This lovely and light dessert or breakfast dish is a modern take on the Bavarian, a classical preparation of a gelatin-thickened pudding with a lot of cream, sometimes eggs and just as often a shot of liqueur.
Here, less cream is used, and it’s cut with low-fat milk. Vanilla yogurt forms the base of the Bavarian, and a strawberry sauce provides a kick of acid and lots of bright fruity flavor. The individual Bavarians take minutes to make and can be formed in any small custard cups. Best of all, everything can be made in advance.
If you have vanilla beans on hand, add the scraped seeds of half of a bean to the milk-and-cream mixture before you heat it to give the custard a deeper vanilla flavor.
You’ll need 6 small custard cups (4-ounce or larger).
Frozen strawberries are preferable for the sauce; use fresh berries as a garnish.
Make ahead: The Bavarians need to set up in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. They can be made up to 2 days in advance; the sauce up to 3 or 4 days in advance.
Vanilla yogurt Bavarians with strawberry sauce
For the sauce
1 pound frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Bavarians
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup low-fat milk (2 percent)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope (3 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blueberries and/or small strawberries, for garnish (optional)
For the sauce: Combine the strawberries, brown sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Partially cover and cook until the berries have defrosted, then uncover and cook until the berries are soft, allowing the mixture to maintain a low boil. In all, the process will take about 25 minutes.
Whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl; add to the saucepan, stirring until the mixture comes back to a low boil. Remove from the heat to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then stir in the vanilla extract. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Allow the sauce to come to room temperature before serving.
For the Bavarians: Rinse the custard cups with cold water. Shake out the excess but do not dry.
Stir together the heavy cream, milk, granulated sugar and gelatin in a small saucepan. Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, then place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the gelatin and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Combine the yogurt and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Set the bowl on top of a dish towel (to keep it stationary). Slowly add the hot gelatin mixture, whisking as you work, and only until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly among the custard cups, using about 3 ounces for each dish. Refrigerate until set, 2 to 3 hours, then cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Run a round-edged knife around the outer edge of each Bavarian to release it, then place each cup in a shallow container of hot water for a minute or two to further loosen the custard. Invert each Bavarian on an individual plate, then surround each one with about 1/3 cup of the strawberry sauce. Garnish with the berries, if using.
Nutrition information per serving: Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful nutritional analysis.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, based, in part, on a recipe from Maida Heatter’s “Book of Great Desserts” (Knopf, 1965).