07 Mar2006

gratin1

Fruit and almond gratins featured in this month’s Gourmet Magazine special on Montreal looked so good I was itching to try them ASAP. They seemed like the perfect no fuss ending to the Saturday Dinner with Friends (previous post). It also helped that I discovered that Santis delicatessen carried frozen blackberries which I haven’t had in eons. I also had some nice pears in the fridge, perfectly ripe mangoes from Cebu and some tart-ish baguio strawberries. I figured I would mix and match and see what combinations would work really well. This dessert was really simple to make, and it was done an hour before the guests arrived as it is meant to be served either lukewarm or at room temperature.

The basic recipe is by Elena Faita-Venditelli, courtesy of my Gourmet Magazine, though I have gratin2made some alterations due to the availability of ingredients in my kitchen… Pre-heat oven at 350 F. Butter your gratin or mini-souffle dishes. Whisk in a bowl the following ingredients: 2 large eggs, ½ cup thick cream (I used cooking cream from the grocery), ¼ cup almond flour (I made my own by blitzing unsalted almonds in my food processor until flour-like in consistency), 1/3 cup of sifted confectioners or caster sugar, ½ teaspoon of good vanilla and a pinch of salt. Cut up the cored pears, cube the mangoes, large dice the strawberries and take the blackberries out of the freezer. Make up your preferred combinations of fruit and place in each of the gratin dishes.

The original recipe called for seedless red grapes, raspberries and pears. I used blackberries because I like their taste but in retrospect, raspberries gratin3would work better because the seeds or pips of the blackberries were a bit large and somewhat disconcerting to the guests. I still like the flavor of the blackberries, however. I tried different combinations such as pear, blackberry and mango which worked well. I also tried pear, strawberry and blackberry. The least successful one was pear, strawberry and mango which seemed too watery compared to the other gratins. I guess the key is balancing the texture and the sweet/tart flavors that makes an interesting gratin. Next time I will try some tart-ish plums and pear. Also, the intended raspberries from the original recipe.

Once the fruit is in the dishes, cover with gratin4the custard mixture, sprinkle with some sliced almonds, and put on a pan and into the oven for about 30 minutes. It will bubble as the fruit cooks. If you have a functioning broiler, singe the tops of the gratins for 2 minutes to brown the crust. Remove and cool. Serve just barely warm or at room temperature. If you want to go over the top, serve with good vanilla ice cream, or thick cream or whipped cream. Delicious. Absolutely delicious.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Ana says:

    Hi MM! Your gratins are mouth- watering… Would you know where I could get raspberries? I just love the Mcdo yoghurt with the assorted berries. I wish they have it here. I also love this cake I had in Olive Garden with raspberries in it. Sigh…

    Mar 7, 2006 | 10:25 am

     
  2. Mila says:

    Is it the Feb or March copy of Gourmet? I’m planning a trip to Montreal in May and need some ideas. Thanks!

    Mar 7, 2006 | 11:14 am

     
  3. rose aka sofia says:

    Grrr. I just ate lunch, and. after reading your gratin-uous entry, I’m freaking hungry again. *sigh*

    Mar 7, 2006 | 11:32 am

     
  4. Marketman says:

    Mila, it’s the March issue of Gourmet. A must have if you are headed to Montreal! Ana, you can get frozen raspberries at Santis Delicatessen.

    Mar 7, 2006 | 11:37 am

     
  5. Sweet Tooth says:

    Wow! love strawberries, your gratins look soo…yummy makes me want to try other type of berries

    Mar 7, 2006 | 7:42 pm

     
  6. sha says:

    gourmet march has not arrived yet i was in town today looking for it….
    creme fraiche for me please…have not thought of mango for this combo at all

    Mar 8, 2006 | 7:07 am

     
  7. Rampau says:

    I was in Montreal recently for a few days, in the middle of a blizzard. Is this a traditional Montreal specialty? Just like their smoked meats? Just wondering.

    Mar 9, 2006 | 9:17 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Rampau, not sure if this is traditional but gratin is VERY french, and Montreal is the most French of the Canadian cities so it must be a reasonable specialty. Though the recipe came from a transplanted Italian rather than a Francophile…

    Mar 9, 2006 | 9:46 am

     
  9. Rampau says:

    Yup, very French indeed.

    Mar 10, 2006 | 4:58 am

     
 

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