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 Tian (2 ways)

This recipe results in a thick liquid custard filling, begging for a spoon. For a more souffle-like consistency, add the optional egg whites. Makes 4 – 6 ounce tians.

6 ounces raspberries
6 ounces blueberries
8 ounces strawberries, hulled, quartered
Zest of one lemon
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter four 6-ounce shallow ramekins. Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar, tapping out excess. Place ramekins on a baking tray. Arrange raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in one layer in ramekins. Sprinkle with lemon zest.  Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in cardamom and cream. (If using egg whites, beat in a bowl of an electric mixer until firm. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolks and mix to combine. Gently fold in remaining egg whites).
Pour egg mixture over fruit. Bake in oven until golden brown and custard is set on top (it will still wobble when jiggled), about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on racks. Serve warm (not hot) or chilled. Garnish with extra lemon zest.

16 responses to “Summer Berry Tian

  1. This looks fabulously delicious! I’m wishing I had that sitting in my office right now. Yum!

  2. 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.

  3. Oh that sounds wonderful. And I’ve never made one!

  4. How I love berry season. This sounds so delicious! I’ve actually never made one before either.

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

    • 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.

  6. What a beautiful and simple dish. I have never heard of (or tried) tian but this looks just lovely. Bookmarking this to try soon.

  7. Such beautiful combination of colours!

  8. Summer in a dish indeed… this looks so delicious (and do-able!) love the choice of cardamom as well.

  9. InexperiencedCook

    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 :-)

    • 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!

  10. 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

    • 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!

  11. Summer is summed in that tian for me :) Great looking colors and a nice shot!Cardamom does it for me.

  12. 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?