The challenge of summer, at least for us amateur pastry chefs, is that it is hard to beat a perfectly ripe piece of fruit. Why bother with anything else? I mean, have you eaten a peach?
This recipe is brilliant because it is so slight. Throw some raspberries into a gratin dish. Spread some sour cream on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and broil for a couple of minutes until the sugar is melted. The resulting dish is one of the best things you’ll eat all summer. And it took you all of five minutes to make.
No substitutions here. I know some of you crazy people claim you don’t like sour cream, which is as foreign to me as not liking water (truth be told, I have a friend that doesn’t like water— but she is another story entirely). Don’t try this with something other than sour cream. Just eat a bowl of raspberries. Or a Butterfinger. The sour cream is such a perfect foil for the raspberries, it is unreal. And of course, make this only when you have an especially amazing basket of raspberries and some full fat sour cream. Standards, dear readers, standards.
I won’t even give you a recipe. You know what to do. I will give you advice: Get as even a coat of brown sugar as possible, it will help prevent burning. The original recipe even suggests sifting the brown sugar. Once it is under the broiler, watch very carefully because you want the sugar to melt, not burn. It can go from melting to burnt in about 5 seconds. Mine burnt a little this time— still good, but we shouldn’t be eating that. Eat this immediately after removing from oven. There will be a hot top layer followed by cool and creamy sour cream and raspberries. Perfection.
[This recipe is from an awesome cookbook from the 80’s, New America Classics by Jeremiah Tower. Deb first turned me onto the recipe last year. Thanks to both of them.]
July 28th, 2011 at 7:09 am
Bookmarked and ready to try!
July 28th, 2011 at 7:39 am
oh wow. that makes my mouth water! Looks so gooood!
July 28th, 2011 at 7:53 am
July 28th, 2011 at 7:55 am
I just burned through a whole pint of raspberries straight out of the basket in the last 24 hours. This, unfortunately, will have to wait. But it will be done! Looks ungodly delicious.
Caroline Shields says:
July 28th, 2011 at 8:01 am
I love this!
July 28th, 2011 at 10:00 am
I wouldn’t dream of substituting anything for the sour cream, but do you think this would work well with other fruit/berries, too? Or is there something about the sunny sweet tartness of raspberries that makes this particular combination the one to try?
July 28th, 2011 at 10:49 am
I love the simplicity of this, and agree with entirely with the importance of full fat sour cream! I can’t wait to pick up some raspberries at the farmers market this weekend.
Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers says:
July 28th, 2011 at 11:58 am
Oh gosh, Tim, this reminds me so much of a jello (please don’t gag) that all my female relatives made back in the ’70’s that I just adored. It must have been fresh raspberries (or, no, frozen. Fresh berries weren’tt so much in the markets back then) enrobed in raspberry jello with a sugared sour cream topping. I would go face first into that thing whenever it showed up at a potluck. Your dish here, of course, is much more elegant and lovely (not to mention that it doesn’t contain hooves) and I’ll be making it this weekend. A big advantage to me is that you can create only the number of serving required at one time.
Love your work, Tim!
July 28th, 2011 at 1:26 pm
kari (tanglewood baked goods) says:
July 28th, 2011 at 1:30 pm
mmm. strawberries, brown sugar, and sour cream were a staple of my childhood summers. have you seen suzanne goin’s raspberry sour cream gratin? she makes a custard first so it’s a li’l more complicated, but generally same idea. looking forward to trying both!
July 28th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
I make this with creme fraiche and it is honestly my favorite dessert. So good and so easy that it’s ridiculous.
Kathryn @ Dramatic Pancake says:
July 28th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
This looks so good, and like something I could actually throw together on a weeknight! I would have never put fruit with sour cream, but you convinced me. Will have to pick up some raspberries this weekend and try it out!
July 28th, 2011 at 3:47 pm
This. Looks. Amazing. So simple but I can imagine how delicious this is! I’m off to make mine right now! -^_^-
Meister @ The Nervous Cook says:
July 28th, 2011 at 5:41 pm
Woah, woah! After the terrible day I had, this is exactly what I need. In my mouth. Right now. Sigh…
heather @ chiknpastry says:
July 28th, 2011 at 5:46 pm
I am imagining a tasty result with blueberries. (even though substitutions aren’t allowed, i sorta get annoyed with seeds!!)
July 28th, 2011 at 6:17 pm
I assume you know the green grapes, sour cream, and brown sugar dessert that was famous in the 50’s and carried through to the 70’s. It’s like this, but not broiled. Just chilled.
July 28th, 2011 at 11:48 pm
I wonder if it would be good with another tart fruit like plums? I suppose raspberries would be the best though.
July 29th, 2011 at 4:41 am
i was thinking about it the other day – I was trying to recall the ‘best dessert with strawberries ever’ and it was actually plain strawberries with cream. You just can’t improve certain things, can you? This dessert goes exactly in that direction. Just one question, do you think that I can use my little dessert torch (the one for creme brulee) in place of the broiler? SInce I have it, I look forward to all occasions to use it :)
July 29th, 2011 at 9:30 am
This looks amazing! The perfect summer dessert when complicated measurements and recipes are low on the priority list, and having fun and good food with friends is top priority!
