I don’t have tons of experience preparing desserts (yet), so when I make something and it turns out incredibly insanely great, I’m thrilled with myself. As I was enjoying this gratin last night, I was definitely patting myself on the back. It was fabulous.
This is not the type of recipe that you’re going to breeze through immediately. When I first looked at the instructions, I was sort of wondering if I could get the job done. After I finished it though, I was quite confident that I could do it again with my eyes closed. Again, I felt this way simply because I don’t have a lot of experience in this arena.
The area I was most intimidated by was the whisking. I’ve never whisked anything until the point it got thick before. And as a matter of fact, as I was going through the motions last night, I told Laura that whipping cream by hand is the sort of thing someone would put on their bucket list. Well, last night, it only took about two minutes for me to do this. I guess I can check that one off.
This is an awesome dessert. The flavors are there. I’m not sure which is better, the sweetness and luxuriousness of the zabaglione or the white wine that’s infused into it. I really can’t describe the entire experience accurately. I will say that when eating it, your eyes will probably roll back.
For the fruit, I decided to go with blueberries, strawberries and black cherries because they are in season here in Maine. Blackberries and raspberries would have been just fine too. If I could find them, I would have included them.
Basically, zabaglione is a simple Italian custard dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and white wine. It’s rich and creamy. In this recipe, the zabaglione is combined with a small amount of whipped cream, so things are even better. The combination tops the fruit mixture that’s tossed with sugar and salt and the entire ensemble is topped with a white and brown sugar mixture. Needless to say, I think you’ll like this one.
For the Berry Mixture
12 Ounces Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and/or Black Cherries
4 Ounces Strawberries, Trimmed and Sliced in Half Lengthwise
2 Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
For the Zabaglione
3 Large Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
2 Teaspoons Packed Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream, Chilled
The best part about this recipe is that it’s so flexible when it comes to the fruit. I can tell you that you have absolute freedom in this regard. Use all blueberries if you want. Use all strawberries too. The topping is much more stringent, so have fun with the first part of this recipe.
I’d also like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for this dish. We pulled it from their resource called The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook and as I mentioned above, it’s out of this world. I’m looking forward to many more dessert recipes like this one from this book.
Prepare the Berry Mixture
Add all the berries to a medium sized bowl.
Add the sugar and a pinch of salt to the berry mixture and toss well.
Divide the berries between 4 shallow dishes and then place the dishes in a casserole or another container that can fit them.
Set the casserole aside for later use.
Prepare the Zabaglione
Add the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and white wine to a medium sized bowl.
Next, fill a small saucepan with about 1 inch of water. Place it on the stove top and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat to low and place the bowl with the egg mixture on top of the saucepan, so it’s sitting partially inside of it. The goal here is to gently warm the zabaglione just enough to help it thicken.
Whisk the zabaglione for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture is creamy and somewhat thick.
During this process, you should begin to smell the wine evaporating. Be sure not to stop whisking. If you do, the eggs may cook and that’s not what you want. You’re looking for a hair less than a whipped cream consistency.
When you get to this point, remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute to cool things down. Then, place the bowl in your refrigerator to cool down even more. About 15 minutes is fine.
Make the Whipped Cream
Add the heavy cream to a medium sized bowl. Whisk the cream briskly for about 90 seconds or until it comes together.
Set the bowl aside for a few minutes.
Turn On the Oven Broiler
Arrange one of your oven racks so it sits about 6 inches from the top heating element. Turn the broiler on low.
Combine the Sugars
In a medium sized bowl, add both the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of white granulated sugar. Mix these two together well.
Mix the Zabaglione & Whipped Cream
Remove the bowl of cooled zabaglione from the refrigerator and add the whipped cream to that bowl. Then, gently fold both of these creams together gently.
Prepare the Dishes
Next, divide the zabaglione and whipped cream mixture over the 4 shallow dishes with the berries in them. Then, do the same with the sugar. Sprinkle it over the top of each dish.
Let the dishes sit out for 10 minutes so the sugars have a chance to melt.
Broil the Dishes
At this point, you’re ready to melt the sugar. I want you to think about that being the only goal. If you wanted to, you could enjoy this dish without this step, but melting the sugars makes things even better.
Add the casserole to the oven on the top rack. Keep an eye on things very closely. The moment you see any bubbles in the sugars, remove the casserole from the heat. If you leave the dishes in the oven just a minute too long, the sugar will burn. In this case, it’s better to broil less than more.
The Final Berry & Zabaglione Dessert
When the sugar is melted, it adds a slight crunch to things while you’re eating. It’s awesome. The cream will knock your socks off and if your fruit is at its peak, you’re going to love this dessert in its entirely. It’s wonderful. Give this a try and let me know what you think about it. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
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