French Berry Gratin with Elderflower

After a bubbly afternoon of Champagne tasting in Paris last week, I promised to make this French Berry Gratin recipe with thoughts of that 100% Pinot Noir evoking grilled fruits. Isn’t it incredible how wine tastings can leave you dreaming about accompanying foods?

A fruit gratin is popular in France – probably because it not only showcases the sweetest of seasonal fruits, but it’s also such a quick yet elegant French dessert to whip up in under 30 minutes.

Berry Gratin

A Perfect Summer Heatwave Dessert

This kind of gratin isn’t to be confused with a Crème Brûlée, where the top has a thick layer of sugar and is burned to form a hard cracking layer on top. I have a classic recipe in Mad About Macarons, but try this Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée – it’s from another planet!

Instead, this gratin dessert highlights the fruits; it’s lightly grilled without the crunch and it has a more liquid form of custard, rather similar to a Crème Anglaise rather than set.  That’s why it’s a handy summer recipe to have if you don’t want the oven on too much during a heatwave.

berry gratin recipe method

Although I say ‘sweet’, this berry gratin has just enough sugar added but not too much to overpower the natural sugars in the fruits.

It’s on the same lines as this Rhubarb and Strawberry Gratin – have you tried it yet?

Berry Gratin dessert

I’d normally make this using a vanilla pod/bean but this time I felt like some elderflower to highlight the strawberries.  If you’ve tried my Strawberry Eclairs with Elderflower Cream recipe in Teatime in Paris, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

As I’m not lucky enough to have elderflowers around, I cheat with a little cordial (Ikea have one) or syrup (Monin’s is good). However, if you have Elderflower liqueur such as Saint Germain, then that’s great too!

If you’re not into elderflower, then infuse this cream with some lemon verbena – so many variations are easy to dream up for this berry gratin recipe.

Berry Gratin recipe

Berry Gratin Recipe

Berry Gratin with Elderflower
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 

Summer red fruit berry gratin, a quick yet elegant French dessert with fresh berries topped with an elderflower cream and toasted under the grill for a couple of minutes.

Servings: 4 people
Calories: 215 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 400 g (14oz) mixed fresh berries organic
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar
  • good pinch vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp extract)
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial or syrup (or Saint Germain liqueur)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Divide the mixed berries between 4 ovenproof dishes and spread them out in a single layer.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy (about 5 minutes). Continue to whisk, adding the cordial/syrup and the cream until well mixed.

  3. Pour over the fruits and place under a hot grill for just 2 minutes until the cream is toasted but not burned.  You could also use a blowtorch instead.
    Serve immediately -  or prepare a couple of hours in advance, chill then reheat in a warm oven at 140°C for about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes

There are countless floral variations to this recipe: replace elderflower cordial/syrup with violet or rose syrup. Or replace the syrup with 25g more cream and infuse with lavender or lemon verbena.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Berry Gratin

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Berry Gratin recipe?  Please do leave a comment below or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons.  I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much for popping in! Just to let you know I’ll be rather disconnected on my annual travels (as ever, like the French, we leave Paris at this time!) over the next 3 weeks but will try to pop in when I can.  Have a lovely summer, wherever you are! Speaking of French Berries, don’t forget to wear a hat!

French Berry Gratin

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Champagne and Patisserie Salon – Paris 2018

If it wasn’t for Carol Gillott’s enticingly beautiful, bubbly artwork announcing the 2-day Champagne and Patisserie Salon in Paris this week, I wouldn’t have popped out to play. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to venture out again, jump on a train out of Mumsy land, and sip Champagne with a taste of the most exquisite French patisserie.

Champagne Patisserie Salon Paris

Thankfully Madame Bauchet came to the rescue. Stepping in to the velveteen-carpeted room fizzing with some of the 33 prestigious Champagne houses at the Pavillon Ledoyen can be intimidating, especially as the chandelier-clad address just off the Champs-Elysées is not only one of the oldest restaurant in Paris (1792), but also happens to be THE address of 3-starred Michelin chef extraordinaire, Yannick Alléno.

Champagne Pol Roger and Bauchet

The room was popping with the incredibles of French fizz; no patisserie in sight and where was Carol?

In the meantime, I spotted Winston Churchill’s favourite (Jill’s too), Pol Roger, but headed for the houses I didn’t know yet. Madame Bauchet, continuing her family’s Champagne since 1920, helped tantalise my palet with her elegant Cuvée Constraste, a slightly mineral extra brut Blanc de Pinot Noir (Blanc de Noirs) from the vines of the Côte des Bar and Montagne de Reims that woke up the senses. Their domaine of 34 hectares produces different crus featuring Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Champagne Lamiable et Mailly

I was tempted to try another of her neighbour’s 100% Pinot Noir bubbles with Lamiable’s Cuvée Les Meslaines (Grand Cru, 2011) from Tours sur Marne, picked from 60-year-old vines named Meslaines.  Subtle notes of hazelnuts and grilled fruit turned my mind to dessert. Hm, I fancy a fruit gratin coming on. It was certainly opening up the appetite, hence why these are excellent Champagnes for an apéritif.

