Individual Fresh Berry Gratins (Slight Return)

July 16, 2009 · 5 comments

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I concluded the post about my first attempt to make berry gratins with:

I’ll make this again because the recipe didn’t fail me, I failed the recipe. Lesson learned: Don’t fuck with Cook’s Illustrated.

Look at the photo: you’d think I succeeded on my second attempt. And you’d be wrong. All I managed to do this time was not burn the tops in the broiler.

On this second go-round I paid particular attention to the zabaglione, figuring I hadn’t thickened it enough the first time. I really put my back (and arm) into the whisking. What I would up with was this:


I had a lovely bowl of thick, eggy goodness and an understanding of why I need a balloon whisk.

And this is where I set off on the fail boat. The recipe requires that the zabaglione should sit in the fridge for ten minutes to cool. I left it in the fridge for over an hour, assuming that this was a stopping point in the recipe before final assembly. Au contraire, ten minutes really means ten minutes. When I retrieved the bowl, the contents had deflated into a runny mess, rendering my incipient case of whisker’s elbow worthless.

I tried to rescue it by adding the whipped cream, which I let go to very stiff peaks — no luck. I even tried beating in some mascarpone, as had been suggested in the comments from my first try — still no joy.

So, we ate another dessert’s worth of berry-and-egg soup.

I’ll give this one more try, and after that, it’s quits. But in the meantime, I’ve discovered a superior berry recipe, which I will divulge in a day or so.


Phyllis Bregman July 18, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Ha! It’s simply a failure to know idiosyncratic nature of zabaglione and not your failure as a pastry chef. I think I’ll try this after I buy a balloon whisk.

David July 19, 2009 at 12:04 am

Yup, balloon whisk for me, too.

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