Saturday, June 23, 2007

Clafoutis


The first time I ever had clafoutis (clow (as in, "Ow! That hurts!)-foo-tea) when we first moved into our house, 10 years ago. My friend Nicole had come to help me unpack my kitchen and brought along a swellegant little supper for us, which included a clafoutis for dessert. It was a little bowlful of heaven.

I have a sweet tooth but am not usually one for the big, gooey dessert. Dessert is, in fact, not a standard course in our house; usually making an appearance only at dinner parties and even then, I've sometimes been known to forget to serve it. And unless I'm serving dessert to ChouChou, who is the world's greatest chocoholic, I prefer fruit desserts like lemon curd tartlets or Tarte Tatin. Clafoutis is my idea of a perfect dessert, full of cherries baked in a very light custard-like cloud of yum, not too sweet and not too filling. It is also very quick and easy to make and virtually impossible to screw up.

Clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries and so holds a place as a go-to dessert for summer parties. It can be made with other fruits (although in France it is then called a flognarde (or flaugnarde. Which I don't think that sounds nearly as dreamy as clafoutis). The hard-core traditionalists do not pit the cherries, claiming that the pits impart a stronger flavor. That is no doubt true, as cherry pits have an almond-like thing going on. But I personally don't regard dessert as an extreme sport, nor does it seem very thoughtful to ask guests to risk the threat of dental work.

Recipes vary. Some stick to a straight-on custard approach: sugar, eggs and cream. Period. Others go for a more cake-like consistency by using flour or cornstarch. I do something in-between, using just a little flour to bolster the custard and give it a wee bit more body. Clafoutis is best served at room temperature the day it is made. Although I've been known to eat left-overs for breakfast.

Cherry Clafoutis

2 T. kirsch (although since I never have kirsch in the house, I use vodka, red wine or even water with a little almond extract in it)
1/2 c. plus 2 T. sugar
2 pounds pitted cherries (you can use frozen cherries if you like)
2 large eggs
6 T. heavy cream
6 T. milk
3 T. flour
Confectioner's sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 ° F.

Combine the liqueur and 2 T. of sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Mix in the cherries and toss to blend. Pour everything out into baking dish. Put in the oven and bake about 10 minutes, until the fruit is hot.

Transfer the fruit to a colander to drain. (Reserve the juice...it makes a nice little addition to mineral water or champagne).

Lower the temperature of the oven to 350° F. Return the drained fruit to the baking dish, arranging it in a single layer.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs on high for a minute or two until light and frothy. Add in the 1/2 c. of sugar and beat until well-blended, another minute or two. Add the cream, milk and flour; beat until blended.

Pour batter over the fruits, filling just until the cherries are covered. Bake until the batter is golden and firm, 35-40 minutes.

Let baking dish sit on a rack to cool. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving. You might also serve the clafoutis with some ice cream or whipped cream that you've flavored with some of the juice from the pre-baking. (The cream will turn a very pretty shade of pale pink).

4 comments:

Seattle Coffee Girl said...

Aaah, thank you for posting this special request of mine. And thank you even MORE for making this for the baby shower sleepover party at the Nayb's! It was swellegant as always, even if we girls ended up eating our desserts in shifts. :)I loved the flavor and texture, and was charmed to see The Child shovel about four MASSIVE spoonfuls onto her dessert plate when she served herself dessert. The girl knows what's good in life, and no doubt she gets her good taste from her mother!

Thank you for sharing this recipe. It's killer, as Nayb likes to say. :) xoxox

Lorraine said...

You're very welcome. Hope you don't mind clafoutis two nights in a row. (I know I wouldn't).

Red7Eric said...

Are those cherries in the photo? They rather look like blueberries, which would be twice as heavenly to me ...

Lorraine said...

Those are big, dark cherries, Red. And like I said, you could certainly make it with blueberries if you wanted. And it would be tres yummy.