INDIVIDUAL FRESH BERRY GRATINS

Serves 4.   Published July 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

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.

INGREDIENTS

Berry Mixture
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
Zabaglione Topping
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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 5. Broil until sugar is bubbly and caramelized, 1 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

STEP-BY-STEP

Stages of Zabaglione

1. LIQUID BEGINNING
Mixture starts out fluid and loose. Whisking develops foamy air bubbles, which lighten mixture as it heats.

2. DEVELOPING VOLUME
With further whisking and cooking, mixture expands, thickens, and begins to turn creamy.

3. SHINY AND THICK
Zabaglione is ready when glossy and creamy, with consistency resembling hollandaise sauce.