Thursday, 30 June 2011

French Baking Month: Cherry (and prune) Clafoutis



Welcome to the first recipe of my mini-series entitled French Baking Month. Otherwise known as 'recipes-created- in-a-two-week-holiday-of-eating-and-baking-around-the-South-of-France-and-having-a-jolly-good-time-doing-so'. French Baking Month is just a whole lot less of a mouthful. Especially when you have a gluttonously large mouthful of cherry clafoutis in your mouth.

I must confess my ignorance. I did not know what a clafoutis was before heading to France. If you hadn't told me it was a light, soft, almost fragile pudding studded with cherries, I'd have guessed it was an obscure French medical device used for rather delicate procedures.

(I'm really sorry if you'll forever more think of clafoutis as an obscure French medical device used for rather delicate procedures).

The classic French clafoutis is originally from the Limousin area of France, like the cows.

And a little tip: you're aiming for a light, puffy batter, rather than, say, an omelette.

I'm not selling this terribly well am I? At the moment, we have an ommelette based medical device made by cows.

Cherry Clafoutis
(by Raymond Blanc, Kitchen Secrets series, BBC)

Ingredients
450g stoned ripe cherries (try Morello or Montmorency cherries)
50g caster sugar
2-3 tbsps of Kirsch (optional, but recommended)

To prepare the dish:
10g unsalted metled butter
30g caster sugar

For the batter:
2 medium eggs
45g caster sugar
half a teaspoon pure vanilla extract
20g butter
20g plain flour
50ml whole milk
75ml whipping cream
pinch of sea salt

1. Prepare the cherries by mixing the cherries, sugar and kirsch in a bowl
2. Cover for 2 hours
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4
4. To prepare the dish, brush the inside with the melted butter. Add the sugar and tilt the dish to ensure the bottom and sides and covered evenly. Shake out the excess
5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla together until creamy
6. Meanwhile melt the butter in a small pan and cook to a beurre noisette. This is when the butter foams and turns a hazelbut colour, adding a delicious nuttiness to the clafoutis
7. Add the flour to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk until smooth, slowly incorporating the milk, cream, salt and beurre noisette
8. Stir in the cherries with their juice and poor into the prepared baking dish
9. To cook the clafoutis, bake for 3-35 minutes until the clafoutis is lightly risen and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean
10. Leave to stand for ten minutes

Baker's notes...
  • The centre cooks last; when checking in the oven to see if the clafoutis is cooked, if the centre is dipped slightly, you need to cook it for a little longer
  • The batter can be made up to 24 hours in advance
  •  Its a dead easy recipe. And there is much to like about dead easy recipes in soaring heat. 
  • Other fruits, such as figs, peaches or apricots work well, as do prunes as in the picture below:




PS: Sorry for the not-so-great quality of these pictures: they were taken late at night....and possibly after a few glasses of wine...

6 comments:

  1. Mmmm - I have always fancied trying this. I think of it as like a sweet version of toad in the hole - would that be right? And cherries make everything special!

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  2. Clafoutis is wonderful at any time of year with different fruits...lovely.
    I made it with prunes soaked in brandy once.

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  3. brilliant idea... can't wait for more recipes... i'm not mad keen on clafoutis to be honest even though I totally get why it should be so nice... but im a grumpy git and you cant please all the people!

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  4. I made clafoutis once, to be honest I think if it were an obscure French medical device it wouldn't have tasted much different!

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  5. Your clafoutis looks really good. I've tried to make it many times and although always tasty I've never managed to replicate the ones I had in Switzerland (French part). Sounds like you're having a great time.

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  6. I am going to try to make this when I'm in France! It looks delicious!

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