French Berry Gratin, a quick yet elegant summer fruit dessert with fresh berries in an elderflower sabayon and toasted under the grill.

Berry Gratin

A fruit gratin is popular in France – probably because it not only showcases the sweetest of seasonal fruits, but it’s also such a quick yet elegant French dessert to whip up in under 30 minutes.

A Summer Fruit Gratin Dessert

This kind of gratin isn’t to be confused with a Crème Brûlée, where the top has a thick layer of sugar and is burned to form a hard cracking layer on top. I have a classic recipe in Mad About Macarons, but try this Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée – it’s from another planet!

Instead, this gratin dessert highlights the fruits; it’s lightly grilled without the crunch and it has a more liquid form of custard, rather similar to a Crème Anglaise rather than set.  That’s why it’s a handy summer recipe to have if you don’t want the oven on too much during a heatwave.

berry gratin recipe method

Reduced Sugar Dessert

Although I say ‘sweet’, this French berry gratin isn’t too sweet. There is just enough sugar added but not too much to overpower the natural sugars in the fruits.

It’s on the same lines as this Rhubarb and Strawberry Gratin – have you tried it yet?

Berry Gratin dessert

Elderflower Desserts

I’d normally make this using a vanilla pod/bean but this time I felt like some elderflower to highlight the strawberries.  If you’ve tried my Strawberry Eclairs with Elderflower Cream recipe in Teatime in Paris, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

As I’m not lucky enough to have elderflowers around, I cheat with a little cordial (Ikea have one) or syrup (Monin is good). However, if you have Elderflower liqueur such as Saint Germain, then that’s great too!

If you’re not into elderflower, then infuse this cream with some lemon verbena – so many variations are easy to dream up for this berry gratin recipe.

Berry Gratin recipe

Have a lovely summer, wherever you are! Speaking of a French ‘Berry’, don’t forget to wear a hat or French beret!

Berry Gratin

French Berry Gratin Recipe

Berry Gratin
5 from 2 votes

Berry Gratin with Elderflower

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time22 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 215kcal


French Berry Gratin, a quick yet elegant summer fruit dessert with fresh berries in an elderflower sabayon and toasted under the grill.


  • 400 g (14oz) mixed fresh berries organic
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50 g (1.75oz) sugar
  • good pinch vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp extract)
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial or syrup (or Saint Germain liqueur)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) whipping cream


  • Divide the mixed berries between 4 ovenproof dishes and spread them out in a single layer.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy (about 5 minutes). Continue to whisk, adding the cordial/syrup and the cream until well mixed.
  • Pour over the fruits and place under a hot grill for just 2 minutes until the cream is toasted but not burned.  You could also use a blowtorch instead.
    Serve immediately -  or prepare a couple of hours in advance, chill then reheat in a warm oven at 140°C for about 5 minutes.


There are countless floral variations to this recipe: replace elderflower cordial/syrup with violet or rose syrup. Or replace the syrup with 25g more cream and infuse with lavender or lemon verbena.

French Berry Gratin

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Comments (7)

Just beautiful! So this blog is different from Mad about Macarons?

Hi Mimi,
Yes, this blog is different yet accompanies my first book, ‘Mad About Macarons’ and my second, ‘Teatime in Paris’. As my publisher prefers that I don’t post the recipes from either book (the books are so inexpensive, it’s worth getting them ;-)), le blog is full of free bonus recipes and articles based around life in and around Paris. If you’d like to see anything else here, please do let me know!

5 stars
This dessert is simply stunning, Jill! The photos are gorgeous and makes me want to make it asap! I’ve only made crème brûlée in the past, but this sounds wonderful, too! Have to give it a try this summer! Thank you for such inspirational recipes and photos!!

Thanks so much, Christina – and thrilled you’ll give this a try. Can imagine in your Californian heat just now that you’ll want to use the oven less! J x

5 stars
This looks just lovely, Jill. Thanks again for the inspiration. Was looking this morning for an easy dessert using fruit for company this weekend!

Wishing you a great rest of your week,

Well so happy the recipe has arrived just in time for you, Betty. Enjoy your guests this weekend.

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