Food Flight

An aviator's culinary adventures

Julia Child’s Orange Bavarian Cream January 18, 2010

Filed under: Dessert — flyingbubble @ 7:34 pm
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While I’m certainly not embarking on a mission to “Master the Art of French Cooking” I plan to try all the recipes that sound good to me.  I’m not as drawn to the traditional flavors or French cuisine as Spanish/Mexican, Asian, and Indian flavors.  Of course, I have yet to find a dessert that I don’t like :).  My next installment from the dessert section of my Julia child book is the Bavarian Cream.  The authors (Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck) highly recommended the Orange flavored cream, so I chose the orange despite the strong temptation to try the chocolate version.  I went out to purchased the ingredients as soon as I decided to try the recipe but those shopping bags sat untouched on my counter for the next 3 days.  I was clearly just a little apprehensive about starting this elaborate recipe.  Yesterday, I finally decided to set aside a block of my day to master the art of Bavarian creams.  I followed every step of the recipe and used the correct amounts of all the ingredients.  Halfway through the process I realized that a sous chef could have made my life much easier.  I think most new “student” cooks can relate to the scene of pots bubbling on the stove, mixing bowl spinning in the stand mixer, ingredients, bowls, spoons, other utensils strewn about the kitchen like a bomb exploded.

That’s a completely unexaggerated description of my mom’s kitchen while I was working!  I was vigorously beating the orange custard in a pot on the stove and I turned around to check on the egg whites which should have been whisking into a beautiful meringue.  Instead of perfect soft peaks, I turned around to see egg white clouds flying from the bowl in all directions all over the kitchen!! Yikes, apparently the bowl I chose for the eggs white wasn’t large enough and I’m not sure how much egg I lost but the final product is short a few splatters of egg white fluff.  My dog Red was eager to help out of course and thoroughly licked the floor clean of egg whites.  Which is why it is important to have a dog around when you cook.  The other disastrous part of this recipe was folding the egg whites into the orange custard.  This was supposed to be done over ice so that the hot custard would cool and partially set as the egg whites were added.  I had one pot that I thought might be larger than the mixing bowl the custard was in, so I filled that pot with ice and placed the mixing bowl on top (it wouldn’t drop into the pot all the way).  I realized that the mixture wasn’t cooling off very quickly if at all so I decided to add water to the ice so it would reach and cool the mixing bowl.  Of course, not fulling thinking it through I placed the mixing bowl back in the pot and practically flooded the kitchen as all the excess water poured over the edges!  Fortunately, my mom was in the bedroom painting where she was sheltered from the chaotic scene in her kitchen.  Ultimately I got all the steps completed and poured the custard mix into the mold (a beautiful star shape from IKEA), and placed the orange molded goop in the refrigerator.

Then I turned around and was almost surprised at the messy kitchen despite having been the creator.  I immediately went to work on scrubing pots and dishes and loading the dish washer.  About half way through this effort, I discovered that the garbage disposal wasn’t draining and the excess water was filling up the other sink.  I guess I pushed a few too many orange peels down the drain and there is a clog in the pipes.  My dad explained over the phone how to undo the trap and check for a clog.  My mom and I spent most of the evening yesterday trying things to unclog the pipes and we poured half a bottle of liquid plumber down the sink to soak overnight.  It’s now almost dinnertime the next day and as I type this, my mom has a garden hose shoved up the pipe which leads into the wall.  We’re trying to flush out the clog so I’ve been running in and out of the house turning the water on for her.  What I’ve learned from this experience is that Bavarian Creams are difficult to cook!  Be patient with yourself and do your best to read the recipe and head and be fully prepared for all the steps you’ll have to take.  That should reduce the frantic rushing around which caused such a huge mess in my kitchen.  I think the cream is supposed to have an even color and texture, so please ignore the white spots and clear orange top coat to my Bavarian Cream :).  Enjoy the pictures and if you decide to try it, God speed.

Bavarois A L’Orange


2 large, fine, bright-skinned oranges

2 large sugar lumps

1.5 Tb (1.5 packages) gelatin

7 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp cornstarch

1 1/2 cups boiling milk

5 egg whites

1 Tb granulated sugar

1/2 cup chilled whipping cream

2 Tb orange liqueur


Wash and dry the oranges.  One at a time, rub the sugar lumps over them until all sides of each lump are impregnated with orange oil.  Mash the sugar lumps in the mixing bowl.  Grate the orange part of the skins into the bowl.

Squeeze the juice of the oranges into the cup , to make 1/2 to 3/4 cup of strained juice.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the orange juice and set aside to soften.

Following the procedure for creme anglaise, add the egg yolks to the orange sugar in the mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon.  Beat in the cornstarch.

Beat the milk in a thin stream of droplets into the egg yolk mixture.  Pour into saucepan and set over moderate heat.  Stir wooden spoon until mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon lightly (170 degrees).  Do not overheat or egg yolks will scramble.  Remove from heat and immediately add the orange juice and gelatin mixture, beating for a moment or two until gelatin has dissolved completely.  Rinse out the mixing bowl and pour in the custard.

Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the hot custard.  Set over the ice.  Fold delicately with spatula frequently while mixture is cooling, to keep it from separating.  When cold and almost but not quite set, proceed with recipe.

Beat cream over the preceding bowl of ice until cream has doubled in volume and beater leaves faint traces on the surface.  Fold the whipped cream and orange liqueur into the custard.

Rinse mold in cold water and shake out excess.  Turn the Bavarian cream into the mold.  Cover with the waxed paper.  Chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Remove waxed paper.  Dip mold in very hot water for 1 second ( a second or 2 longer for a porcelain mold) run knife around the edge of the cream, and reverse on a chilled serving platter. (May be unmolded and refrigerated several hours before serving.) Serve surrounded with sugared orange segments.


3 Responses to “Julia Child’s Orange Bavarian Cream”

  1. Dan Says:

    Wow. that looks delicious, much better than the soggy pizza I had for dinner tonight. As soon as I leave, the cool stuff starts. What up with that?

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