Tomorrow on Good Food, Laura Avery talks to Robert Wemischner, professor of baking and pastry at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Robert likes to use the fresh strawberries in a strawberry gratin – similar to a strawberry clafouti. He infuses the cream with fresh Bay Leaf for a savory kick.
Keep reading for a recipe for his Farmers Market Strawberry Gratin…
Farmers Market Strawberry Gratin
By Robert Wemischner
Great berries yield to a highly fragrant, fruity but not too sweet dessert. A celebration of great seasonal produce, this dessert has just enough rich custard to hold the fruit together. andIt’s a quick ending for a spring meal that can be made ahead and takes advantage of spring season strawberries at their peak, currently gracing the stalls of our local farmers markets. A hint of bay leaf in the custard lends an warm, earthy and amazingly complex flavor to this simple dessert. I like to serve this warm so if you have made it in advance of serving, reheat by placing the custards) in a preheated 350 degree F. oven into a water bath (water should just come halfway up the sides of the dishes just until warm.
1 pint fresh deep red and fragrant strawberries, sliced thinly
1 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
2 fresh or 1 dried bay leaf
5 egg yolks, from large eggs
2 oz (approximately 1/3 c.) fine granulated sugar
4 perfectly ripe strawberries, 1 for each serving of the dessert
Generous ¼ cup crème fraiche
Homemade shortbread wedge, if desired
Divide the strawberries among four heat-proof 1 cup capacity ramekins and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Bring milk, cream and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the bay leaf to infuse the milk and cream mixture for about 10 minutes (taste frequently to confirm that the bay leaf flavor comes through nicely. Remove the bay leaf and then reheat the liquid just until hot. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light well blended. Gradually stir in the heated milk and cream mixture. Try not to aerate the mixture. Now pour the mixture over the strawberries, dividing it equally among the four ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until just set, about 35 to 40 minutes. The mixture should feel somewhat firm to the touch. Do not overbake. At this point, either serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraiche spooned over each serving. Or, if you wish to serve the custards later, allow them to cool and then refrigerate, covered. About 10-15 minutes before serving, place them into a hot water bath and re-warming them in a 350 degree F. oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until warm, but not hot. Then garnish, as desired with strawberries and crème fraiche (and shortbread, if you wish).