Strawberry gratin

(Jonathan Levitt for The Boston Globe)
June 15, 2011

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Serves 4

Butter (for the dish)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, sifted
2 tablespoons butter, cut up
Pinch of salt
1 cup crème fraîche
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Butter a 9-inch-square baking dish.

2. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Turn off heat.

3. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the cornstarch. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Gradually whisk in the milk. Return the mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens like a pudding. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt.

4. Transfer the custard to a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool. When cool, fold in the crème fraîche.

5. Turn on the broiler.

6. In a bowl toss the strawberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Spread half the berries in the baking dish. Spoon custard over the strawberries. Top with remaining berries. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

7. Broil about 12 inches from the element for 7 minutes, or until bubbling and browned.

Jonathan Levitt