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HOLIDAY: National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

A fruit-topped Bavarian cream pie. Photo by
J. Java | Fotolia.

 

November 27 is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Before there was Bavarian Cream Pie, there was crème bavarois—Bavarian Cream, an early 19th century dessert credited to the great chef, Marie-Antoine Carême.

While the connection to Bavaria is obscure, Carême created great dinners for royalty and others at the top of society, so the dessert may well have been created to honor guests from Bavaria.

Bavarian Cream (without the pie) is a mold of crème anglaise (a pourable custard sauce) combined with gelatin, beaten egg whites, and lightly whipped cream.

It can be flavored with vanilla, fruit purée, chocolate, liqueur, etc. It was originally poured into a decorative mold, chilled and unmolded. See the photo below of a simple molded Bavarian cream—no elaborate mold.

As with custard and other foods originally served in a dish, at a point lost in history, some chef poured the cream into a pie crust to create Bavarian Cream Pie.

 

Bavarian cream pie is one of a variety of creme pies. Simply stated, the cream—be it banana cream, Bavarian cream, chocolate cream, coconut cream, whipped cream, etc.—is added to a pie shell. It can be served unadorned, topped with shaved chocolate or chocolate sauce, or, as in the photo, topped with fruit.

BUT NOTE: Real Bavarian cream does not pipe smoothly because of its gelatin. In the U.S., products called “Bavarian cream” pie (and doughnuts) are actually filled with a version of a crème pâtissière (pastry cream)—so they’re “faux” Bavarian Cream Pie.

 

CREAM VS. CREME

What’s the difference between creme and cream? Why do some people write “creme pie” instead of “creme pie?”

Crème, pronounced KREHM, is the French word for cream. In America, French recipes were served at the tables of the wealthy, many of whom knew how to pronounce French properly.

As these recipes entered the mainstream, people who did not know French began to pronounce crème (KREHM) as cream (KREEM). Some people dispensed with the accent mark, to provide a mashup of French and English, and either became acceptable.

But to display your erudition, when discussing a French dish, e.g. Crème Brûlée, use crème; when discussing an American dish, e.g. Chocolate Cream Pie, use cream.

 

Bavarian Cream, or crème bavarois. Photo by Massimiliano Pieraccini | IST.

 

Check out the different types of pie in our delicious Pie Glossary.

  





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