In keeping with what seems to be a full-disclosure theme on the Flyer, I thought it best to tell y’all that I didn’t mean to write about clafouti this week. In fact, for two weeks I’d planned on writing about edible weeds – I had my recipe all planned out: a mixed salad with Farmers’ Market greens, chewy purslane, pungent dandelions and spicy watercress. I was going to tell y’all about how wonderful edible weeds can be, how abundant they are in this area if you know what to look for, and how you don’t have to roll like Bear Grylls in order to enjoy them.
So Sunday afternoon, I set out to forage for my weeds – Ziplock bag, wet paper towel and camera in tow – only to find overgrown, gnarly purslane that had already gone to seed, enormous dandelions that were fibrous and bitter, and my secret watercress patch had dried up and been mowed down! “Oh brother, now what am I going to write about?”, I thought to myself. Having been dead set on my edible weed post, I wracked my brain for a good hour trying to come up with a new idea. My brain-wracking ended up with me lying prostrate on the couch in a woe-is-me position. The next thing I knew, it was 2 hours later – and I awoke with a word stuck in my head: clafouti.
Clafouti (pronounced “kla-foo-TEE”) is a baked fruit dessert with origins in the Limousin region of France. Made by arranging sliced fruits in a tart pan and pouring over a thin, pancake-like batter, clafouti is traditionally made with stone-in cherries, which supposedly impart a deeper, almond-like flavor when baked. Now, I’m all for baking with stone fruits, but keeping the stone in seems more trouble than it’s worth – who wants to spit out pits when you’re trying to enjoy dessert? Non, merci.
Another modification I made to my clafouti was the addition of a crust. Ordinarily, a clafouti is strictly fruit and batter – but I thought for serving’s sake, a thin crust would make things easier – not to mention add a delightful, crunchy texture. I also wanted a creamier consistency for my batter, so I decreased the flour, increased the eggs and added some organic heavy cream. And by heavy, I mean heavenly.
Having bought some local peaches at Saturday’s Farmers’ Market, I figured they would make the perfect addition to my clafouti. I thinly sliced them and arranged them over my baked gingersnap crust. After whisking the batter ingredients together, I carefully poured it over the fruit in the crust and baked it for about an hour, until the batter had set and begun to brown. While the clafouti was baking, I whipped up some sweetened ginger whipped cream and toasted some blanched almonds for topping.
Crispy on the bottom, fluffy and fruity on the top, this clafouti will satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth. After a generous helping of ginger whipped cream and toasted almonds, I sat down to a decadent early evening snack. I would say my expectations were definitely exceed, especially since I had originally planned on eating a bowlful of weeds that day, instead. Enjoy!
Peach Clafouti with Ginger Cream and Toasted Almonds
For the Crust:
3/4 lb. ginger snap cookies
6 Tbs. butter, melted
For the Filling:
3 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. whole milk, scalded
1 tsp. almond extract
Blanched, slivered almonds for toasting
For the Ginger Cream:
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. grated ginger
3 Tbs. powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, grind the gingersnap cookies until finely ground. While pulsing the food processor, add the melted butter. Press the gingersnap mixture into the bottom of an 11 inch tart pan and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
While the crust is cooling, combine the flour, sugar, eggs and heavy cream in a medium bowl, whisking to fully combine. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and almond extract to scalding (little bubbles around the rim, not boiling), and very slowly add the scalded milk to the egg and cream mixture, being careful not to scramble the eggs. Set the batter aside.
Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the gingersnap crust in one layer. Carefully pour the batter over the peaches and place the tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 1 hour, or until batter is set and beginning to brown.
In the bowl if an electric mixer with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the heavy cream and grated ginger until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and beat until medium peaks form. Toast the slivered almonds and allow them to cool.
Serve the warm clafoutis with ginger cream and toasted almonds.
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Laura Hobbs is a guest contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. Born and raised in Fayetteville, Laura is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, visit her author page.