Thursday, March 12, 2009


I’ve always been intrigued by the French word Clafouti, although, it is not a particulary attractive sounding word, it brings to mind something warm and delicious. To me, Clafouti is a custard-like baked French dessert that is typically made by baking fresh fruit (traditionally cherries) and a batter, somewhat similar to pancake batter, in a baking dish.
Having used the Julia Child cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for many years, I turned to it again to find out about this dessert. According to Julia, Clafouti is a Flan. According to the dictionary, a flan is an open pie filled with sweet or savoury ingredients; also, a Spanish dessert of baked custard covered with caramel.
I have always been a big fan of Spanish Flan, I rate it just a few notches below Crème Brulee. But now I had to convince my poor tired brain to divide the Flan category into several sub-categories. (Why can’t life be easier on the elderly?) Here it is….Flan: 1. Sweet 2. Savory
I suppose that wasn’t too hard.
My next challenge was to take all of my hundreds of recipes that now suddenly fit into one of these two sub-categories and separate them accordingly. I found the sweet ones easily enough, I had them under “Desserts”. Then the real search began. I found most of them hiding in “Appetizers”, 3 dozen or so under “Brunch”, maybe 10 or 12 of them under “Vegetables” (such as Gratins).
My next step was to return to the research stage….There I was, joyfully reading about fresh Cherries and plump sweet Figs; juicy, drippy Mangoes, and big fat red Strawberries. I was so happy finding photos of these delicious fruits tucked gently into beautiful, rustic dishes, and baked into a rich creamy clafouti. Then it happened, Brussels Sprout Clafouti…was I surprised? Yes. Was I repulsed, YES! YUCK!!!!! .....But, I didn’t give up, because I remembered I had several recipes that suddenly fit into “savory”. One of them, My Crabmeat and Tomato Gratin was suddenly a Clafouti. All the work ahead of me!.....



Then it hit me. I was making work for myself, changing things that I already had in neat compartments. Why would I disrupt my thought process (I can hear my kids laughing at that one!) by trying to reorganize something that did not need to be reorganized?
So, here it is…. Flan is Flan! Gratins are Gratins! And finally, Clafouti is a French Cherry Custard Dessert. Period.

Julia Child's Clafouti

serves 6-8
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar
powdered sugar

In a blender, blend the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter in a buttered 7 or 8 cup lightly buttered fireproof baking dish. Place in the oven until a film of batter sets in the pan. Remove from the heat and spread the cherries over the batter. Sprinkle on the 1/3 cup of sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about for about 45 minutes to an hour. The clafouti is done when puffed and brown and and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve warm. Enjoy!
All photos from www.fotosearch.com

1 comment:

hollyreynolds said...

That sounds delicious.. if you ever wanted to make me one for a present that would be a great idea.

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