I was recently served a pear clafouti for dessert at a dinner party. Never a fan of egg-y desserts, I have avoided eating clafoutis and flans – pointedly ignoring them in favor of other fruit filled desserts without the baked custard. As I bit into my clafouti, I suddenly realized that I all of this time I have been making a grave mistake. This clafouti was airy and luscious, rippling with pear and scented with vanilla. It was the perfect end to a dinner: not overly sweet, elegant and light. What had I been thinking?
So, the other night I made a clafouti. At first I was tempted to improvise, but I decided it might be wise to follow an appealing recipe first. (After all, I didn’t want to jeopardize my new-found interest with a less than perfect result.) After a quick perusal, I took inspiration from a recipe by Ina Garten. What I liked about her version was the use of heavy cream instead of milk and the infusion of the custard with lemon and pear brandy. Rich, bright and spiked: How could I resist? The following is my adaptation:
Pear Clafouti with Lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Pear Brandy
4 firm but ripe pears, peeled and cored
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pear brandy
1 tablespoon sifted confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Butter a 10 inch tart pan or ceramic baking dish.
Beat sugar and eggs in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Mix in cream, flour, lemon zest, salt and pear brandy. Set aside.
Thinly slice the pears. Arrange slices in a circular pattern in the tart pan. Pour custard over the pears. Bake in the oven until the filling is golden brown and set, about 35 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.
To make the whipped cream, beat the cream in bowl of electric mixer with whisk attachment until traces of the whisk are apparent in the cream. Add the brandy and sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.