Baked desserts are a weekend treat in our household. The usual weeknight dessert/after dinner snack at Bistro Gerard consists of a bowl of fresh fruit. This serves a dual nutritional and entertainment purpose, as it’s prepared quite early in the evening and available for Chef Gerald to play with during those terrible moments when Mummy and Daddy choose to do really boring things such as watching TV, reading a book or the newspaper, or using the computer. Indeed, munching his way through each individual seed in a kiwifruit or strawberry seems to be a very rewarding activity for our little chef and one that certainly ranks a lot higher on the “good birdie” scale than chewing his way through a book, the IPad cover or Mummy’s ear…
This dessert, however, is easy enough to put together even on a busy weeknight, and a wonderful showcase for the beautiful stone fruit in season at the moment. According to that trusted fountain of knowledge called Wikipedia, clafoutis originated in the Limousin region of France, where it is traditionally made with black cherries. Other summer fruits such as apples, plums or berries can also be used, although in this case the more accurate name for this dessert is “flaugnarde”… This placed Mummy and Chef Gerald in an interesting linguistic pickle when we tried to find a name for our dish, before we finally chose to stick to the more familiar term.
It’s amazing to see that, despite the terrible weather that has plagued most of the country this summer, there is still an incredible array of fresh produce available. Even personal preferences in our household at present seem to mirror the seasonal diversity: Daddy has been enjoying white peaches, Jerry seems to favour nectarines, and Mummy is still nurturing her life-long love of cherries. In order to cater for everyone’s preferences, Mummy and Chef Gerald raided the fruit bowl and came up with this attempt at the French classic (adapted from cuisine.com.au):
Peach Cherry and Blackberry Clafoutis
2 medium-large ripe peaches, stones removed, halved and each half cut into 3 thick slices
200 g (approx) ripe cherries (leave the stones in for better flavour and shape)
100 g whole wheat flour
60 g (4 tbsp) sugar
¾ cup milk
½ cup single cream
2 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp vanilla essence
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly butter a 20cm clafoutis or deep pie dish.
Toss the fruit pieces with the sugar in a bowl, then arrange in a single layer over the base of the dish and set aside.
Briefly whisk the eggs, sherry, vanilla essence, cream and milk in a bowl.
Add the flour and mix gently to incorporate – the mixture should look like thin pancake batter.
Pour the mixture over the fruit, then bake for about 40 – 45 minutes – when ready, it will be puffed up and golden-brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, then let it cool in its dish before cutting up and serving either or its own or accompanied by some cream or ice-cream. If you have any leftovers, they will make an excellent breakfast the next day. Serves 6.