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Sep 30, 2007 05:05 PM

Julia Child: Desserts, Cakes, & Cookies

October 2007 Cookbook Author of the Month: Julia Child

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  1. Orange Bavarian Cream (Bavarois a l'Orange) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking--Volme 1

    I suppose this is an old-fashioned dessert, but I've always wanted to taste a Bavarian Cream. Julia said in this book that the orange flavor was her favorite, so I chose it to try. Sugar cubes were rubbed on 2 nice oranges until orange oil/color transferred to the cubes, then I zested both oranges and mixed zest with crushed cubes.
    Plain gelatin is mixed with orange juice--this is a jelled dessert--and while the gelatin dissolved I made a custard sauce, not hard but pay attention to her instructions.
    This coat-the-spoon custard (also called creme anglaise) gets mixed with the orange sugar and OJ mixture. That gets folded together with stiffly beaten sweetened egg whites. This is refrigerated until almost set, and then folded together with whipped cream that is flavored with orange liqueur. I used Cointreau, it's what I had. Then the mixture is chilled 'til firm in a mold. (My mold was a nice bowl-shaped bowl!)
    Time consuming and a little tricky because I'm not used to cooking 7 eggs yolks and hot milk together to make custard, it made a beautiful gentle creamy end product. Absolutely a subtle flavor, though--not even as orangey as an orange lollipop. I'm glad I satisfied my curiousity about what a "Bavarian Cream" is, I might make it again for a party or dinner. Julia decorated hers with sugar and liqueur sprinkled orange segments.
    She also (same book) has chocolate and almond variations, and berry puree variations.
    Any questions, just ask!

    2 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      Oh my goodness. What a blast from the past. I made the almond Bavarian cream more decades ago than I care to mention. Never made one again. My recollection, all these many years later, is that the flavor was too subtle and the texture uninteresting. Maybe I'm not remembering it correctly, but what I recall is something more like Jello than "creamy." Have I forgotten? Should I try again?

      1. re: JoanN

        JoanN, the stuff IS Jello, but made from milk/cream/meringue instead of water--so yes it's creamy but it's also jelled--holds an edge/design. And like I said, the flavor is quite mild. I don't think it's the rich sort of dessert people serve anymore, but it's soft, slightly structured, sweet, bland-with-a-hint-of-citrus, not as cold as ice cream but chilled, and pretty. Old fashioned but likable.

    2. Has anyone tackled Julia's Tarte Tatin? I was planning on doing so tonight but read another blog where they said the results were pretty disastrous.

      10 Replies
      1. re: girlwonder88

        I've made it from TWC almost every Thanksgiving for the past ten years and love it. and it is actually not that complicated. I'm guessing you have the MAFC recipe - I'd have to check on how they differ. Could you link to the blog with the disasterous results - I might be able to figure out what went wrong.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I tried to find it again but can't. He said he used Macintosh apples and they didn't hold up well-not sure if that was his only problem. ETA: Just looked up the TWC recipe in another blog and she uses puff pastry there, instead of short crust.

          1. re: girlwonder88

            Definitely use Golden Delicious - I'm sure that using the Macintosh was a big problem. She notes in TWC that the right apple is "crucial here" and refers to another page, which says that the "old faithfuls" are Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths, and that other varities are Baldwin, Northern Spy, Newton Pippin, Rhode Island Greening, Rome Beauty, and York Imperial.

            I've always used Golden Delicious, but I do use a couple more apples that she calls for.

            1. re: girlwonder88

              Definitely use puff pastry! I like it better than pate brisee. The only tricky part is reversing the tart from the frying pan onto the plate - especially if you're using a cast iron pan. Julia uses pate brisee in MAOFC, I think. I've made it lots of times with purchased puff pastry. It comes out perfectly. I've always used the Roux Brothers' Cookbook for TT.

          2. re: girlwonder88

            Mastering the Art recommends making it in a pyrex dish so you can see when it's done. But I don't think I've ever seen a 9 or 10-inch pyrex dish with 2 to 2-1/2 inch sides. By From Julia Child's Kitchen, she's recommending a 9-inch frying pan and by The Way to Cook she's specifying cast iron. Without seeing the blog, I'd guess it was the pan, rather than the recipe, that was the problem. Probably not steep enough sided to contain the apples and the bubbling juices.

            1. re: JoanN

              Interesting - I've not traced the recipes. I've always used the cast iron pan, with great results. With the Pyrex - was any of it done on the stove top?

              1. re: MMRuth

                No, it wasn't. In MtAoFC she places the short crust on top of uncooked apples and then puts it in the oven. Clearly MtAoFC is not the go-to on this one.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Sounds like it - I promised someone else that I'd paraphrase TWC Tarte Tatin recipe - will get to work on it and post tomorrow - it's quite long! And right now my dog is sitting on top of TWC (I could, of course, move him - grin).

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I was surprised by the Pyrex recommendation myself-I've always thought of it as a cast-iron dish. On the other hand, I like the idea of short pastry more than puff pastry. Hmmm.

                    1. re: girlwonder88

                      Definitely - the pate brisee recipe in TWC is very straightforward and I'm not much of pie/pastry baker.

          3. Here's a link to a paraphrasing of the Tarte Tatin recipe in TWC:


            I'll add the pate brisee recipe later.