Bavarois is a classic French dessert that’s usually paired with coffee.
The name comes from the German word “bauer,” which means farmer.
As such, it was traditionally prepared by farmers’ wives who were tasked with keeping cows on their farms.
The original version of this dessert consisted of whipped egg whites folded into heavy cream before being baked until set.
This method is still used today.
But modern cooks have found ways to make the dish more interesting than its humble beginnings suggest.
For example, instead of using only one type of cream, you could use three different ones—heavy cream, milk, and whipping cream—as well as one type of flavoring agent (such as chocolate) and two types of alcohol (like brandy and cognac).
You’ll find recipes like these throughout France, but there’s no single official version.
In fact, bavarois has changed considerably over time.
You might even see versions that include marshmallow and other confectionery items.
Let’s take a look at what makes up a bavarois and how it’s made.
What Is Bavarois?
Bavarois is the French term for a sweet custard-based dessert made with eggs, sugar, and gelatin.
It’s not quite a mousse because it contains less air, and it isn’t quite a pudding because it doesn’t contain flour.
Instead, it’s somewhere between those two desserts.
A bavarois is made of thickened hot dairy product mixed with sugar and then chilled.
Afterward, an additional ingredient may be added (e.g., vanilla extract or liquor), and sometimes a small amount of ground nuts or cocoa powder may also be included.
There are many different versions of bavarois, including ones made with yogurt, sour cream, and mascarpone cheese.
Some bavarois recipes call for baking them in individual cups rather than large ramekins or dishes.
Bavarois can be eaten warm out of the oven, room temperature, or cold.
They’re also great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch!
How Is Bavarois Made?
To create a basic bavarois recipe, you need four main components: eggs, sugar, gelatin, and dairy products.
These are combined together and stirred thoroughly so they mix evenly.
Next, the mixture is placed in a container (a glass bowl works best, but any heatproof dish will do) and refrigerated until completely cool.
After the mixture has solidified, you add another component to flavor and color it.
If you want to add a liquid element to your bavarois, choose something that won’t affect the texture of your finished dessert.
Alcoholic liquids work particularly well here.
Liquor, wine, vinegar, orange juice, and lemon juice all fit nicely into this category.
And if you prefer nonalcoholic flavors, consider adding fresh fruit purees or extracts.
When choosing a base flavor for your bavarois, keep in mind that certain fruits pair better than others with alcohols and liquors.
For instance, berries tend to go very well with dark spirits while citrus juices seem to complement light wines.
So when pairing different elements, think carefully about how each one will taste.
Once everything has been properly blended together, pour the mixture into a mold lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
Cover the whole thing tightly with foil or cling film.
Then remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until completely firm.
Once the bavarois is cooled down, it’s ready to serve.
What Are The Ingredients In Bavarois?
These are just the basics for a traditional bavarois.
Depending on where you live, you may encounter slightly modified versions of the recipe that incorporate other ingredients.
But don’t worry too much about it unless you really enjoy experimenting with new foods.
Just remember to stick closely to the guidelines listed below.
If you want to spice things up, try adding a few drops of peppermint oil, mint leaves, or spearmint leaves to your bavarois.
Or stir in a pinch or two of finely grated nutmeg.
Some chefs recommend freezing bavarois prior to serving, but I’m personally against this technique since it changes the consistency of the dessert.
However, you can certainly freeze a homemade bavarois, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place it in the freezer.
Let it thaw slowly at room temperature for several hours before unwrapping and serving.
What Is The History Of Bavarois?
Although bavarois is typically considered a French dessert, it actually originated in Germany.
According to legend, bakers in Munich accidentally overcooked a batch of bavarois during World War II.
When they brought the mistake back to their bakery, the customers loved it and named it after the Bavarian region of Germany.
Today, most people agree that the original bavarois came from Munich.
However, we know that this story probably wasn’t true.
Historians believe that bavarois didn’t become popular among Germans until around 1840.
In 1839, a cookbook called Le Cuisinier moderne et délicat published in Paris featured a recipe for bavarois with almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts.
This version is still widely consumed in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Turkey.
In addition to all of the above, there are many other theories regarding the origins of bavarois.
