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La Belle Cuisine
Gratin of Fresh Berries with Vanilla
or Lemon Curd
by Nancy Silverton, 1986, Harper & Row
“Tart lemon curd poured over fresh berries topped with caramelized sugar
a refreshing combination of flavors. Creamy vanilla crème brûlée
option that gives a very different effect. Raspberry sauce or
underline the berry taste and provide a vibrant note
Vanilla Crème Brûlée
2 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1/2 cup lime juice (6-8 limes)
Zest of 3-4 lemons, grated or
Zest of 6-8 limes, grated or
6 cups raspberries, wild strawberries,
(sliced), or any combination
(about 1 cup per serving). Save a
to garnish the top
of each plate.
1 cup Raspberry Sauce or
Strawberry Sauce (recipes below)
For caramelizing the top of the gratin:
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
Making the Lemon Curd
In a large metal bowl, whisk together the lemon curd
ingredients. Set bowl over a large pot of simmering water and whisk
vigorously, incorporating as much air as possible. Rotate the bowl from time
to time to keep the eggs
from cooking on the sides.
Cook filling until the foam disappears and the mixture resembles a thick
hollandaise sauce, 5-10 minutes. This mixture will not curdle, so don’t be
afraid to cook it until it is very thick. Remove from heat.
(If you’re confident with custards, this step can be done over direct heat.
Whisk vigorously to avoid burning.)
Lemon curd can be made up to a week in advance and refrigerated.
Assembling and Caramelizing the Dessert
If the lemon curd has been made in advance and has thickened,
in a bowl and stir briefly over warm water to loosen up a bit.
Arrange the berries decoratively on each plate, in a single layer and
close together. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon curd or vanilla crème
the berries to evenly cover the tops.
(For lemon curd, the plates can be caramelized immediately, if desired.
the vanilla crème brûlée, however, the plates must be refrigerated at
30 minutes before caramelizing to allow the custard to set up.)
The plates can be assembled up to two hours ahead of serving and
caramelizing the dessert, sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon sugar
a thin, even layer. Scatter a few more berries on top and spoon 2
tablespoons sauce around the fruit. Serve immediately.
Variation: If you do not have a salamander or a torch to caramelize the
you can use the same combination by pooling 2 tablespoons of sauce in
bottom of broad dessert bowls, spooning in some lemon curd, or crème
and then scattering berries on top.
4 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen without syrup)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar syrup
1/4 cup orange juice (1 orange)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 teaspoons raspberry liqueur
Purée all ingredients in a blender or food processor until
smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds. Refrigerate. If
the sauce thickens during storage, add more lemon or orange juice to thin.
4 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen without syrup)
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2-2 1/2 tablespoons kirsch or cherry brandy
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
Strawberries are probably the most unpredictable of fruits,
sweet and flavorful, sometimes watery and tasteless. If the
aren’t the best, don’t hesitate to increase the other flavors
I never strain strawberry sauce because I like the look and texture of the
seeds. Stem fresh strawberries. Purée all ingredients in a food processor
blender until smooth. Refrigerate.
Featured Archive Recipes:
Lemon Mousse with Raspberry Sauce
Lemon and Fresh Berry "Shortcake"
from "Desserts to Die For"
Index - Fruit Recipe Archives
Index - Miscellaneous Dessert Recipes
Rites of Spring Recipe Index
Recipe Archives Index