Posted on September 17 2012

Tartine Baking Project: #72 Fromage Blanc Bavarian

I planned out this journey pretty meticulously – that seems a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s fitting.  Most things were planned out with a deliberate sense of seasons and occasions, but there were some recipes that just happened.  You’d think I would save the best for last, you know, something I was really looking forward to make – nope.  When I had five recipes left, and plotted them out, this fromage blanc just fell in line at the end.  I think since it was a cake, I figured a cake would be fun to end with, even though I didn’t clearly know what this cake was all about.

The biggest hurdle I had was finding fromage blanc.  I invited some friends over for a potluck to partake in the spoils of the last recipe with me, and to celebrate the finale.  After some preliminary hunting around, I knew it was going to be a challenge finding the stuff and I instantly regretted saving such an unfamiliar dessert for the last one!  I made the génoise cake base the day before the party, knowing I should have made the entire cake the night before because it needed to chill in the refrigerator for a long time.  But, I had a plan and would be whipping it all together early Friday morning, which would mean a whole day in the fridge!  Had a plan, is important to emphasize right there.

Conversation with a woman who works at the grocery store:

Me: Hi, I’m looking for fromage blanc.  (pointing to the expansive international cheese display) I didn’t find it over there, and I was wondering if you knew where I may find it.

Worker lady: Well, I don’t even know what it is you just said.  I don’t speak French.

Me:  Uh…

Worker Lady: What does that mean?

Me:  Well, technically it means white cheese, but –

Worker lady:  Oh!  Well then, we have a lot of white cheese.

Me: Oh…well, that’s the name of it.  It’s similar to ricotta.

Worker lady:  Now I know what that one is.  It’s over by the milk.  Maybe whatever-that-was-that-you-said is there too?  Good luck?

Me: Thanks.

As we were talking I Googled fromage blanc, and the first thing that comes up was a recipe from Emeril Lagasse.  I stood eying the ricotta I begrudgingly put in my cart because I didn’t want to use it!  The recipe was called FROMAGE BLANC bavarian, and I couldn’t just substitute ricotta when I knew there was a way to make the cheese I needed.  I didn’t have time to research other recipes, so I went with the one from Emeril (bam!) and started figuring out the timeline if I could have the cake ready by the party.  It was going to be a crunch, but it was possible if everything went according to schedule.

Making the fromage blanc was surprisingly easy, and makes me want to experiment with other kinds of cheeses!  My only understanding of how this stuff should turn out was from what I gleaned from the Internet.  I think it was was supposed to be similar to the consistency of sour cream, but maybe it should’ve been slightly thicker?  I don’t know, it tasted like a yogurty cheese, and I went with it.  I got it in the fridge by the last minute I needed to make sure it was in there for the minimum suggested time of four hours.  As soon as I shut the door a wave of relief and celebration rushed over me.  That’s it.  That’s the last recipe right there.  The concerns of the outcome were out the window.  Well, out the window, but lingering like some Eddie Haskell kind of annoying neighbor kid ready to pounce with some annoying exchange as the time came to serve the cake.

Our house was filled with friends here to celebrate, including a gaggle of kiddos running around excited for the empty cake stand to be filled.  The time came to retrieve the cake from the fridge, and I warned the kids, following me around with forks and open mouths, that this may not be the kind of cake they really love.  I hurriedly sliced a medley of stone fruits for the top of the cake, and cut my finger off.  Just kidding.  But I did forget to lightly sauté them just a bit.  I am the worst at taking things slow when a crowd is around!  I rush and I take bad photos!  AND, I forget to really eat anything at a potluck filled with delicious food!!!  I grabbed a few bites, but as everyone left the hunger set it.

The moment I placed the fruit, one side started falling.  I snapped a few photos then put it back in the fridge for twenty minutes or so.  Surprisingly, I didn’t really freak out.  It was definitely not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made, but that’s alright.  The cake was eaten, and people seemed to like it.  That’s all any baker can ask for, really.  So yes, that’s all!  C’est tout!

Last week was the weepy and sentimental part of completing this project, now this week is really all about the celebration!  I’m just so happy!  I meant to have a toast with everyone, thanking them all for their support and hungry bellies over the past year!  In my excitement of the party, I forgot!  So if anyone wants to come over and drink champagne while we watch the season premiere of Parks and Recreation, just let me know!

I’ve got one more Tartine cookbook to give away!  Head over to the gallery of the entire project, and then leave a comment what you think the most appetizing recipe is!  All comments need to be left by this Thursday September 20th, and the winner will be announced here on Friday September 21st.

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UPDATE:  We have a winner!  I am so excited to share that the random number generator may not be so random!  The winner is #6 – Amy, with her comment:

“The fresh fruit tart with Bavarian filling has caught my eye more than once. They are all beautiful and appetizing. There’s not one that I wouldn’t enjoy.”

I just want to say I am so happy that Amy won, she has been such a kind and devoted reader throughout my entire journey – she baked along with me in the Holiday Bake-a-long that I had in December, she makes the DIY projects I share here, and is extremely supportive with “likes’ and blog comments galore!  When her number popped up, I just may have gasped.  What a fitting way to wrap things up here for a bit!

  1. Jing says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! *THROWS CONFETTI

  2. Mary says:

    Congratulations, Emily!! I can’t believe all you’ve accomplished in one year! Your determination and mad baking skills are so inspiring. And that last photo of you holding your fromage blanc bavarian is one of my favorite photos of you ever! Love ya!

  3. Charlotte says:

    The fresh fruit tart and the blackberry tart both win! They look amazinggg!!!

    This project has inspired me!! I plan to try some of the recipes and would love to win the cookbook!

    CONGRATULATIONS ON THE END OF YOUR JOURNEY!

  4. longo says:

    Congratulations! You are amazing.

  5. Anne says:

    Look at you. You’re the best.

  6. mazawi says:

    roast banana with maple pecan parfait! boom.

  7. Lindsey Royal Anderson says:

    You are completely glowing and radiant! I like that photo of you with your cake.
    And, I just love love love making cheese! I’m so excited that you did it for your last recipe! Good work this year.

  8. Melinda says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! That’s fantastic; you must be elated! (And what a pretty photo of you!)
    Yay!! xo

  9. SarahD says:

    Have I told you lately that you are awesome? Well, you are.

  10. NicoleD says:

    Yay for you!! Trader Joe’s sells formage blanc in the tiniest container, so overall, I’m sure making it was the most economical and delicious. Happy for you!

  11. nancy says:

    Wow! Just stumbled upon your blog… you are awesome!
    I thing the lemon buttermilk pudding cakes look yum!
    Now I want try some of these :)

  12. Elanor says:

    I love that picture of you holding the cake!! Congrats! We are so proud of you <3

  13. Calantha says:

    It looks beautiful! Sadly, I’ve only found your blog near the end of your journey, but I’m happy I can go back and see everything you’ve done!

    If you’re looking for a fun way to learn more about making cheese, check out this project that’s happening: http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/cheesepalooza/. We’re only in our second week so it isn’t too late to join. ;)

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