Beatrix Bakes Recipe: Chocolate Bavarian Pie
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Chocolate Bavarian pie
Makes One 24 cm (9½ in) pie for 8–12 people (or one lonely teen).
Takes From mixing the crumb to placing in the fridge, 1½ hours. Allow to set overnight.
Keeps For 3 days, chilled.
As a socially awkward suburban adolescent, I had a LOT of solitary time to fill. Most weekends I plugged the gaping hole of loneliness with the Saturday night ritual of watching the original 21 Jump Street TV series and eating frozen Sara Lee Chocolate Bavarian. When I recreated them for Beatrix, it hit an enormous evocative vein of memories for our customers! Seems like I wasn’t the only one using Sara Lee desserts as an emotional crutch.
Overshare aside, this version is a rich cocoa crumb base holding chocolate bavarois and vanilla crème fraîche. Worlds away from the mass produced. Worlds away from those teenage feelings.
Cocoa cookie crumb
100 g (3½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
70 g (2½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
40 g (1½ oz) Dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
2 g (1/16 oz/¼ teaspoon) fine sea salt
90 g (3 oz) unsalted butter
Cooking oil spray
370 g/ml (13 oz) full-fat (whole) milk
80 g (2¾ oz) dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa), chopped
90 g (3 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
10 g (¼ oz/3 teaspoons) dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
4 g (⅛ oz/heaped 1 teaspoon) gelatine powder
5 g (⅛ oz/1 teaspoon) cornflour (cornstarch)
5 g (⅛ oz/½ teaspoon) vanilla paste
2 g (1/16 oz/¼ teaspoon) fine sea salt
80 g (2¾ oz) egg yolk (from approx. 4 eggs)
300 g/ml (10½ oz) cream (35–45% milk fat)
250 g (9 oz) crème fraîche 5 g (⅛ oz/½ teaspoon) vanilla paste
½ × batch Chocolate rubble – dark chocolate (below)
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Lightly spray a baking tray with cooking oil spray and line with baking paper.
To make the cocoa cookie crumb, put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Melt the butter and pour it into the dry ingredients, then mix with your fingers to make what feels like cocoa sand. Scatter the crumb over the tray and bake for 25–30 minutes* until dry and crumbly, and cocoa aromas are filling the kitchen air.
Chocolate doughs and crumbs are tricky to cook, as they won’t show any signs of burning. They are done when the dough turns from shiny raw to matt dry.
Around halfway through the cocoa crumb baking, start the filling. Bring the milk to the boil in a small saucepan until there is a small ring of bubbles around the edge. Turn the heat off.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. You will pour the hot custard into this bowl to melt the chocolate, so choose a bowl large enough.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cocoa powder, gelatine, cornflour, vanilla and salt. Then weigh in the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Pour in half the hot milk and whisk well to combine, then whisk in the remainder. Return the mix to the pan and whisk constantly over a medium–high heat for about 2 minutes until the custard is thick and just starts to bubble.
Although the rules about gelatine state that it should never be boiled, it can be for this brief time.
Swiftly scrape the custard mix into the chocolate bowl and whisk well to release the steam and melt the chocolate. Set the custard base aside at room temperature to cool (40–60 minutes). Whisk occasionally and scrape down the side of the bowl from time to time. It will look mottled but that won’t be noticeable when it has set. Meanwhile, whip the cream to semi-stiff peaks and keep chilled, to fold in later. Crush the cocoa crumb in a food processor or mortar and pestle.
Lightly spray a fluted 24 cm (9½ in), 4 cm (1½ in) deep, loose-based tart tin with cooking oil spray. Line the base with a circle of baking paper. Rest the tin on a heavy baking tray (to slide in and out of the fridge without disrupting the loose bottom). Lightly press the crumb into the base only. Don’t compact the crumb too much – it needs to be ‘break-apart-able’ when cold.
To complete the filling, fold half of the whipped cream into the cool custard base until almost fully incorporated. Fold in the remaining cream and fold until the mix is a uniform chocolate brown colour.
One of the best techniques to understand in baking is bringing together two components at an ‘agreeable’ temperature and consistency. If we added the cream while the custard was too hot, the cold cream would melt and thin out the mix. If the custard was too firm before we added the cream, the two would not bind together – the mix would be chunky and streaky. So, the goal is to have both custard and cream very much the same.
Scrape onto the prepared crumb base – the filling should come to just under the top of the tin.** Smooth the top lightly and spray with a bare mist of cooking oil spray. Lightly press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the filling, to prevent a rubbery skin forming. Chill to set overnight.
To make the topping, whip the crème fraîche and vanilla to floppy peaks. Remove the plastic wrap and smooth the crème fraîche on top to completely fill the tin. Sprinkle with the chocolate rubble. Remove from the tin and serve chilled, with fond memories of 80s TV.
* If you burn the cocoa crumb, then sub in 200 g (7 oz) store-bought plain chocolate biscuits. Just add 50 g (1¾ oz) melted butter to increase moistness.
**The bavarois filling can be tricky, so if it does end up a bit deflated, add some extra crème fraîche on top.
Break 100 g (3½ oz) of any flavour (nice eating) chocolate into a mortar and crush with the pestle (or whiz them in a food processor) until you have small gravelly pieces. Sprinkle and done. Use white chocolate rubble on top of a fruity doughnut glaze, dark chocolate on top of Tart-a-misu, and milk chocolate rubble on the Banoffee custard pie.