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Bavarois is a terrifically simple French dessert that is basically just flavoured custard set with gelatin. It is especially suited to making in a domestic kitchen because all the work has been done in advance. While your guests are still grasping for superlatives to describe your main course, you spend 3 minutes in the kitchen plating up these luscious little sweets.

The flavour of buttermilk in this rendition of bavarois cuts through the richness of the eggs and cream and provides a tangy counterpoint to any accompaniments you serve with the dessert, which really should be simple. Think fresh berries, glass biscuits or almond wafers.

The key to this dessert is the wobble. If you tap the side of the plate, the bavarois should gently shudder, ensuring that it will dissolve in your mouth like a delicately flavoured puff of air. If not, you have used too much gelatin and hence will have set too hard. It is difficult to give an exact guide here, different gelatin has different setting properties, so my advice is, make this dessert once for your family or close friends, perfect it, then try it on those you want to impress. Which you most surely will


  • 50 gm (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 gelatin sheets
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup) whipped cream (35% butterfat)


    In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Add the buttermilk and stir to combine. In a saucepan that will fit the bowl snugly, bring to the boil 500 ml (2 cups) water.

    Soak the gelatin sheets in a little cold water. Place the buttermilk mixture over the simmering water and stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained and squeezed gelatin sheets. Strain this mixture into another bowl.

    Let the mixture cool completely, then fold in the whipped cream until thoroughly combined. Pour into 120 ml (½ cup) dariole moulds, or tea cups (makes about 5-6), or pour into one 600 ml (1 pint) bowl. Place in the refrigerator overnight to set.

    To serve, run a small hot knife around the inside of the dariole moulds and tap until they slide out onto a plate. If using one large bowl, dip into hot water for about 10 second before turning out onto a serving platter.

    A delicious accompaniment to this dessert; simply simmer some mixed berries with a tiny bit of sugar and water for 5 minutes until they collapse a little and the liquid has a lovely "berry" colour. Alternatively, you could just use fresh berries or fruit of your choice.

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