A Bit of Froth and Frivolity

Think of this post as the froth on top of a cappuccino. Later on in the week I may get to some decent coffee, but for now it’s bubbles. If I don’t get the words down quickly I’ll talk myself out of another post – this has happened a lot in the last couple of months.

After a hectic spring, we’re well into school summer vacation. For me it’s different from any other year so far. Our youngest is working at camp and she is gone Sunday afternoon to Friday every week. Our older two girls are at home, at least for the summer, and working. These are all good things happening, but it is different. Where I used to be our kids’ activities and events director, taking them on trips and adventures on my days off, now I’m not. Those treasured days are gone. They don’t need me the same way they used to. I’m getting used to it, kind of. I miss the fun and laughter of trooping around with them.

Strawberry picking was never a favourite activity with any of my children. I am used to doing this job by myself. I do get excited. In fact I was so eager I returned from the strawberry field with a little more fruit than I went for. After a couple of days eating some fresh, making jam, sharing strawberry shortcake with others, we still had some left. The bowl got pushed to the back of the fridge…and by the next day, froze. Ahhh, strawberries ruined.

Then Bavarian Cream sprang to mind – a dessert my Mum used to make back in the ’70s and ’80s. I remember a large Tupperware bowl full of it would be on the table at many a family gathering. It’s a simple thing. Partially set jelly/jello is whisked up with cream, defrosted and crushed strawberries stirred in, then poured into a bowl or bowls and then put back in the fridge to set. The result is a light, sweet, airy mousse.

It’s not sophisticated, but it is pretty, cheap and tastes good. Well, it didn’t taste quite as good as I remember. Something was missing as is so often the case when recreating childhood favourites. (Mum said she thinks she remembers adding lemon juice…or maybe it was the cream, as double cream is not a thing here in Canada we have to substitute with whipping which does not work in quite the same way.)

Or, maybe my tastebuds were thinking of another dessert entirely. There was one we nicknamed ‘polyfilla pudding’ – doesn’t sound too appetizing, but I think I remember it involving strawberries. Or did we moan when Mum brought that to the table? ‘Oh, not polyfilla pudding?!’ My memory is hazy. I’m certain I won’t find it on any recipe website…

To go along with my retro dessert making I just happened to make an ’80s playlist on my phone. It’s not a big deal I know, but I found so many songs I’d forgotten about…it made me happy, even if the only time I get to listen to it is in the car by myself.

Bavarian Cream

1 packet of Jelly (UK) or Jello (Canada)

1 pint whipping/double cream

1 lb frozen strawberries, defrosted

Make jelly up according to packet instructions (substitute some of the water with juice from the defrosted strawberries if you like) and put it in the fridge until partially set.

In another bowl whip the cream.

Take the jelly out of the fridge and beat it until a little frothy, then whip it together with the cream (I did this with the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid).

Stir in the chopped and crushed strawberries (don’t be tempted to whisk them in – I’m still finding splats of the mixture around the kitchen).

Pour into one large bowl or several smaller ramekins or glasses. Put in the fridge to set and then decorate as desired.

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