by Lauren Mote
When working with something delicate, like a soufflé, it’s the most triumphant feeling when you can safely remove it from the oven and the baking process without the it collapsing – the soufflé NOT the baker.
Today’s lesson is part of the soufflé family in a way – the clafouti – and in every recipe the disclaimer says, “if you open the oven during baking time, it will collapse”. So know we understand why Mum always has to windex the oven door – kids press their faces against it in anticipation of what delicious treats emerge after the timer goes off.
This is a dessert from the Limosine region of France, a combination of pudding, custard and cake all in one magic baking dish. Clafouti is also the name of a really delicious bakery and catering company in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park area, at Queen West and Strachan. Anyway, back to the dessert. Larousse Gastronomique, of whom I have started to refer to as side-kick, has explained the traditional clafouti (sometimes spelled “clafoutis”) is made with black cherries, in a buttered dish, covered with a fairly thick cake batter. So when it’s over-turned, the bright, juicy cherries are staring right at you, with nothing but cake batter underneath them. A dusting of confectioner’s sugar usually finishes it while it’s still warm.
For my clafouti that I am making to pair with ginger crème brulée and white chocolate & roasted almond biscotti is going to be a okanagan cherry and pistachio clafouti, done in a “petit fours” style; very small, eaten as a little bit or accompaniment with everything else.
I splurged and bought a non-stick silicone “mini tartlet” sheet (bright orange, really expensive) that will be perfect for the clafouti, or any other mini dessert I plan to make in the future. Here’s the recipe:
Makes 30 small clafoutis, or 1 large clafouti
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup cherries
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
Preheat oven to 350°F.
I used dried cherries, as fresh & local are not in season now. So, I have 1 cup dried Okanagan cherries, and in a bowl, I cover in boiling water for 15 minutes to re-hydrate them. Lovely. Next, in a dry pan, I lightly toast the pistachios to release their flavour. Add cherries and nuts into bottom of the baking vessel.
In a bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and eggs, until smooth and combined. Add milk and mix again. Pour mixture on top of fruit and nuts. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are golden.
Serve slightly warmed with a dusting of icing sugar.