Black and Blueberry Clafoutis

Black and Blueberry Clafoutis

~ Blackberry Clafoutis ~

Here’s a riddle: What do a basket of berries and 3 eggs have in common? A light and simple dessert called clafoutis. Clafoutis is a baked French dessert similar to flan, consisting of fresh fruit smothered in a lightly sweetened egg batter. The result is a pudding-like concoction redolent with seasonal fruit.

Berries are everywhere now, lining the tables at the farmers market and teetering on shelves at our local store. Never one to hold back, I pile them into my basket and head home, nibbling on my purchases while thoughts of tarts, jams and fools run through my mind. Sometimes, when time is short, I know I will make  a clafoutis.

Clafoutis is remarkably quick and easy to prepare with a short list of ingredients. The result is rustic yet elegant, generously showcasing the season’s fruit. Bake the clafoutis in a gratin dish or cast-iron skillet. If you would like to fiddle with presentation, divide the batter between individual ramekins. I had a little extra batter left over and filled asian soup spoons for a dessert inspired amuse-bouche.

~ Blueberry Clafoutis ~

Black and Blueberry Clafoutis

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 to 55 minutes
Makes 8 (6-ounce) or 1 (10-inch) clafoutis

Unsalted softened butter for greasing the pans
1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces fresh blueberries
6 ounces fresh blackberries
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups half and half
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 8 (6-ounce) shallow ramekins (or 1 (10-inch) ceramic tart pan). Sprinkle the ramekins with the 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and tap out any excess. Place the ramekins on a baking tray. Arrange the berries in one layer in the ramekins.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the half and half, flour, lemon zest, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt until just combined.
3. Pour the mixture over fruit. Transfer the clafoutis to the oven and bake until the top is tinged golden brown and the custard is set, about 25 minutes for the ramekins (or 35 to 40 minutes for the tart pan). Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
4. Before serving, sprinkle the clafoutis with powdered sugar and garnish with additional lemon zest. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Pear Clafouti

Pear Clafouti

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
Serves 8.

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

Whipped Cream:
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.