Individual Fresh Berry Gratins
Published July 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.
Why this recipe works:
For a berry gratin recipe with firm but juicy fruit, frothy zabaglione, and a lightly browned crust, we discovered a few tricks. Tossing the berries with sugar and a pinch of salt helped draw out their juices. Cooking the custard over low heat prevented it from curdling, and whipping it longer… read more
For a berry gratin recipe with firm but juicy fruit, frothy zabaglione, and a lightly browned crust, we discovered a few tricks. Tossing the berries with sugar and a pinch of salt helped draw out their juices. Cooking the custard over low heat prevented it from curdling, and whipping it longer than usual gave it great texture. For the thickest, most flavorful custard, we added whipped cream and a few spoonfuls of Sauvignon Blanc (which we prefer to Marsala for its clean flavor). A sprinkling of granulated and brown sugar provided the caramelized crust. The resulting fresh berry gratin recipe was juicy, light, and creamy, just what we were looking for.less
When making the zabaglione, make sure to cook the egg mixture in a glass bowl over water that is barely simmering. Glass conducts heat more evenly and gently than metal. If the heat is too high, the yolks around the edges of the bowl will start to scramble. Constant whisking is required. Although we prefer to make this recipe with a mixture of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, you can use 3 cups of just one type of berry. Do not use frozen berries. A broilerproof pie plate or gratin dish can be used in place of the individual gratin dishes. To prevent scorching, pay close attention to the gratins when broiling.
- 3 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries; strawberries stemmed and halved lengthwise if small, quartered if large), room temperature (see note)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- pinch table salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
1. FOR THE BERRY MIXTURE: Toss berries, sugar, and salt together in medium nonreactive bowl. Divide berry mixture evenly among 4 shallow 6-ounce gratin dishes set on rimmed baking sheet. Set berries aside to release juices while preparing zabaglione.
2. FOR THE ZABAGLIONE: Whisk egg yolks, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and wine in medium glass bowl until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water (water should not touch bottom of bowl) and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is frothy. Following photos below, continue to cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened, creamy, and glossy, 5 to 10 minutes (mixture will resemble hollandaise and form loose mounds when dripped from whisk). Remove bowl from saucepan and whisk constantly for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill until egg mixture is completely cool, about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack 6 to 7 inches from heating element and heat broiler. Combine light brown sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar in small bowl.
4. In large bowl, whisk heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, 30 to 90 seconds. Using rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into cooled egg mixture. Spoon zabaglione over berries and sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over zabaglione; let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, until sugar dissolves into zabaglione.
5. Broil until sugar is bubbly and caramelized, 1 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.