Recipe: Small Berry Custards

Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

Conventional berry tarts are made by baking a shell of cookie dough and, when it is cold, filling it with custard, arranging berries on top, and finishing it with a glaze. However, it is easier, faster, and less caloric to make this similar recipe without the dough. The custard is spooned into individual soufflé molds or small glass bowls and topped with berries glazed with seedless raspberry jam. Any small molds with about a 1/2-cup capacity that are pretty enough to serve in the dining room will work here.

4 servings

Pastry Cream

For the pastry cream: Bring the half-and-half and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl with a whisk. Add the flour to the yolks and mix it in well with the whisk. Pour the hot half-and-half into the yolk mixture and whisk it in. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil, whisking until it thickens. Boil for 10 seconds longer, remove from the heat, and cool.

When ready to assemble the desserts, divide the cream among four 1/2-cup molds. Cut each strawberry lengthwise into 6 to 8 slices and stand the slices up all around the edge of the molds so the tips extend a little beyond the edge. Arrange a layer of raspberries on top of the cream in each mold inside the strawberry border. Heat the raspberry jam for about 10 seconds in a microwave if it is too firm to use as a glaze and coat the berries with the jam. Garnish with the mint sprigs if using. Serve with cookies, if you like.

Episode 203: Perfect Presentations

Lobster Roll Medallions on Spinach Salad show off Jacques' new presentation of a summer seafood favorite. He proves that a craving for hearty food can be satisfied in minutes with Quick Lamb Stew, where vegetables are cooked separately and the lamb is served rare. Finally, skip the time and effort it takes to make a tart crust and head straight for the filling in this shortcut that encases Small Berry Custards in pretty dishes.

Watch Complete Episode

Minute Recipe: Fried Capers

Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

For an unusual cocktail accompaniment, I like to deep-fry capers. Although small capers are preferred for most recipes, the largest capers available are the best for deep-frying. Crunchy and nutty, these will surprise and delight your guests.

Drain a 3- to 4-ounce jar large capers in a sieve. Rinse well under cool tap water to remove excess salt. Dry thoroughly on paper towels. Heat 1/2 to 1 inch canola or safflower oil to about 350 degrees in a skillet. Add the capers and cook for about 2 minutes, moving them around gently with a slotted spoon. They should be light brown and dry. Drain on paper towels and when cool enough to handle, transfer to a serving bowl.

Makes about 1/2 cup