Never be shy with the spittoons or crachoirs. I’m still looking for ways to spit elegantly so any ideas at the bottom of this post are most welcome!  I always feel guilty, especially when the wine-maker is right in front of you. It’s like saying, “I spit out your wine!” but honestly, if you want to stay standing by the end of it all, they encourage it.

Eager to get to the next room for some patisserie, I tried out the Maison de Mailly. All their Champagnes are Grand Cru. Again, there was no Pinot Meunier. Before uttering the embarrassing words, “But I LOVE a touch of Pinot Meunier …”, I was saved by a jolly English-American who interrupted, convinced I was like Julie Andrews. Most flattered, this was the point I suddenly gathered up some of Maria’s confidence and decided it was time for the patisserie, grabbing a taster of Mailly’s Rosé Champagne by maceration (90% Pinot Noir/10% Chardonnay), with a hint of strawberries. Surely there was something that could go with it.

rum baba chef Vauxion K2

As if by magic, strawberries appeared in a form of art in a mini tasting dish. Sébastien Vauxion, executive pastry chef of Le K2 Collections in Courchevel, was demonstrating his Rum Baba, with the show projected on to a bigger screen for those not able to make it to the front line and see all the details. I posted this as a Live Video on Instagram but forgot to take a photo for you here.

In the background is another piece of pastry artwork by the new chef pâtissier from Paris’s Hôtel Le Crillon, Pablo Gicquel: an intense vanilla meringue filled with vanilla and almond praline.

Rum baba and De Sousa Champagne

This is a Baba au Rhum based on a surprising pronounced twist of saffron from Savoie (the restaurants are all based there, particularly in Courchevel), lemon, strawberry and red pepper. It sounds crazy but I love everything a bit on the mad side and this totally worked. During the demonstration, chef Vauxion ensures that there’s plenty of vanilla Chantilly piped on top and adds the finishing touch: candied pears.

Do you know what always amazes me about the finest French patisserie? It’s never overly sweet.  It’s all in the dosage by the nearest gram: not too little and never too much – just like Champagne. Thankfully, the general manager of the K2 Collection, Jean-Alain Baccon, suddenly appeared as personal sommelier and brought the perfect match: De Sousa’s 2008 Cuvée des Caudalies, strong enough in Chardonnay to support the saffron. I could get used to this.

Carol Gillott watercolour artist Paris

There she was!

Carol Gillott (of Paris Breakfasts fame) had her own artist quarters, tucked in the most deliciously gourmet corner next to the patisserie chefs’ central demonstration stand.

Champagne Patisserie Salon Paris

What a table, surrounded by patisserie and bubbles.  She was absolutely radiant, sketching and painting tempting watercolours of the fine patisseries and Champagne on the spot, along with the chefs’ signatures.

Did you know that Carol painted the gorgeous Paris map as the endpapers in my book, Teatime in Paris?

Carol Gillott's map in Teatime in Paris

Carol Gillott’s map made for the endpapers in Teatime in Paris!

Meanwhile, Carol’s artistic eye caught sight of Jessica, Chef Vauxion’s wife, beautiful in this chic red dress. Carol looked ready to paint her too. No wonder – the ruffles looked like Saint-Honoré waves of a strawberry Crème Chiboust.

Chef Vauxion and wife

Chef Sebastien Vauxion and wife, Jessica

I spotted chef Alléno a few times, as I had a quick peak upstairs with Carol. In French, I’d say he’s a bel homme and rather a beau-gosse: slim, dynamic, suave, attractive. Typical; I gaze at him as he brushes past, I’m starry-eyed, trying to utter the words in French, ‘Please can I take your photo for my readers?’ He swiftly targets the disguised, curtained door. I’ve missed the opportunity – just as well, as I suddenly can’t even find the camera button.

Pavillon Ledoyen Paris

Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris

Back to see what was going on at the Patisserie stand, next up was Chef Aurélien Rivoire, the only French pastry chef who is head of two three-starred restaurants, the Pavillon Ledoyen and the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel. Again, I took this floral courgette, strawberry and vanilla dessert live on stories and forgot to save it!  Was it the Champagne?

Champagne Patisserie Salon Paris

Before heading out the door, I spotted my favourite rosé Champagne, Billecart Salmon, preparing to party. Trust the French to leave an event with such panache.

Meanwhile, it was time to get back on the RER train’s carriage to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just outside Paris and think about my shopping list, the next load of laundry and what’s for dinner. Let’s see; something with saffron, red peppers, vanilla, strawberries and tucked into a rum baba, please.

Carol Gillott

With Carol Gillott, artist in Residence for the Champagne and Fine Patisserie Salon, Paris, 2018

Thanks for a most wonderful effervescent afternoon, Carol!