|An example of what I do not put on your cake.|
I recently started making pies for my own amusement, and one of the easiest is a cream pie. The only thing that you have to make sure you do is to cook the custard long enough so that it doesn't end up running all over the place when the pie is cut.
Custard is, as we know, soft. When you make a custard you cook it to get the texture to a certain point, but it never really sets up firm.
Bavarian Cream is basically custard that has gelatin added to it to make a firmer product. (I was always afraid of overdoing the gelatin and ending up with rubbery Bavarian Cream when we had to make it in pastry school.)
I recently had a bride call me to see if I did custard fillings. I told her no, because they're too soft and perishable, and I'm not going to start messing with gelatin. When I got off the phone, though, I realized that she'd probably get a lot of "yes we do custard fillings" responses from other people because of the existence of....da da da dummm...Sleeved fillings.
Sleeved fillings, as most bakers and seemingly very few brides know, are premade tubes of goop that people buy and use as fillings in some cakes. The "fruit" ones are like the glop in Hostess Fruit Pies, and the "cream" ones are like the slop in Dunkin Donuts eclairs.
If you couldn't tell, I don't have a high regard for sleeved fillings. They're pretty nasty, and anything that has a shelf life of 6 months refrigerated after opening is probably just sugar.
There's a "Bavarian Cream" sleeved filling that people talk about using a lot. I looked it up, and surprise, surprise, there isn't anything Bavarian Cream about it. It was pretty hard to find the ingredients anywhere online, but one site did have the nutritional information.)
It's advertised as being good for filling cakes and pastries with a custard, so when people say they use a custard filling you can probably bet that's what they're talking about.
I tasted an example of this type of "Bavarian Cream" at an amusement park this past summer. It was on some dessert, I can't even remember what it was, but it was the weirdest stuff I'd ever eaten. It was disgustingly tasteless and left a weird film in my mouth, but I kept tasting it because I couldn't figure out what was in it. It was a true mystery and a nasty one at that.
The basic ingredients in real Bavarian Cream are eggs or egg yolks, sugar, milk, gelatin and flavorings.
The ingredients that were listed in a tube of "Bavarian Cream" sleeved filling were water, high fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, soybean oil, cellulose, polysorbate60, salt, titanium dioxide, natural and artificial flavors, FD&C yellow #5 and FD&C yellow #6.
So basically, it's high fructose corn syrup with some thickeners and food coloring to give it the look of custard. That's nasty.
So no, I won't do custard filings. And no, sleeved fillings are not custards.
If you use sleeved fillings, I challenge you to actually make a custard and taste the difference between the real thing and that...stuff. Try a banana cream pie and make the pie crust yourself, too. You'll be shocked at the difference between the taste of a homemade crust and the cardboard crusts you get at the grocery store.
And if you've never had homemade banana cream pie, I'm really sorry. We'll have to work on that.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com