesn't flow as readily as the rest of the custard. If so, reduce the heat; don't let the custard boil. It is better to remove it too soon rather than too late. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the custard into a bowl and refrigerate just long enough for it to set up and be thick and slurpy, about 30 minutes.

Beat the cream only until it holds soft peaks. If it is too stiff, it will make a too-firm cream. Fold the whipped cream into the custard. Spoon it into a mold or bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate 3 hours or until time to serve.

6 servings. Each serving: 241 calories; 36 mg sodium; 183 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0 fiber.

Rich Butterscotch Sauce

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup whipping cream

Mix the sugar, butter, and cream in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is melted and smoothly combined, about 5 minutes.

Set aside or cool and refrigerate in a tightly covered jar. If the sauce seems a little thicker than desired, thin it with a little milk.

About 1 cup. Each 1/4-cup serving: 391 calories; 254 mg sodium; 83 mg cholesterol; 29 grams fat; 18 grams saturated fat; 36 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0 fiber.

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