Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Clafoutis or Why You Should Make More Dessert

Last of the Plums
Originally uploaded by reallyct

Before I forget, this bit is for the two readers discovered these past few days. David, Peter, make Clafoutis for your wives (and adorable citrus-fruit named child). Everyone else, make Clafoutis just because it's so damned easy. Easy like unattended children could do it. Delicious like anything involving custard can be delicious. Here's the rub, though, because a clafoutis is cooked, you don't have to worry about any of the worrying things associated with custard making (like tempering yolks which is, I admit, intermediate kitchen work). Here's the other beautiful part: you have everything you need at home right now to make this. I almost guarantee it.

Pre-step one: preheat your oven to 350.

Step one: choose your fruit. It works with anything. Really. I used plums because I already miss summer and these little Italian jobs are probably the last stone fruit I'll get until late next June. Have two pears in the house? Use them. I've never done it with apples, but there's literally no good reason why it wouldn't work. Papaya? Sure. Cut up the fruit. I don't know how much - let's say two cups. Or more if you really like fruit. Or less if you prefer a higher custard to fruit ratio.

Step two: crack three eggs into something large enough to hold three cups of stuff plus room to whisk.

Step three: dump into the bowl (or bowl-like object) 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour a good pinch of salt and, totally depending on what fruit you used and what spices you do or do not like or want, spices. Whisk this together until there are no lumps (give it a good whisk for, I don't know 45 seconds to a minute).

Step four: whisk in one cup of milk (whole milk please, people, it's ONE CUP of whole milk, you won't die from the fat intake) and, if you are so inclined, some liquid flavoring: vanilla extract, almond extract, cognac, whatever. Whisk until this is all smooth (again, maybe 30 seconds).

Step five: pour into prepared vessel. A note on your prepared vessel. It doesn't matter what it is so long as it's safe to be cooked in. I used a silicone angel food cake pan because I was too lazy to wonder where my oven-safe ceramic stuff was. If your vessel is not made of silicone, give it some butter or cooking spray so that your clafoutis doesn't stick. Put in oven for 45 minutes or so. It might take longer. If, after 45 minutes, it looks like it could be done (not wobbly, top kind of golden and crunchy looking), jab a knife/toothpick/bbq skewer into it. If your jabbed item comes out without liquid custard dripping down it, chances are you're done. I actually let mine stay in a little overlong and I'm happy I did because now its consistency is like flan.

Now, I know I just wrote a lot there making it seem like this is complicated, or involving of lots of your time, but that's just because I tend towards the verbose. To sum up:

Preheat oven: 5 seconds
Crack eggs: 30 seconds
Measure and whisk in dry ingredients: 90 seconds
Measure and whisk in wet ingredients: 60 seconds
Grease pan and pour in mixture: 30 seconds

That's it. Your active time for this dessert is 215 seconds, or 3 1/2 minutes. Then, it cooks while you eat dinner.

Now, sadly, clafoutis does not look pretty once it's finished, ergo no finished product picture. It tastes amazing though. Even devoted partner, no especial fan of a) plums or b) fruit in his dessert, ate his serving and then helped himself to another serving the next evening without being prompted. With that ringing endorsement, how can you NOT make this tonight?

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