Fried Cream recipe is a spectacular dessert that is well worth the effort for the impressive results. This is a modern and very easy-to-make version with the addition of gelatin. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon-sugar and serve them while they are still warm.
Helen Brown was considered the culinary authority of the West Coast during the 1950s and 1960s. Helen says in her book, “Gourmets who visit San Francisco enthuse about this dessert, which is to be found at a few of the best hotels and restaurants. It is not often served at home, apparently because most cooks do not dare risk it, but it is really very simple to make.”
- 2 1/2 teaspoons gelatin, unflavored*
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoons dark rum
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cup heavy cream**
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup nuts, finely grated (use your favorite nuts)
- 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs, zwieback toast crumbs, panko crumbs, or finely-ground bread crumbs
- Olive oil for frying
- 1/4 cup dark rum to Flambe, optional
- Powdered sugar or coarse sugar, for garnish
Line a 12- x 9-inch baking pan or dish with plastic wrap. Line a baking or cookie sheet with plastic wrap.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup milk; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, rum, salt and sugar until lightly thickened; set aside.
In a large saucepan, add cream. Add vanilla extract or vanilla bean. If using a vanilla bean, slice the bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds into cream (add whole bean to cream for additional flavor). Bring cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally; remove from heat and remove vanilla bean pod.
A little at a time, slowly add egg yolk mixture to the hot cream, whisking constantly. Return to low heat and bring just to a simmer, whisking constantly. Let mixture simmer until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.
Add the softened gelatin mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin.
Strain hot cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a pouring spout. Do not skip the straining step as it removes any bits of undissolved gelatin and insures a nice smooth dessert. Also, do nott let the cream mixture cool before straining. If using a vanilla bean, lightly swirl the cream to distribute the seeds evenly. Pour strained cream mixture into the prepared baking pan; spread evenly with a knife. Refrigerate until the cream is cool and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and gently turn over the dish and slide the chilled cream out on a flat board. If you have a marble board, use it. Using a sharp knife, cut the set-up cream into 2-inch shapes (squares, circles, oblongs, or diamond shapes).
Place ground nuts, egg whites (lightly whip the egg whites), and cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Gently dip and coat each cream piece in this order:
(1) ground nuts
(2) egg whites
(3) cracker crumbs
Place each coated piece on the prepared baking or cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm.
When ready to serve, fill a deep pot no more than halfway with extra-virgin oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees F. when testing with your Cooking Thermometer. The oil should remain at or around this temperature throughout the cooking process.
Remove the cream pieces from the refrigerator. Using a slotted spoon, lower cream pieces, a few at a time, into the hot oil (being careful not to splatter); fry each piece quickly, turning once, and just long enough to turn the almonds golden. Remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and then arrange on a large heated serving platter or individual heated serving plates.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat rum just until bubbles begin to form around the edges (it will not flame unless it is heated); ignite with a long match (always ignite the fumes and not the liquid itself), and pour over the cream pieces. Check out How To Flambe.
Note: If you do not want to flambe the Fried Cream, sprinkle with powdered or coarse sugar and serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
* It is always best to measure the the amount of gelatin needed as the envelopes of gelatin can vary.
** Half & half, buttermilk, whole milk, and/or sour cream may be substituted for part of the cream.
I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.
You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.
Source: I adapted this recipe from the 1952 West Coast Cook Book by Helen Evans Brown. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Smith-Kizer and her website 18th C Cuisine.