Old-fashioned Strawberry Bavarian Cream

Now that the weather is getting hot – and strawberries are in season – I wanted to find a recipe for a tasty and refreshing strawberry dessert.  I searched through my hundred-year-old cookbooks, and I think I found the perfect recipe. Strawberry Bavarian Cream is creamy and cool, and it made a beautiful presentation.

This recipe was in a 1905 church cookbook from Berwick, Pennsylvania published by “The Ladies of Directory No. 2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”  I’m very curious how the cooks who made this recipe in the early 20th century chilled this dessert. Most won’t have had a refrigerator; perhaps they refrigerated the Strawberry Bavarian Cream in an ice box chilled with a block of ice, or maybe this recipe was often made during the winter months using strawberries that had been canned the previous summer.

Regardless of how cooks in 1905 kept the Strawberry Bavarian Cream cold, this silky, delectable dessert is a winner. I know that I’ll make it again in the near future.

Here’s the original recipes:

Source: Berwick (PA) Cook Book No. 2, The Ladies of Directory No.2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1905)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Strawberry Bavarian Cream

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 envelopes (0.25 ounce each) of unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup cold water

1 cup boiling water

1 quart fresh strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

Place the cold water in a bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit for one-half hour.

In the meantime, slice strawberries into a bowl; add sugar and stir to combine. (Reserve several berries to garnish the molded dessert.) Let sit for at least 5 minutes or until the sliced berries begin to become juicy. Then thoroughly mash the sliced berries until no large pieces remain. (I used a potato masher to mash.)

Add boiling water to the gelatin mixture; stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the mashed strawberries. Chill just until the mixture is no longer warm.

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream until it is light and stiff peaks form. Then fold it into the strawberry and gelatin mixture. Pour into a 7-8 cup mold and chill until firm (at least 4 hours). (I used a 6-cup mold and had a little of the mixture left over after the mold was filled, which I put into a small bowl.)

To serve: Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then unmold unto serving plate.

Note: This recipe may also be made using 1/2 pint frozen or canned strawberries. If frozen or canned strawberries are used as a substitute for the fresh berries, do not add the 1 cup of sugar.

Hundred-year-old Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

Today, Strawberry Ice Cream sometimes seems boring; a hundred years ago it was very special. When strawberries were in season, it was time to get the hand-cranked  ice cream freezer out, buy some ice, invite friends over, and make Strawberry Ice Cream.

The hundred-year-old Strawberry Ice Cream recipe that I found was easy to make. It only had three ingredients: cream, sugar, and strawberries.  And, the ice cream was delightful. This classic ice cream was creamy and infused with the sunny taste of fresh strawberries.

There was no comparison to the cheap strawberry ice cream sold in plastic gallon tubs at the supermarket. It was somewhat similar to the higher-priced strawberry ice creams, but it did not contain the large chunks of frozen strawberry puree they often contain. The strawberries in this ice cream are “rubbed” through a strainer, so the pieces of strawberry in the ice cream were tiny which creates a lovely texture.

Ice cream that is not eaten immediately can be stored in the freezer. It was extremely firm when removed from the freezer, and should be allowed to warm for a few minutes before attempting to scoop.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Strawberry Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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(This recipe makes 1 3/4 – 2 quarts of liquid. If a large ice cream freezer is used, it may need to be doubled.)

1 pint strawberries

1 quart light cream (Half and Half)

1 cup sugar

Wash, hull, and slice strawberries, then mash with a potato masher or pastry blender. Add sugar, and let sit for 1 hour. Then “rub” the strawberries through a strainer or colander . (An old-fashioned, hand-cranked Foley mill works well to do this, but is not needed.) Discard the large strawberry fragments that won’t go through the strainer.

Stir the cream into the strained strawberries. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, then place in ice cream freezer and freeze.

Old-fashioned Strawberry Charlotte

I was thrilled when I found a dreamy hundred-year-old recipe for Strawberry Charlotte. This blush pink classic mousse, topped with strawberries, has a light citrus taste and colorful flecks of orange peel.  Strawberry Charlotte is a light and creamy cold dessert that’s perfect on a warm Spring day.

I molded in the  Strawberry Charlotte in individual ramekins (custard cups), rather than using a large mold. I unmolded one for the photo – and served the remainder in the ramekins. Whether on top or bottom, the strawberries worked perfectly in this luscious, creamy dessert. I want to make Strawberry Charlotte again using a large mold. It would make an impressive, beautiful dessert.

Here is the original recipe:

The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Strawberry Charlotte

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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approximately 1/2 pound strawberries (1 cup crushed strawberries)

1/4 cup sugar + 3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 packets unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup strawberry juice (from crushed berries) + additional water

grated rind of 1 orange

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cups heavy whipping cream

Hull and slice strawberries, then crush with a fork.  Place in a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the sugar to draw the juice out of the berries.

Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water. Let sit for at least a minute.

Drain crushed strawberries, reserving the strawberry juice. Measure the juice and add additional water to make 1/2 cup liquid. Put the juice and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the gelatin mixture. Continue stirring until completely melted. Stir in  3/4 cup sugar, the grated orange rind, and lemon juice; immediately remove from heat. Set aside.

Put the whipping in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Set the pan with the gelatin mixture in a larger pan that contains cold water and ice cubes. Stir the gelatin mixture until it begins to thicken. Then gently fold the gelatin mixture into the whipped cream, one third at a time.

This recipe makes 7 – 8  cups – and would work nicely in a 9-10 cup mold. Arrange the crushed strawberries in the bottom the mold  and then spoon the whipped cream mixture into the mold. (Or use individual molds or ramekins. If individual molds are used, divide the strawberries and whipped cream mixture across the molds.). Chill in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours).

To serve, quickly dip the mold in hot water, then gently slide the Strawberry Charlotte onto serving plate.  If ramekins are used, may be served without unmolding, if desired.