Bavarian Cream is basically a pastry cream or custard but it is thickened with gelatin. Oddly enough, it originated in France but was made to appease some highfalutin Bavarians who were visiting a certain chef in France, hence the name. It’s not an easy thing to find at your local restaurants or bakeries either, at least in my minimal search. Consequently, I knew I’d have to create this myself. Nothing like a nice little cooking challenge for a Sunday afternoon.
The internet popped up a few recipes for Bavarian Cream Pie and I went, as is my modus operandi, with the easiest. That came from Allrecipes.com. It’s not my favorite website. It’s kind of clunky and I’m never quite sure about how the recipes will come out, but it works in a pinch. Their website does pop up in the top results of any recipe search, so they must be a good source (or they are dumping money into their Google optimization). This recipe looked easy enough and the only ingredients I needed to acquire was the plain gelatin and a pie crust. Plus, the user that posted the recipe was Ethel Mertz. I figured if this recipe can make even crotchety old Fred Mertz happy, then it must be good. Maybe I’ll bring a piece to the Club Tropicana later for Ricky.
The recipe said to cook a pie crust and gave me very little info other than that on what kind of pie crust to make. I thought about using the typical pie dough crust, but my vision of a Bavarian Cream Pie pictured something else. I feel the pie dough crust is more for fruit pies or other non-cream pies. I could have gone with the Graham Cracker crust – a classic, but it wasn’t exactly what I was imagining either. Then I found a Nilla Wafer crust which I did not know was a thing and I thought that would be perfect (and no cooking either). I picked one up along with the gelatin (which were conveniently in the same aisle in Clement’s).
Lola had just made a Banana Cream Pie for Thanksgiving and after watching her make it, I realized that she made a pie very similar to a Bavarian Cream Pie. However, for her pie, she used French Cream, not Bavarian. The difference being the gelatin. But at least I had a visual reference for the patience this recipe would take. It’s easy in theory. You soak the gelatin in cold water, you scald the milk, then you mix together the sugar and corn starch along with some eggs. When you have all those things ready, you slowly mix them together (stirring constantly), then you heat them up using a double boiler. When it is done, you add in some vanilla ice cream and then let it cool. When it is completely cooled, you fold in some whipped cream and some vanilla, pour it into the pie crust and then let it set in your refrigerator. When it’s ready, you top it with more whipped cream for serving.
Here’s where I went wrong (I think): I didn’t let it cook long enough and I didn’t let it set long enough. When I was cooking it, the recipe said to cook it “until it thickens and coats the spoon.” It definitely thickened but I am not sure about the spoon part. I think it did. I kept lifting up the spoon and when I looked at the back of it, it definitely had the cream on there, but I’m just not sure how much it should have had on there. I think if I had given it another five or ten minutes over the heat it would have come out a little better. It was also supposed to set for at least four hours but impatient me cut into it about three hours in. It was set, but could still set a little more. Maybe it will have a better texture today after it’s been in the fridge overnight.
I ate a piece while watching The Walking Dead (which is kind of boring this year, am I right?) The pie was good. I couldn’t cut the picture perfect pie piece where it is perfectly triangular and you can see the crust, Bavarian Cream and whipped cream in three delicious layers. That’s always a little frustrating especially when you end up with a plop of pie on your plate. Still tastes the same, but it has the slightest hint of failure in every bite. The pie crust was a good choice and complemented the vanilla flavoring throughout and also gave it some crunch which it really needed. I think it will be better on Monday, but all things considered, the pie was really not bad at all. It’s like any custard or cream pie – a sweet pudding in your mouth. I am not sure if I would enter this one into the Pie Contest, but it was definitely a tasty treat for a Sunday night while watching zombies walking over bridges. And it was certainly a fine way to celebrate Bavarian Cream Pie Day.
Next Up: National French Toast Day