Cake, Caramel, Custard, fruit, Petit Four, Recipes

Visions of Sugar Plums and Work, Work, Work

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Needless to say but by my lack of posts, I think you can tell I’ve been busy lately! Winter is finally setting in around these parts (regardless of today’s 90 degree weather), and so is the crazy holiday season, hence the crazy schedule I’ve been given at work. So to my readers out there, I sincerely apologize, but I can assure you that I’ve been working on more stuff to show you guys! Sometimes the 10-hour work days and long weeks just get in the way.

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Plums are in season now, and what better flavor to pair them with than the warm notes of caramel and vanilla? Here I have a vanilla bavarois bar with caramelized plums and almond sponge cake. The vanilla and caramel definitely tone down the tartness of the plum, and round it out to make a pleasant (albeit cold) winter dessert.

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While plums definitely aren’t something you traditionally see on a winter dessert menu, I think it’s time to change that, don’t you? I mean, it’s almost 2013, people! It’s time to give the pears and apples a rest and let the underdogs shine!

Caramelized Plum and Vanilla Bar

makes 10 (3-inch) bars

for Caramelized Plums:

90 g  plum, diced small (almost brunoise) and room temp.

30 g granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon spiced rum

In a small saucepan, melt sugar over medium heat, stirring with a rubber spatula until lightly golden. Add diced plum and toss to coat in caramel. Cook sugar gets slightly darker, then deglaze pan with rum and cook until dissolved. Using a small half-sphere silicon mold, divide plums between 10 molds and compact into sphere, making sure to use all liquids. Freeze until firm.

For Vanilla Bavarois:

200 g heavy cream

5 g powdered gelatin

25 g cold water

150 g milk

45 g granulated sugar

45 egg yolks

1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Vanilla Almond Sponge, cut into rectangles to fit bar molds

Bloom gelatin with water, set aside. Whip heavy cream until it reaches very soft peaks, and set aside.

In a small saucepot, combine milk and vanilla bean, and heat over a medium flame. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and yolks, then temper yolks into milk mixture, cooking until it thickens slightly (basically make an anglaise). Strain out vanilla bean, then stir in gelatin until completely melted. Fold anglaise into whipped cream, and divide between 10 silicon bar molds (you may have a bit extra leftover). Press sponge cake into bavarois until it is flush with the base, then freeze until firm.

For assembly:

While bavarois is still frozen, pop out of molds and onto a wire rack on top of a lined sheet pan. Slice a thin piece of plum and place on top of bars, then pop out frozen caramelized plums and place on top. Heat some clear glaze until thin enough to pour, then slowly pour over tops of each piece until completely coated. Refrigerate until set.

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