Clafouti-that delightful French pancake that makes berries and stone fruit shine. Making a good one has been elusive for me. I believe I was first inspired to make clafouti several years ago when watchig Sara Moulton on Sara’s Secrets. You know-back when the Food Network was a television station that could really teach and inspire. Ah, those were the days. Anyway, I soon made my first clafouti. Cherry, I believe. I was impressed that, first, I made something French, and second, that it was easy and really delicious.
Come to think of it, I’m not sure whose recipe I used the first time I made a clafouti. I only know that the second, third and probably fourth time I made it, it didn’t turn out well. My clafoutis were either dry, or very egg-y. I’m talking like eating a sweet omelette or scrambled eggs. Not good. Blech.
Now flash forward to last week’s WaPo Food section, with as you may know, I am seeking inspiration and guidance by making at least one recipe a week, and posting it. Last week, the WaPo featured blogger and cookbook author, David Lebovitz. The “American Blogger in Paris” cooks in his small apartment by the Bastille. While the mere thought of living in Paris, writing a pithy blog and memoir, and cooking, cooking, cooking turns my complexion green with envy, Lebovitz dismisses the notion that his life is all beret-wearing, sidewalk cafe-coffee-sipping and Sartre contemplating while watching star-crossed lovers stroll the avenues. No, there’s dog poop on those streets, and you had better watch your step.
And, like the roads in Paris, you occasionally have to dodge bad recipies, and just plain bad days in the kitchen. Oh, the gritty underbelly. Sometimes, however, you have a good day, your ingredients shine, and you can’t wait to share what you’ve made or what you’ve discovered. This is such a day. Lebovitz’s clafouti is a perfect intersection of custard and cake. It revels in the oven- getting a bit crunchy on top from caramelizing sugar, while the fruit underneath yields juice and nectar into the egg, butter and flour.While stone fruits and berries are in season, I highly recommend taking the heat while you turn on the oven to bake up this wonderful dessert. Clafouti is easy, yet elegant. You’ll be impressed-and so will your friends. Share!P.S….don’t be afraid to make this in the colder months, as frozen fruit would work just fine.
Apricot* and Raspberry ClafoutiRecipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris, courtesy of The Washington PostServes 8**Ingredients:
- • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the baking dish
- • 1 pound ripe apricots, pitted and cut into 3/4 inch wedges (may substitute small ripe plums, cut in half and pitted)
- • 1 cup raspberries, washed
- • 3 large eggs
- • 1/2 cup flour
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- • 1 1/3 cups whole milk***
Directions:Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees.Use butter to liberally grease the bottom and sides of a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Arrange the apricot wedges (cut sides up) and the raspberries in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until smooth, then whisk in the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and the flour until completely smooth. Add the vanilla, then whisk in 1/2 cup of the sugar and the milk to form a custard. Pour the custard over the fruit. Bake on the top rack for 30 minutes, then pull out the rack gently, so the crust that is just beginning to form on the claflouti remains intact. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the surface, then gently return the rack to its position. Bake the claflouti for 30 minutes, or until it feels slightly firm in the center and its top is a nice golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.**I used peaches from Toigo Orchards. To prepare-briefly blanch in boiling water, and peel skin. Cut in half, remove pit, and slice.** I used a 10 inch non-stick skillet, and felt the serving recommendation was more like 6 generous slices. If you use a casserole dish, simply scoop the clafouti out.*** I did not have whole/4% milk on hand, so I used half 1% milk and half heavy cream for the 1 1/3 cups milk called for in the recipe. Perhaps this contributed to the incredible creamy custard that resulted.