~ Making Clafoutis and the Classic Cherry Clafoutis ~
If I were to write The Big Book of Effortlessly-Regal No-Brainer Desserts, clafoutis would be on the cover. Whisk up a simple batter (eggs, cream or milk, sugar, salt, flour, melted butter and brandy or extract), pour it over some fresh fruit and bake. Cherries are the classic addition, with berries or stone fruit like apricots, plums and peaches being common substitutions. I was pleased with one I once made with ripe pears. Apples work too, but, apples are firm and crisp by nature, so, they need to be peeled and very thinly-sliced to get a luxurious texture -- truth be told, I prefer to use my apples in a crisp or a cobbler). I'm continually astonished by how many home cooks have no idea what clafoutis is, or, assume from it's name that it's hard to make!
Even easier to make than a cobbler, crisp or crumble...
A bit about clafoutis (kla-foo-tee): Hailing from the Limousin region in Central Southern France, this country-style dessert is made with unpitted black cherries -- which lend a slight almond flavor to the dessert. The name is derived from the verb "clafir", which means "to fill" (the thick, flan-like batter with cherries). Purists will tell you that if made with anything other than black cherries, the name of the dessert changes to "flaugnarde" (which, to me, sounds like a derogatory term for a clafoutis that got thrown under the bus). After baking, it is served warm with a dusting of Confectioners' sugar and a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Depending who's making it, some have a cake-like texture, but French farm-kitchen versions are pudding-like. In either case, it's an impressive dessert that can be successfully made by novice cooks.
For the love of effortlessly-regal, no-brainer desserts:
3 cups fresh, whole sour cherries, pitted, or, black cherries, pitted and halved (Note: Frozen cherries can successfully be used to make clafoutis, but, they can affect the outcome. Do not thaw berries completely, as they ooze a lot of their juices, which can render the clafoutis soupy. I recommend partially thawing the cherries, to an icy point where they are still hard and can be separated into pieces or small clumps, to form a layer in the bottom of the baking dish.)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups heavy or whipping cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure cherry extract (Note: I purchase cherry extract on-line from www.OliveNation.com. If you are not inclined to do that, substitute an equal amount of cherry juice, or, some cherry brandy.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar and/or freshly whipped cream, for garnish and topping
~ Step 2. Using a hand-held rotary mixer, vigorously whisk the egg mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Drizzle in the melted butter and whisk again, until butter is thoroughly incorporated.
Read the recipe, don't be fooled by a photo: this is an 11" x 7", 1 1/2-quart casserole, NOT, a 13" x 9", 3-quart casserole!
Special Equipment List: 1-cup measuring container; 1-quart measuring container; hand-held rotary mixer, or, hand-held electric mixer; 1 1/2-quart casserole, NOT, a 3-quart casserole, preferably ceramic
Cook's Note: When properly prepared, clafoutis will remind you a lot of a properly prepared bread pudding -- sans the bread. Click into Categories 5, 6, 9, or 20 to get my recipe for ~ Sour Cherry and White Chocolate Bread Pudding ~.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)