Sunday Dinner

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Mushroom Pâté
Rosemary Crackers

Spring Beef Daube

French Creams with Berries

We have had a wet Spring here so that means Sunday soccer make-up games and a Sunday dinner that can be made in advance and cook by itself-- sort of.  I made the appetizer and dessert yesterday (after Saturday soccer games).  The main dish  simmers on the stove for several hours until it becomes fork tender.  That leaves me peeling potatoes and baking a loaf of bread.  Since the dessert is made in advance, I am sharing that recipe and photo today.

French Creams are creamy white custards that are set with gelatin.  I lightened the original recipe and swapped out the mascarpone for crème fraîche because the first time I made these that is what I had on hand and I loved the way it turned out.  The creams are sweetened with sugar and their flavor is enhanced with the addition of a little fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Topped with fresh berries and a raspberry coulis, they are the perfect ending to our Sunday dinner.

French Cream with Berries
serves 6
*The creams can be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated.

2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 Tablespoons cold water
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 2/3 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup crème fraîche
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups fresh mixed berries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
1 1/2 cups Raspberry Coulis (recipe below)

In a small heatproof bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and allow the gelatin to soften for 10 minutes.  In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the half and half, sugar, sour cream, and crème fraîche.  Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water; making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the hot water.  Heat the cream mixture until it is warm, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Heat the bowl of gelatin in the microwave until the gelatin is dissolved and no longer cloudy, about 15-20 seconds.  Whisk the gelatin into the cream mixture.  Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.  Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl.  Divide the mixture evenly into six 5-ounce ramekins or dishes.  Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Serve chilled topped with the berries and sauce.  For an alternate presentation, dip the base of each ramekin into hot water for several seconds, then run a thin paring knife around the inside edge of the ramekin and invert the cream onto a serving plate.  Top with the berries and sauce and serve.  Enjoy!

Raspberry Coulis
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 pint of fresh raspberries, or 12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons framboise liqueur, optional

In a blender, purée the raspberries with the sugar, lemon juice, and framboise.  Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the raspberry mixture, pressing firmly with a rubber spatula.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Stored in the refrigerator, the sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Source: French Creams adapted from Classic Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti, Raspberry Coulis adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997 


  1. This dessert is right up my alley!! I think I love everything about it. Raspberries are just coming into season at my local farmer's market and I have them on my list for this weeks visit, I think I just might have to buy extra!
    I miss soccer!! My son is 14 now and has stopped playing, but I had so many enjoyable weekends cheering the different teams on! Enjoy while you can.

  2. These are so pretty and such a lovely name. I posted a recipe for a blueberry curd which would also be very delicious with this dessert. Love you photos!

  3. I don't which I love more, your recipes or your photos! Lovely dessert; will you be my mom?


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