Summer Berry Tian

~ Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries: summer in a dish ~

This berry tian highlights the ease of summer in its simplicity of ingredients and preparation. The season’s best fruit – strawberries, blueberries and raspberries -are blanketed with a cardamom-infused custard and baked, resulting in a refreshing and delightful dessert. Tian is a french word for a shallow earthenware casserole, often gratineed, an appropriately simple and elegant name for this dish. Enjoy warm or chilled.

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Summer Berry Tians (Clafoutis)

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 to 55 minutes
Makes 8 (6-ounce) tians

Unsalted softened butter for greasing the tians
1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
12 ounces mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, quartered strawberries
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups half and half
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 8 (6-ounce) shallow ramekins (or 1 (10-inch) ceramic tart pan). Sprinkle the ramekins with the 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and tap out any excess. Place the ramekins on a baking tray. Arrange the berries in one layer in the ramekins.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the half and half, flour, lemon zest, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt until just combined.
3. Pour the mixture over fruit. Transfer the tians to the oven and bake until the tops are tinged golden brown and the custard is set, about 25 minutes for the ramekins (or 35 to 40 minutes for the tart pan). Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
4. Before serving, sprinkle the tians with powdered sugar and garnish with additional lemon zest. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

16 thoughts on “Summer Berry Tian

  1. We’re having a dinner party in a few weeks and this is the dessert! I love this, Lynda, all the summer fruit I enjoy in a custard-y base.

  2. Gorgeous. Did they naturally turn that pretty brown color on top or did you have to use other equipment? My mouth is officially watering.

    1. They naturally brown as they bake. If you wish for a deeper color, you can broil them briefly at the end – just watch them, since they will quickly color.

  3. This looks great and I just tried making it. unfortunately mine did nt form a crust, I followed all the steps but for some reason my fruits became to watery and the crust just dissolved in it. I used all types of berries and not too many. Any idea why? I want to try making it again. Meanwhile I will use it as topping for a scoop of ice cream 🙂

    1. The top will not be a crust, but rather semi-set, while the interior is meant to be runny and therefore best eaten with a spoon. Make sure to use fresh berries (frozen berries will exude more liquid) and thoroughly dry them after washing to reduce any excess liquid. You might want to try adding more berries (I nearly covered the bottom of my ramekins with the berries) and pouring just enough custard to cover. Good luck, and please let me know how it turns out!

  4. What a gorgeous looking thing, Lynda. Love the individual gratin dishes too. So….what distinguishes a tian from a clafoutis? Is it the thickness of the custard, or the ingredients that make it? I must not have been paying attention that day in class 😉 – S

    1. Steve – a clafoutis has flour and whole eggs in it, so the texture will be more like a baked egg dish and puffs when cooked. This “tian” reflects the vessel – or the gratin dishes it’s baked in. The filling is more flexible, and in this case it’s simply cream, egg yolks and sugar, resulting in a more liquid dessert. They are both good!

  5. I just made this. We loved the taste but after cooking for 30 minutes and cooling an hour it was quite runny. Great flavor though. Did I do something wrong or is this the texture?

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