Word of Mouth: Bavarian

Bavarian (bah-vare'-ian), noun: A stirred custard that is mixed with gelatin and then lightened with whipped cream, poured into mold, and allowed to set until firm.

Here's another classic French dessert to try next time you're in the mood for something fancy!

Bavarians date back to the days of French chef Marie Antoine Carême toward the beginning of the 19th century. Although the bavarian is originally thought to be a Swiss dessert, Carême is credited with refining the dish and popularizing it.

This dessert is actually fairly simple to make! The base is a stirred custard, or "crème anglaise" - the same base we use for custard ice cream, in fact! Gelatin is added and the custard is stirred until it has cooled and has just started to thicken. Then whipped cream is folded into the base, and the whole mixture is poured into a mold and chilled until it has completely set.

The resulting texture is a cross between mousse and chiffon. It has a light airy texture, yet is smooth and creamy on the tongue. Almost anything can be added to the base to flavor the finished dish, from chocolate to fruit puree.

Charlottes are a classic variation on the molded bavarian. In this dessert, a high-sided mold is lined with lady fingers and the bavarian cream is poured in the middle.

If you're itching to give this dessert a try, take a look at these recipes:

Tangerine Bavarian from Epicurious (pictured above)
Classic Bavarian Cream from the Food Network
Choco-Berry Bavarian Cream from Hershey's

Have any of you ever made a bavarian?

Related: Basic Technique: How to Work with Gelatin

(Image: Epicurious)