With an abundance of fresh summer berries at the market, it’s great to whip up a quickly made, refreshing dessert that brings out their flavours. This French Blueberry Lemon Bavarois ticked all the boxes as an elegant yet easy dessert.
During our yo-yo-ing Parisian heatwaves, it’s welcome to have something chilled, no-bake and prepared in advance so that we, too, can chill and make the most of the outdoors.
What is a French Bavarois Dessert?
You may recall my recipe for red fruit bavarois a few years ago, getting rather carried away on the sexy theme for Saint Valentine’s Day. Since then I have developed the recipe further. Normally French bavarois desserts are made using a crème bavaroise (a mixture of whipped cream, crème anglaise – a runny vanilla custard – and gelatine). In this recipe, it couldn’t be simpler: instead just add the gelatine to puréed fruit and add some thick, full-fat crème fraîche or thick double cream.
It’s like an Italian panna cotta, except with more fruit pulp in it and less cream. As with this rose panna cotta recipe with cherry & cardamom coulis, I pour the fruity mixture into silicone moulds, leave to chill then un-mould them before serving directly on the plates.
Blueberry, Lemon & Roasted Coriander Seeds
Using blueberries in this dessert makes the recipe even easier: there’s no need to eliminate any seeds through a sieve. As blueberry and lemon are a particularly good combination, inspiration came from Nikki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus, by adding roasted coriander seeds.
I love how Nikki Segnit describes coriander seeds, and devotes two pages to its tempting combinations:
Coriander seeds have a delicious citrus and balsamic character … (they are) also one of the key botanicals in gin. A spare peppermill filled with roasted coriander seeds could easily get you hooked…. (they) can contain up to 85% linalool, a flavour compound with a woody, floral, slightly citrus quality that’s a key component of synthesised blueberry flavour. Freshly ground, they can lend a fragrant background note to your home-baked blueberry muffins.
Here, the addition of roasted coriander seeds brings out the blueberry and lemon flavours in this dessert perfectly and, roughly ground in a mortar and pestle, adds a delicate crunchy intrigue, I find. Served with a Beaujolais Cru (Moulin à Vent) quite by accident the other day, we discovered that this fruity red wine brought out the lemon even more. It’s sheer bliss!
Both lemon and lemon verbena macarons are a perfect accompaniment to this Blueberry Lemon Bavarois dessert, too (see respective recipes in Mad About Macarons and Teatime in Paris.)
Serve with blueberries soaked in Crème de Cassis liqueur or Limoncello (Christina Conte has a lovely homemade quick Limoncello recipe at ChristinasCucina)
French Blueberry Lemon Bavarois (Gluten Free)
Blueberry Lemon French Bavarois Dessert (Gluten Free)
- 200 g / 7oz blueberries organic fresh or defrosted
- 2 leaves @ 2g gelatine ensure each sheet is 2g
- 1 tbsp zest of a lemon unwaxed, organic
- 50 g / 1.75oz sugar
- 1/2 sachet vanilla sugar
- 1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 150 g / 5.5oz thick crème fraîche 30% fat or thick double cream
- Wash and drain the blueberries. Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water for 10 minutes.
- Place the coriander seeds on a baking tray and toast under the grill for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Finely grate the zest of the lemon (yellow zest only, no white pith, otherwise this is too bitter). Add the lemon and seeds to the blueberries and purée in a food processor (or mix by hand with a mortar & pestle).
- Heat a quarter of the purée in the microwave for 1m30 seconds. Squeeze the gelatine of any excess water and stir into the purée until melted. Add the crème fraîche or double cream then pour into shaped silicone moulds (here I used briochettes, but half spheres are even better).
- Place on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, turn the moulds upside down and run under hot water for a few seconds. Turn them upright so that no water touches them and turn out each bavarois with the help of a pastry scraper or pie slice and place directly on each serving plate.