Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Fruit Clafouti

I've been to the farmers' market a lot lately.  We've got peaches, blueberries, nectarines, apricots, raspberries, and blackberries in abundance.  Don't get me wrong-that should sound nothing like a complaint because summer fruit is my absolute favorite thing in the world.  Problem is, we can't eat it fast enough.

My go-to dessert with quickly-ripening fruit is a crisp but this summer I'm changing things up with the clafouti.  A classic French dessert, the clafouti is traditionally made with cherries but I also find it stunning with stone fruits and berries.  The fruit is spread into a buttered dish and topped with an egg-filled batter, much like crepe or pancake batter.  After 45-or so-minutes in the oven the batter bakes up, around, and over the fruit, looking like the love child of a Dutch Baby/German pancake and a fruit tart.  There is no crust, and mixing the batter is a cinch.  This definitely falls into the "dessert for dummies" category.

I've seen several methods for making a clafouti-using a blender, heating the milk, whisking by hand, and even cooking some of the batter as a base first (a trick to keep the fruit from sinking to the bottom).  The recipe I'm using is adapted from Cooking from the Farmers' Market and it works every time.

This weekend I made one with blackberries and white peaches...take a look at it "in progress".  Good news?  It was outstanding.  Bad news?  It wasn't until we'd licked our plates that I realized I hadn't photographed the finished product. Sometimes the belly takes precedent over the camera...woops!

Summer Fruit Clafouti
Note:  If you're using cherrries, be sure to pit them (though rumor has it the original clafouti used un-pitted cherries).  If you're using stone fruit, take out the pits and cut them into 1-2 inch pieces.  Berries can be washed and used straight up.
butter, for greasing the pan
1 pound summer fruit (pitted, peeled, and cut into 1-2 inch pieces as needed-see above)
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
4 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (I prefer almond with cherries or apricots and vanilla with other fruits)
powdered sugar, for dusting

Place the rack in the top third of the oven.   Butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish and arrange the fruit in a layer over the bottom of the pan.

In a saucepan, heat the milk and cream over medium low heat until small bubbles form around the edges.  Remove from the heat and vigorously whisk in the flour, adding it a little at a time, until almost no lumps remain.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt until creamy.  Whisk in the milk mixture and the extract (I use an immersion blender here just to be sure the batter is completely smooth-a whisk will do the job too).  Pour the mixture over the fruit.  If you have the time, let the clafouti rest about 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake until nicely browned on top and set, 45-55 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.  Spoon onto serving plates and dust each serving with powdered sugar.  Clafouti can be served warm or at room temperature.

1 comment:

Amelia PS said...

I tend to like crisps for fresh fruit go-to summer desserts too.
I will have to try your clafoutis recipe. looks wonderful. But generally, I have never been a fan of this French dessert...somehow they turn out gummy and do not have enough flavor punch. Do you find that too?

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