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Summer Berry Gratin

Summer Berry Gratin
All kinds of summer berries or fruits can be used for this versatile dessert. Try peaches, nectarines or plums in place of the mixed berries used here. You can make the pastry cream and have the berries ready several hours in advance. When it is time to serve the dessert, just assemble and broil.

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. kirsch, framboise or crème de cassis
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 4 cups mixed berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and boysenberries, in any combination
  • 1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

In a bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. In another bowl, stir together the cornstarch, granulated sugar and flour. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolks and again beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Pour the milk into a saucepan over medium heat and heat until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Gradually add the milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and bubbles appear around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, liqueur and butter. Fold in the mascarpone.

Preheat a broiler. Divide the custard mixture evenly among 6 flameproof 4-inch gratin or tartlet dishes. Gently press the berries into the custard mixture, dividing them evenly. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the confectioners' sugar. Slip under the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source and broil until the tops are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Summer, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).