Some say it evolved from a medieval Italian dessert known as gelato di frutta.
Others claim that it’s based on a similar dessert from Alsace called kugelhopf.
There are even stories that connect bavarois to the Middle Eastern dessert halva.
But regardless of the truth behind the history of bavarois, it’s safe to say that it became extremely popular across Europe in the 1800s and 1900s.
By the 1920s, it was already one of France’s top desserts.
How Did The Recipe For Bavarois Come About?
As far as we know, the first written record of a recipe for bavarois dates back to 1578.
It appears in the book L’Art de Vérifier les Comptés by Pierre Gassendi.
Although he describes a number of different desserts, he includes bavarois in his list of favorites.
At this point, little else is known about the creation of this iconic dessert.
We do know that it was originally made without gelatin.
Gelatin was discovered in the early 19th century, and bavarois makers quickly realized that it would help stabilize the dessert.
However, before gelatin was available, cooks had to rely on animal bones to achieve the same effect.
Unfortunately, this process produced a lot of waste, so many chefs stopped using bone broth altogether.
Eventually, gelatin replaced animal bones and was incorporated into bavarois recipes.
Today, bavarois is typically made with either powdered gelatin or sheets of gelatin.
Both methods produce a delicious result, although sheeted gelatin tends to give the dessert a smoother feel.
Because of the high quality of gelatin, bavarois is now a staple in many restaurants.
Many hotels and resorts offer it as part of the dining experience.
Who Created The Recipe For Bavarois?
No one knows for sure who invented the recipe for bavarois.
However, there are plenty of legends surrounding its creator.
One claims that the chef who introduced the dish to Paris was a woman named Marie Duplessis.
She supposedly lived in the late 1700s.
Another tale states that she worked in Parisian kitchens during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Other historians speculate that the dish was inspired by a 17th-century Austrian pastry known as kugelhopf.
Regardless of its exact origins, it seems likely that someone living in France developed the recipe sometime during the 19th century.
It’s possible that the recipe was passed along orally through generations of bakers.
Or maybe it was cooked up by a group of friends or family members who liked to get together for fun.Whatever the case may be, no one is exactly sure who created the recipe for bavarois.
But we do know that it was definitely made famous by French chefs.
What is the origin of the word “bavarois”?
This delightful dessert goes by a variety of names, including Bavarian cream, Bavarese, and bavaroise.
Although the latter two terms refer to the country of Bavaria, bavarois is the proper spelling of the word.
According to one theory, the word bavarois began as bovaraeus.
Apparently, the suffix -ous was mistakenly dropped from the end of this Latin word.
- 1 Mixing bowl
- 1 Electric mixer
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Large Heat-proof bowl
- 375 ml milk 1 1/2 cups
- 4 egg yolks
- 70 g caster sugar 1/3 cup
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 3 tsp gelatine powder
- 375 ml thickened cream 1 1/2 cups
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 1 tsp boiling water
- Chocolate curls to serve
- 55 g caster sugar 1/4 cup
- 60 ml water 1/4 cup
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla bean paste with a balloon whisk until thick and pale. Whisk the milk into the egg mixture gradually. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a large heatproof bowl using a fine sieve.
- Fill a small heatproof bowl halfway with cold water. Sprinkle with gelatine. Place the bowl in a saucepan half-filled with hot water, working quickly. Whisk with a fork until the gelatine dissolves. Incorporate the gelatine mixture into the custard mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the mixture begins to thicken (do not allow it to set).
- In a mixing bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the custard mixture with a large metal spoon. In a small bowl, combine the coffee and boiling water and stir until the coffee dissolves. 250ml (1 cup) of the custard mixture should be added to the coffee mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the remaining custard mixture among six 200ml dariole molds. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 5mm round nozzle with the coffee custard. Squeeze a small amount of coffee custard into the center of the vanilla custards with the piping nozzle. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight until set.
- To make the mocha sauce, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, water, cocoa, and coffee until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the syrup thickens slightly. Allow to cool completely.
- Dip the molds in hot water for 10 seconds before transferring to serving dishes. Drizzle with mocha sauce and garnish with chocolate curls.