clafoutis batter, universal solvent of fruit dessert
I DON’T BAKE MUCH THESE DAYS, BUT IN ANOTHER LIFE I was the Queen of Pie (and even baked all my bread, too). Even though I rarely cut or rub cold butter into flour for a crust any longer, I’ve found a shortcut to homemade fruit dessert that’s served me faithfully since I hung up my rolling pin. No surprise that I attribute the find to my old friend Martha Stewart, who taught me many things—including clafoutis, a simple, custardy backdrop to the peaches that are looking good just in time for Summer Fest Week 2: Fruits from Trees.
I love clafoutis (kla-foo-tee), a humble French concoction that’s like a Huffy-Puffy or Dutch Baby or German pancake (whatever you call it, that’s my favorite Christmas-morning food), but sweeter and with fruit inside. If you have 3 cups of fruit and some kitchen basics like milk and eggs and flour, you can make this dessert very last-minute, even just as you sit down to eat the main course, another selling factor. Easy, yet quite impressive. But first…
…a word from our collaborators (because Summer Fest is all about cross-blog collaboration, the sharing of recipes and tips—including yours):
Marilyn at Simmer Till Done no longer bakes professionally, but has never hung up her rolling pin. What has that girl whipped up for us today? A ginger-peach pandowdy. Yup.
My blogging “sister” Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project wanted to make a pie with her mother. Instead, we get a post about “The Peril of Pie,” and a recipe for plum tarte tatin. Long story.
It’s too hot in Florida for Jaden Hair at Steamy Kitchen to bake anything, so she was smart: Salad’s on her menu today, an amazing salad involving warm plums. Can’t wait.
In Southern California, Matt Armendariz of Mattbites finally stopped drinking those herb-laced cocktails from last week’s event to make—are you ready?—apricot ice cream. Oh, my.
The White on Rice Couple, likewise in SoCal, are featuring a summery peach cooler that the entire family can enjoy. (Sounds like Todd and Diane, too, had enough of Matt’s high-test monkey business.)
Shauna Ahern, the Gluten Free Girl, is on vacation this week, that smarty, but if you want a gluten-free fruit-dessert choice, what about this fruit crumble?
Though clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, as it was in the recipe Martha shared in her must-have 1995 cookbook, “The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every Day,” I’ve come to regard her batter as the universal solvent for all things fruit. With it, I have since made clafoutis from peaches, plums, pears, various berries, cherries, and mixes of fresh fruit and dried (such as by adding a handful of dried cranberries or cherries to pears or peaches; raisins and pears might even be good). Get out your blender to make the solvent:
Martha’s Clafoutis Batter, my adaptation
½ cup sugar (reserve 1 Tbsp. to dust baking dish)
¾ cup milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
In a blender, combine the ingredients, and blend on high for 1 minute, scraping the sides once midway.
Into a 9-inch glass pie dish or a fluted porcelain tart dish that has been buttered first and dusted with the reserved 1 Tablespoon of sugar, pour half the batter.
Arrange 3 cups of sliced fruit of your choice in the partly filled pan. Pour on the remaining batter and bake at 350 until the top puffs and starts to turn golden-brown, about 45-60 minutes.
Note: Everyone’s clafoutis custard is a little different (just as is everyone’s pancake batter or pie crust, though the basics are the same). Martha even has more than one on her site. For example, Mark Bittman recommends ½ cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup heavy cream OR plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt). You may like more fruit or more custard on balance. Experiment, and enjoy.
HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN SUMMER FEST:
So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting last Tuesday, for four Tuesdays, you can contribute in various ways, big or small. Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:
Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.
The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.
Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2009 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt of Mattbites).
THE 2009 SCHEDULE:
- Tuesday, July 28: HERBS. Any and all; I did parsley, and readers added everything else.
- Tuesday, August 4: FRUITS FROM TREES (also known as stone fruits, but we won’t scream if you toss in a berry or another fruit, promise).
- Tuesday, August 11: BEANS-AND-GREENS WEEK (either or both, your choice).
- Tuesday, August 18: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?
And in case I forget what week it is, won’t somebody remind me on Twitter? Thanks. We’ll be talking it up there, too.
That’s how a Summer Fest works (and the way that Food Fest 2008 worked, too, remember?). See you next week.