A few days ago, a colleague and I were discussing recipes for another project that I am working on. She suggested that I might do a clafouti recipe. I decided that it might not be a good choice for the other project, but it might be a good blog topic. After all, it is a French dessert and we (or rather PBS) are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Julia Child's birth.
I must admit that I do not have any fun childhood memories of Julia Child. My mother and I did not cook her recipes together. However, with my job of helping people develop food preparation skills, I have come to admire and respect Julia Child. She had great love of food and inspired Americans to become better cooks. While Julia may have used her share of butter, she died 2 days before her 92nd birthday and was not overweight. As Julia used to say, 'all things in moderation, including moderation'. While I am all for healthy eating, I am also for good eating and I do not not believe these are mutually exclusive terms. It is with that in mind that I am writing about clafouti and Julia Child.
Clafouti also makes excellent use of summer fruits, such as peaches, plums, and cherries. I've even seen recipes with raspberries, apples and pears. I've had my student make it with pears and did not care for it. It needed a fruit with more intense flavor. However, if you have nice, flavorful pears, why not give it a try.
Apparently, the clafouti is a French country dessert from the Loire region of France. I think of it as fruit baked in a custard. It was originally made with cherries. I also understand that the pits add extra flavor. I can't say that I have ever left the pits in. I'm just not that brave.
I have seen tons of recipes for clafouti, with varying levels of milkfat. Because I like a soft custard, I decided to use a combination of half and half and whole milk. To satisfy more of my 'foodie' colleagues, I made half plums and half peaches. This is my version of clafouti.
Serves 6 to 8.
¼ cup, plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
¾ pound fruit, such as peaches, plums or cherries
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup half and half
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoon almond liqueur, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a pie plate. Sprinkle with one tablespoon sugar.
2. Slice fruit. Place over sugar in a pleasing design.
3. In a blender, blend milk, half and half, flour, eggs and salt. Blend until smooth. Add the one-fourth cup of sugar, vanilla and almond liqueur. Pour over fruit. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.
4. Dust clafouti with powdered sugar and serve at once.
Normally, I would not use liqueur, however since we are celebrating Julia Child, I felt a little alcohol would be appropriate. If you are celebrating Julia Child, let us know what you are doing.