Linda S says:
July 29th, 2011 at 11:31 am
I am a huge fan of a REAL blow torch for this kind of thing. Not those cute little kitchen ones. The guys at Ace Hardware were quite impressed when I bought mine.
Linda S says:
July 29th, 2011 at 11:32 am
p.s. I love sugar in the raw for creme brulees, it’s got a nice coarseness that distributes well if you tip the ramekin around.
July 29th, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Oooo! I must try this immediately.
July 30th, 2011 at 10:44 am
I made this last night with a mix of raspberries and blueberries. Wonderful.
Diana @ a girl, a dog and an oven says:
July 31st, 2011 at 9:37 am
Ooooooohhh…awesome idea. Perfect for my new kitchen torch!! :-)
July 31st, 2011 at 11:16 am
This dish reminds me of the Two Fat Ladies doing a brulee of peaches.
August 1st, 2011 at 3:28 pm
I made it – it was amazing!
August 1st, 2011 at 9:36 pm
I thought this would be good, but it was beyond good. warm out of the oven…..thanks for another fantastic (and easy) recipe!
christine [the sugar apothecary] says:
August 2nd, 2011 at 9:02 am
Haha, STANDARDS is right! I’m all for healthy substitutions and the like, but sometimes, you just need the real thing. And come on! A little full fat sour cream never hurt anybody. When a dessert is this simple and perfect, there’s no reason of mess with it. I love that you don’t have to keep the oven on for an hour, either. Summer fruit pies were killing me last week!
Swigs and Grinds says:
August 2nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm
Wow. You just officially rocked my world. A dessert recipe that requires no measurements and is as easy as this? I can’t wait….
Love your blog –
August 2nd, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Ugh!!! What did i do wrong? The creme fraiche melted into a puddle and the raw sugar melted into water!!!!!! I guess NO substitutions?
August 2nd, 2011 at 7:53 pm
Hey Sonja, This is certainly strange! Although, I did warn you not to substitute. ; ) Maybe you left it in the oven too long?
August 2nd, 2011 at 11:13 pm
besides the fact that this looks amazing and I will definitely try it as my front yard is literally overflowing with raspberries – this was one of the best opening paragraphs, ever. I mean, have you eaten a peach? Genius. Thanks for being awesome, as always.
August 3rd, 2011 at 7:44 pm
strawberries and (cold) sour cream and (dark) brown sugar is legendary, around these parts. i dare say this sounds like a fine variation.
our raspberries won’t be back until fall, but we’ve a fantastic quart of blackberries in the fridge. i think their destiny is now clear…
August 4th, 2011 at 11:24 am
Tim, Tim, Tim…thank you for such a simple yet sublime treat! I tried it with a lovely peach and my eyes rolled back in my head with pleasure. Takes nothing to throw together but tastes like a homemade peach cream pie. Thank you!
August 4th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Hi Jen! So glad you liked it with peaches-I’ll give it a try.
August 9th, 2011 at 3:25 pm
I’m always surprised at how many people don’t like sour cream… personally I love it and have been mixing bananas and sugar with it since I was a kid. I really hope I can find some raspberries in the market to give this a try!
August 11th, 2011 at 1:54 pm
I made this a few weeks ago and it was absolutely delicious-the perfect raspberries from our local vendor made it that much better. Cheers!
Kathryn at Good Life Road says:
August 13th, 2011 at 3:52 pm
This is my kind of dessert. I love the simplest of desserts and three ingredients and 5 minutes hits it right on the mark. Can’t wait to make this for family this weekend – thanks!
August 13th, 2011 at 5:11 pm
Have only done this with strawberries—but, raspberries sounds fantastic!
August 14th, 2011 at 11:40 am
The Joy of Cooking also has this recipe in it. It’s called Fruit Brulee. I made it using peaches, but raspberries are truly divine.
August 20th, 2011 at 5:02 pm
What about 2% Fagé? I must make this now! Walking to the store is not an option :)
August 20th, 2011 at 6:28 pm
Shayna, Did you read the post? No substitutions. ; ) Fage will be okay, but it will not be sour cream.
August 27th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
The sour cream curdled. What did I do wrong?
August 27th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
I have no idea. I’ve made this several times and have never had that problem. And it doesn’t sound like others have had that happen either. Maybe something with your sour cream? Sorry that it happened, it is disappointing.
September 5th, 2011 at 8:41 am
I made this for company last night – 8 enthusiastic thumbs up! To accommodate dietary restrictions I made 1 with full fat sour cream and regular brown sugar, 1 with full fat sour cream and Splenda brown sugar blend and 2 with far free sour cream and Splenda brown sugar blend. Everyone raved.
November 5th, 2011 at 6:04 pm
I can’t wait to try this. I’m so mad that I had JUST stumbled upon your blog which is a lot of awesomeness I’ve been missing out. But as the old adage says, better late than never. Thanks for sharing this.
November 6th, 2011 at 8:56 pm
Thanks, Janis! That is so nice to hear, and the blog isn’t going anywhere, so take your time exploring.
March 22nd, 2012 at 1:22 am
The first two times, I made this with raspberries and sour cream… AWESOME! The third time, I broke the rules and made it with an overripe banana, grapes, blackberries, and mascarpone…HEAVENLY! Thank you for the idea!!