Monday, July 9, 2012

Peppermint Stick Barvarian Cream

Moving along with the all pink menu, Barvarian Cream,  Wikipedia tells us, is a dessert that originated in the 18th Century.   It used to be made in the days before refrigeration, by filling a mold with the gelled mixture and plunging the mixture into a bowl of cracked ice to get it to set. Wikipedia tells you hyper fancy cooks out there to decorate it with a "piping of creme chantilly." Well, isn't that nice?
Moving  back to the more prosaic realms of the 21st Century, this is a fantastic dessert, followed by a wonderful chocolate sauce. It does have a couple of tricky bits. One is the direction, "heat ..stirring constantly....until mixture thickens."   Well, I stirred for about 40 minutes with sweat rolling off my face and the mixture was marginally thicker than before, but not extremely thick.Finally, I just said the hell with it and put it in the refrigerator. Bob moved it to the freezer for an hour when it was still jiggling at  6:00  and guests were supposed to come at 6:30.   Information on just how thick the mixture was supposed to  be would have been welcome.  The other tricky bit is to allow enough time for the  whole thing to set.  Really, you are better off  making this the night before your dinner party.
There  is a third tricky  bit in making the all pink menu, namely making sure you have enough gelatin. I forgot to check how many envelopes were in the  box, and then forgot to buy more.  Bob  had to rush out on Saturday afternoon to Safeway to buy another box                                               
The directions say beat the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Don't do that. Beat them in a metal  bowl that will fit in one of your saucepans as a double boiler. It's much  better to cook eggs and milk mixtures  in a double boiler, rather than over direct  heat.

Peppermit Stick Barvarian Cream

1 envelope plus one and one-half teaspoons unflavored gelatin (say two envelopes)
1/3 cup cold water
6 egg  yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup finely crushed peppermind sticks or  candies (about six medium sixe candy canes; crushing can  be done easily in an electric blender. (Alternatively, put the candies in a plastic bag and beat them with a hammer.))
3/4    teaspoon peppermint essance ( you can buy this at Williams Sonoma.)
red food coloring
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped
Peppermint candies for garnish

1. Soak the gelatin in the water.
2. Beat the eggs, sugar and salt in a saucepan (See note.) until well blended. In another saucepan heat the milk and crushed peppermint candies until almost  boiling, stirring to dissolve the candy.
3. Gradually  beat the hot milk into the egg  yolk mixture. Heat over hot water or over low direct heatr, stirring continuously  until the mixture t hickens. Do not allow to  boil.
4. Stir in the softened gelatin and stir to dissolve. Set the mixture aside to cool. Stir in the peppermint essence     and the red food coloring., remembering that the cream will tone down the shade. (My Bavarian Cream was kind of a violent, Pepto-Bismole pink.)
5. Fold in the cream gently but thoroughly and pour into a six-cup mold. Chill four hours or overnight.  Unmold and decorate with  the candies and serve with chocolate sauce.
Makes  10 servings.


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