Chef Ido Feiner and pastry chef Dana Malkes of Roberta Vinci restaurant in Pardes Hanna-Karkur add flavors from the yards at the restaurant and their homes this to Bavarian cream recipe. “We have two stunning pecan trees,” Ido says. “We share the nuts with the staff, and when we have the patience, we crack them open and make pecan pie for the restaurant’s specials menu.” They incorporated the pecans into the dessert as a dacquoise — a cake base made of whipped egg whites and pecans, adding flavor as well as texture to contrast to the soft cream. The cream itself is flavored with lemon geranium that grows around Ido’s home (the staff teases him because he uses the aromatic herb in so many dishes). As a topping, Ido and Dana use a thick kumquat sauce instead of the more common chocolate syrup, as the citrus is abundant when it’s in season.
Chef’s note: This recipe has three phases and each requires attention to detail. Read the recipe carefully before heading to the kitchen. The kumquat sauce and candied pecans can be made a day in advance and the dacquoise base is optional, so if you prefer, feel free to skip it.
Asif asked chefs around the country for their modern interpretation of the nostalgic Bavarian cream dessert that was popular in Israel in the 1980s. Explore all of the recipes here.
2 cups lemon geranium leaves (without the stem), washed
2 teaspoons (12 grams) gelatin
4 tablespoons (60 ml) lukewarm water
2 cups (500 ml) milk
½ cup + 2½ tablespoons (130 grams) sugar
4 large (100 grams) egg yolks
For the kumquat sauce:
3 cups (400 grams) kumquats, halved
1½ cups (300 grams) sugar
¾ cup (200 ml) water
1 teaspoon citrus blossom water
For the candied pecans:
1 cup (100 grams) raw pecans
⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons (100 ml) water
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
Prepare thedacquoise: Preheat the oven to 320°F / 160°C. If the pecans are unroasted, spread them in an even layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes. Cool. Pulse with the powdered sugar in a food processor to a powder.
Beat the egg whites: Place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and beat on a low speed, gradually increasing until it has reached soft peaks. Gradually and while continuously beating, add the sugar and mix until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
Fold half of the pecan powder into the whipped whites, then fold the remaining half. Line the baking pan with parchment paper, and transfer the cream, using a spatula to create a smooth and even layer. Gently sprinkle the chopped pecans on top and bake until dry, 45-55 minutes. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Prepare the Bavarian cream: Heat the heavy cream and the geranium leaves in a small pot over a medium heat to a gentle simmer (make sure that the cream does not come to a boil). Cool, without straining the cream, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Prepare thekumquat sauce: Remove the seeds and transfer to a pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Strain. Repeat this step 3 times in order to soften them and remove any bitterness. If the kumquats are not soft enough after the third boil, cook for a few more minutes. Drain.
Transfer to a pot, add the sugar and water and bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Cook until the kumquatsare translucent and the liquids have reduced, about 35 minutes. While cooking, remove any floating seeds using a sieve or fork. Cool and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Continue preparing the Bavarian cream: Pour the water into a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin powder on top, mix, cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Heat the milk in a small pot over a low heat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar to a smooth mixture. Gradually and while continuously stirring, pour a third of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Pour the remaining milk into the mixture while continuously stirring. Transfer to a clean pot.
Cook over a low-medium heat while stirring continuously with a spatula that can reach all parts of the pot, until the mixture begins to thicken. The mixture is thick enough when running a finger on its surface leaves a “path.” (You can test this by coating the back of a spoon with the mixture and running your finger across it, if it leaves a path behind, it is ready.) Remove immediately from the heat.
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the cooled gelatin. Set aside and cool to body temperature, about 40 minutes (when inserting a finger, the mixture should not feel hot).
Strain the cream through a sieve into the bowl of a stand mixer, discarding the geranium leaves. Whip the cream until it reaches the texture of a thick yogurt. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture and pour over the dacquoise. Cover well and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Prepare the candied pecans: Place all the ingredients in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat and bring to a boil. At first, the water will evaporate and the mixture will dry out, then it will begin to bubble and caramelize. Once the mixture has caramelized, carefully pour its contents to a tray lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat mat) and cool completely. Be very careful as the caramel is hot.
For thekumquat sauce: Grind the mixture in a food processor to a fairly smooth sauce, leaving some small pieces of fruit. Mix in with citrus blossom water.
Coarsely chop the candied pecans.
Slice the Bavarian cream and transfer to serving plates. Pour thekumquat sauce on top, generously sprinkle the candied pecans and serve.