clafoutis batter, universal solvent of fruit dessert

peach clafoutisI 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.

summerfest badgeI 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?

bowl of peaches
Now let’s get cooking the peach clafoutis.

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
3 eggs
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:

summerfest badgeSo 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.

75 comments
August 4, 2009

comments

  1. says

    That’s funny, I’ve also made a clafoutis for this week entry (hey, I am French, it’s what we do… ;-)
    It’s not exactly the same recipe, I replaced flour by almond flour, to give it a lighter texture as well as a distinctive taste against the cherries and peaches. And just before the end of the baking time, I sprinkled some sugar on top, so that it caramelized… Very good! I hope you will like it too… http://melaskitchen.blogspot.com/2009/08/summer-fest-part-2-with-clafoutis.html

  2. ayo says

    Substitute 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds for the flour. This is the “Classical French” version used with sour cherries—also great with huckleberries, blueberries, mixed berries and cherries, etc. It is irresistable and so very easy to accomplish. No matter how much one loves to cook (and I do!) who wants to be in the kitchen rolling out pie dough when the cherries and berries are fruiting? I want to be outside in the garden.

  3. says

    This looks absolutely divine! I was looking around for clafoutis recipes and after reading yours, I know that I’ve found a keeper! I will be trying this very shortly! Thank you for a great recipe and post!

  4. Loris says

    Saw you with Martha. Good luck with your book launch. Enjoyed your webpage. The frog boys are charming. I have a grey tree frog that I found hopping around in my house. He apparently came in with planters I moved into the sunroom. I couldn’t put him out because it had already dropped below freezing so he is hibernating in my shower (coolest place in my house). I made him a frog habitat with mulch, leaves, pond etc in an aquarium. He snacks on crickets that I get at the pet store. I am guessing he is the same frog that lived on the porch all summer, catching insects by the windows at night and sleeping on a brick by day. Frogs are fun to observe but I hate to think of them eating birds.

    • says

      Welcome, Loris. That is HILARIOUS. What a gentle soul you are – sounds like something I would do. The tree frogs are amazing, aren’t they? Yes, the bullfrogs are quite voracious; ugh. But all of life’s a food chain, so I just try to take it in stride and not interfere. See you soon!

  5. Terri says

    I just tried this recipe with some frozen mixed berries I needed to use up. I thawed them and drained them in a sieve first. Worked great! Thanks!! (I think… ate almost half of it in one sitting, LOL!)

  6. Judi says

    Oh a new dessert to add to the mix, Sounds so good. I will hit the farmers market and see what they have fresh. I am going to the orchard to see if peaches are available to can and a few might not make it to the canning jars.

  7. Bonita says

    Glad for the “solvent” for all fruits. This year with late freeze that killed all fruit tree blossoms and drought that parched the berries, we have only the humble ground cherry, but I made ground cherry crisp that got rave reviews, next I’ll try g c clafoutis. Thanks.

  8. Susan says

    Thank you for the peach clafoutis recipe. Made it today with frozen peaches from last year (making room for this year’s peaches ). It was DELICIOUS and easy. Thanks again!

  9. Melanie says

    How could I not have vanilla in my kitchen? When did I run out? But when I was making this a few nights ago with nectarines instead of peaches (tastier I think), I realized I was out of vanilla – so I added almond extract instead. It was delicious. Right now I’m making another with fresh pitted cherries. Can’t wait. Thanks for the recipe Margaret. Happy gardening.

  10. Joan weed says

    Here’s a simple but delicious summer favorite–not a sweet but uses the summer harvest in a delicious way. The recipe by the way, comes from and old copy of The American heritage Cookbook. The dish is called “Colache”
    Melt some butter with a spot or two of oil in a saute’ pan. Add chopped onions, and sliced summer squash(yellow or green) and cook till softened. Add a cup or so of fresh corn cut off the cob and fresh tomatoes cut into eighths. Cover and cook till all are heated through. A delicious vegetable side or a main dish if you like. I didn’t give measures but it doesn’t matter. Depends on how many you are feeding. Such a colorful dish too.

  11. Joan weed says

    OOps should have mentioned seasonings–Salt and pepper of course but fresh herbs of your choice could be added.

  12. M Konnerth says

    Margaret- I love your blog ! Glad you posted the Clafoutis! Great to be reminded of the classics!
    We’re headed for a heat wave, here on L. I., so for now , I’ll be halving my peaches and giving them a quick shot of oil. Then I’ll just plop them on the grill after I’ve pulled dinner off. I’ll let them cook for 5-10 minutes, turn off the heat and let them hang out in there a bit longer. I check/pierce for tenderness. When I’m ready, I’ll pull them out of the grill, put two halves in a pretty bowl and top them with Greek yogurt that I’ve mixed with a little vanilla and then drizzle with local honey and crushed amaretto. YUM!

  13. Suki says

    I have been making Clafoutis for years with mixed success – some great, some really good. I used your recipe last night with peaches (only changes were 1/2 skim, 1/2 heavy cream, sprinkled a little light brown sugar over the peaches, and used a Vitamix.) It was by far the best Clafouti I ever had in my life. Thanks so much for this great recipe — I’ll never use another.

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