Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh, What Fun?
What’s cooking? Strawberry Bavarian Cream

One of these holiday seasons, I’m going to figure out how to take it easy and enjoy myself. I was just complaining to my husband that I don’t know how I’m going to finish all the things I have to do before heading to New Jersey for the actual holiday. There’s the 12 dozen cookies I have to finish decorating for the neighborhood party, and the labels I have to pick up for the preserves I’m giving to my friends at a small holiday get-together next week – for which I still haven’t figured out what to serve. And the family Christmas cards... Yikes. My husband of course reminded me that these are all self-imposed crises. He’s so helpful.

So maybe the thrill of the season is just that – spreading joy to friends and family and neighbors, even if it just about kills me in the process.

You’ll understand, then, if I don’t ramble on in my usual way. I do, however, have a small present for you: a great recipe for a dessert that you will love for this season – or any other, for that matter. It takes almost no time to make – maybe half an hour (really!) if you have all the ingredients handy. It’s pretty. And festive. And it’s realllly tasty. Cold and creamy, with a nice strawberry flavor. It comes from the original (1961) edition of Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook, which was one of the first cookbooks I ever bought after I moved to New York in 1969. God knows why I thought I was proficient enough for his recipes when I didn't know how to cook a hamburger, and I don’t know how I managed to find this one among the 719 pages of almost pure text. But it’s so easy and simple that I never ever screwed it up. Even at the beginning.

For a crowd, you can serve it in a nice crystal bowl and let people dish it out for themselves. (However I serve it, I like to garnish it with a sliced strawberry and some mint leaves.) I’ve served it in individual ramekins to small dinner parties, and I’ve taken it to my book group in those adorable cordial-sized glasses (garnished with tiny cubes of strawberry). In fact, now that I think of it, I’ll serve it to my friends next week.

For the holidays, this will not be the end of my entertaining posts – or rather, my posts about entertaining. If they’re entertaining posts, well, that’ll just be a bonus.

Happy holidays!

Strawberry Bavarian Cream 

Adapted from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook (1961)

1 10-ounce package frozen strawberries
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water or milk
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 heaping cup crushed ice
1 cup heavy cream

Defrost the berries and drain as much of the juice (up to ½ cup) as you can from the bag. If you can’t get a full half-cup, add enough of either cranberry or pomegranate juice – something red and sweet is best, but water will do – to reach ½ cup. Heat the juice to a simmer.

Add the hot juice, the gelatin, and the cold water (or milk) to a blender, cover and process 40 seconds.
Add the sugar and eggs to the liquids, cover and process 5 seconds.

Add the berries, cover and blend 5 more seconds.

Add the ice and cream, cover and blend a final 20 seconds.

This will set very quickly, so immediately pour into either an oiled 4-cup mold (if you plan to unmold it for serving) or a nice glass serving dish or individual serving dishes.


  1. That was also one of my very first cookbooks. Given to me by my new mother-in-law. She had high aspirations for me.
    I think I may have even made this! Way back. But thanks for the reminder. I'll surely try it again. Looks yummy.And the FLA strawberries are just coming in and are quite delish.

    1. I had almost forgotten about it -- don't even know what brought it to mind. I'll have to look for those FL strawberries. Merry Christmas, G!