Lemon Mint Berry Brulee
Can you overdose on fruit? Just asking for a friend.
In totally unrelated news, I found myself with more than 5 different kinds of fresh fruit in my house last week. I may have gone a little overboard with my enthusiasm for fresh spring berries and fruits. They’re just so good!
Do you know what’s even better than fresh spring berries, though?
Fresh spring berries covered in a luscious custard sauce… and then brulee-d. YES.
I’m loving lemon and mint this season (again), so I decided to go with a creamy, light lemon mint sabayon to top my fresh berries. It’s sweet but also packs a little zing from the lemon. I could just eat it with a spoon. Instead I spooned it over some fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, sprinkled it with sugar and shoved it under the broiler until the top was carmelized. Holy yum.
(I had planned to use my kitchen torch, but only discovered when I went to use it that it’s out of gas. Oops. I think these would have turned out even better if I had used my torch! Oh well.)
The firm, tart berries soften just slightly under the broiler, and the sabayon finds it’s way into the cracks between all of the berries. Once brulee-d, it even has a little bit of that familiar crack when tapped with a spoon, just like creme brulee.
Get your whisking arm ready! This dessert may require a little bit of elbow grease to whip up, but I think the payoff is pretty major.
Lemon Mint Berry Brulee
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
My initial plan was to smother the chilled berries with custard then brulee the tops with a torch, producing a nice contrast between cold berries and warm custard. But my torch was out of gas – bummer. Using the broiler doesn’t quite yield the same effect but it does caramelize the sugar well – just keep an eye on them!
1/4 cup water
handful of fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar, for caramelized crust
In a small, microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat water in microwave on HIGH for 20-30 seconds, until hot but not boiling. Add mint leaves. Muddle and bruise leaves with a wooden spoon, then set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Strain mint water into small bowl, discarding mint leaves. Add lemon zest and lemon juice.
Fill a medium saucepan with about 2-inches of water and bring to a simmer. In a medium metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar to combine, about 1 minute. Set bowl over simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture begins to thicken – about 1 minute. Slowly add in mint lemon water, continuing to whisk over heat. Continue whisking and cooking 5-7 minutes more, or until sabayon is pale yellow and thick enough to cling to and coat the back of a spoon. Remove from saucepan and whisk 30 seconds to cool. Set aside, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the berries.
Divide berries evenly among 6 6-ounce ramekins. Dollop sabayon over berries, dividing evenly among all the ramekins. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon sugar over sabayon in each ramekin. Torch or broil* until sugar is caramelized. Serve.
* If using the broiler, move your oven rack to the top spot and place the prepared ramekins on a baking sheet. Cook as close to the broiler as you can, rotating if necessary to brulee evenly, keeping a close eye on them until tops are browned. It should only take a few minutes so don’t walk away!