Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fruit-and-Almond Gratins

If you are looking for an easy dessert to make that doesn't take too much time and is not too sweat, try this recipe. I like that it uses fruits. I'm not much of a dessert person, and it seems when I do want to prepare one I go with chocolate. So this is a good change for me. It also looks better than just fruits for dessert. This recipe is from Gourmet and I also found it at Epicurious with cook notes which make it easier too prepare.

Also one of the notes said that they have used pears, blueberries and peaches, so I decided to try to vary the fruit also. It turned out to be sumptuous. Next time I will also try walnuts instead of almonds. If you do try it that way, drop me a note and tell me how it turns out please.

I didn't have gratin dishes, so I used one big Pyrex dish. Just make sure you butter the dish, or it takes a long time to clean it.

FRUIT-AND-ALMOND GRATINS

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup almond flour or almond meal (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 firm-ripe Bartlett pears (1 lb total)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup raspberries (5 oz)
1/2 cup seedless grapes (3 oz)
3/4 cup sliced almonds (3 oz)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Special equipment: 4 (5 1/2- by 1-inch) shallow flameproof gratin dishes or a 12 1/2- by 7 1/2- by 1 1/2-inch shallow flameproof gratin dish

Directions:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter gratin dishes.

Whisk together eggs, cream, confectioners sugar, almond flour, vanilla, and salt in a bowl until combined well. Quarter pears lengthwise, then peel, core, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges. Toss pears with lemon juice in a bowl, then divide among gratin dishes. Divide raspberries and grapes among gratin dishes, then pour custard mixture over fruit. Sprinkle with almonds and dot with butter. Transfer gratin dishes to a shallow baking pan.

Bake until pears are tender, about 30 minutes. Preheat broiler and broil gratins 4 to 5 inches from heat until almonds are golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool on a rack to warm or room temperature before serving.

Note: Almond flour (made from blanched almonds) and almond meal (containing the skins) are about the same grind and can be used interchangeably in this recipe. Grind whole blanched almonds (from the Middle Eastern market) in the food processor to a fine meal.

Makes 4 servings.

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