Cream cheese bavarois with confit of baby fennel and leeks

Rosemary Shrager shares a spectacular recipe using the new seasons baby leeks and baby fennel for a fresh and easy starter
By Rosemary Shrager
Cream cheese bavarois with confit of baby fennel and leeks
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 3 hours chilling
  • Effort: easy


For the bavarois

  • 1 leaf gelatine
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 150 ml whipping cream
  • pinches of cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the confit of fennel and leeks

  • 12baby leeks
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 baby bulb fennel, quartered
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs tarragon, leaves only

To serve

  • 2 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp finely snipped chives


1. For the bavarois: soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes, or until softened,

2. In a small saucepan, heat the lemon juice over a low heat. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the softened gelatine leaf, add to the lemon and stir until completely dissolved.

3. Soften the cream cheese by whisking it lightly in a bowl. Lightly whisk the whipping cream, then fold it into the cream cheese.

4. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, and season with salt and white pepper. Fold in the gelatine and lemon juice mixture and mix until well combined. Divide the mixture among four small dariole moulds and put into the refrigerator for 3 hours or until set.

5. For the confit of fennel and leeks: cook the leeks in a pan of boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes. Drain well and toss in a bowl with the extra virgin olive oil while still warm. Set aside.

6. Blanch the fennel bulbs in simmering water for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and add to the bowl with the leeks and toss well to coat in the olive oil.

7. Add the lemon juice, bay leaves and tarragon leaves to the bowl and toss together to mix. Season well with salt and pepper.

8. To serve, turn out the cream cheese bavarois onto individual serving plates and arrange the drained fennel and leeks around. Garnish the plate with diced tomato, chopped dill and chives.

This recipe is Rosemary's suggestion for a dinner party starter. Click for her ideas for a chicken stuffed with mushroom mousse main and plum frangipane dessert.

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