Monday, October 11, 2010

Leftover cream

I had some cream sitting in the fridge, left over from the caramel sauce I made a week or two ago. The surprisingly distant 'best before' date on the cream gave me a couple of weeks to come up with a way to use it, but (typically) I just put it in the fridge and forgot about it. Glancing at the bottle yesterday afternoon, I realised I was at the point where I'd have to either use it or throw it out.

I dug through the Edmonds book, looking for a recipe that uses cream. Eventually I landed on ginger bavarian cream (p202) one of the many gelatine-based puddings in the cold desserts chapter.

The recipe used a full bottle of cream, but since I had already used half the bottle, I figured I could make a half mix. Considering I would be eating it all myself, a full recipe would be a bad idea anyway!

I began by beating an egg yolk with sugar, adding milk and putting the resulting mixture in a makeshift double boiler. The plan was to stir this mixture until it got thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Well, the foamy, scummy stuff on the top was thick enough to do that right from the start, but I assumed I had to wait until the main eggy mixture thickened up.

Well, I stood, stirring, for quite some time. The mixture showed no sign at all of thickening. Eventually I decided it wasn't going to get any thicker, and moved on with the recipe. I had prepared some gelatine in a similar way as for the cheesecake - add to water, leave to swell, then dissolve over hot water. By the time I'd given up on the egg mixture, the gelatine was ready. I stirred it through and put the bowl in the fridge to cool.

While the egg mixture was chilling, I chopped up some crystallised ginger, and beat some cream. The recipe didn't say to whip the cream, just to 'beat until thick', so I stopped just short of whipping it.

When this was done, I checked the egg mixture. I was supposed to chill it until it reached 'the consistency of raw egg white'. Well, around the edges it was thicker than that, but in the middle it was still runny. What to do? I put it back in for another few minutes.

When I checked it again, it was much the same - thick at the edges and thin in the middle. I couldn't see how I was going to get an overall 'egg white' consistency, so I just shrugged and decided to use it as was. I added the cream and chopped ginger, folded it through, and poured the mixture into glasses. The recipe indicates that a mould should be used here, but I don't have one, so I had to use what I had.

I could see right away that my attempt at ginger bavarian cream hadn't been very successful. The egg mixture was too thin to fold well through the cream, and the cream didn't have enough body to prevent the chunks of ginger from falling immediately to the bottom of the glass.

Later in the evening, I took the ginger bavarian cream out and tried it. It wasn't disgusting, but it clearly hadn't come out the way it should. The mixture had separated into a top layer of thick, sweetened cream; lower down was a custardy mixture; and the bottom of the glass was a solid lump of ginger bits.

This evening, I came home and filmed myself making my way through the second glass. It's a bit blurry on the details, but you get the idea:

I'm pretty sure I did this all wrong from start to finish. My original egg mixture didn't thicken enough; I didn't let it chill long enough for all the runniness to begin setting, and I suspect it would have been better if I had let my cream get to whipped consistency. Never mind, I still have to do citrus bavarian cream, so we'll see if I do any better with that!

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