Individual Fresh Berry Gratins

For perfect Italian zabaglione , we use dry white wine instead of sweet and fold in whipped cream for structure.

Individual Fresh Berry Gratins
SERVES 4
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Zabaglione is a traditional Italian custard flavored with wine and often accompanied by fresh berries. To turn this simple combination into a full-flavored dessert worthy of serving to guests, we turned it into a gratin. We macerated the berries with a little bit of sugar to encourage them to release their flavorful juices. For the custard, we whisked together egg yolks, sugar, and wine over a pot of barely simmering water; keeping the heat low and using a glass bowl rather than a metal one guarded against overcooking. Tasters preferred the flavor of light, crisp white wine to the more traditional Marsala, but the decreased sugar made our custard runny. To make up for the loss of structure without making the custard achingly sweet, we folded in some whipped cream. Dividing the berries and custard among individual ramekins made for a pretty presentation and easier serving. Running the gratins briefly under the broiler produced warm, succulent berries and a golden-brown crust on the zabaglione. You will need four shallow 6-ounce broilersafe gratin dishes, but a broilersafe pie plate or gratin dish can be used instead. 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. Although we prefer to make this recipe with a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, you can use 3 cups of just one type of berry. Do not use frozen berries for this recipe. To prevent scorching, pay close attention to the gratins when broiling. Use a medium-bodied dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay in this recipe.

BERRY MIXTURE
11 ounces (2¼ cups) blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries
4 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise if small or quartered if large (¾ cup)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt
ZABAGLIONE
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled

1. FOR THE BERRY MIXTURE Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss berries, strawberries, sugar, and salt together in bowl. Divide berry mixture evenly among 4 shallow 6-ounce gratin dishes set in prepared sheet; set aside.
2. FOR THE ZABAGLIONE Whisk egg yolks, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and wine together in medium bowl until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is frothy. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened, creamy, and glossy, 5 to 10 minutes (mixture will 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 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Combine brown sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar in bowl.
4. Whisk heavy cream in large bowl 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 on top. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, until sugar dissolves.
5. Broil gratins until sugar is bubbly and caramelized, 1 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

NOTES FROM THE TEST KITCHEN
Washing and Storing Berries
Washing berries before you use them is always a safe practice, and we think that the best way to wash them is to place the berries in a colander and rinse them gently under running water for at least 30 seconds. As for drying berries, we’ve tested a variety of methods and have found that a salad spinner lined with a buffering layer of paper towels is the best approach.
It’s particularly important to store berries carefully, because they are prone to growing mold and rotting quickly. If the berries aren’t going to be used immediately, we recommend cleaning them with a mild vinegar solution (3 cups of water mixed with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar), which will destroy the bacteria, then drying them and storing them in a paper towel–lined airtight container.

 

 

Desserts

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