14th June, 2011 - Posted by admin - No Comments
The first farmer’s markets of the season have begun and local, seasonal fruit is finally – finally! – starting make an appearance around here.
I tend to eat most of my fruit raw and straight from my hand. My rational being that it’s about as good as it’s going to get, so why mess with a good thing. However, sometimes you want to gild the lily a little.
When it comes to fruit-based desserts that taste great and don’t require huge efforts, look to the French. Despite their reputation for fussy food, they do know when to leave well enough alone.
This dessert has been making the rounds among my friends for years, but it took awhile to find out the name. It was referred to as a “clafoutis” for awhile – but that only applies when it’s made with cherries. If other fruits are used, it’s known as a “flaugnarde” – which translates as “soft” or downy”. The reason being obvious once it comes out of the oven.
A flaugnarde is somewhere between a flan and a pancake. Flour is used, giving it a slightly bread-like texture. Four eggs are also incorporated, making it moist and eggy. It makes a very nice dessert or – if you are someone who includes pie as a reasonable breakfast choice – it’s a great option to start your day.
To begin, you’ll need about four cups of fruit. Sky is the limit here: cherries, plums, blueberries, peaches, pears, whatever looks good. I used peaches and raspberries, since that is one of my favorite flavor combinations.
If using fruit with a peel, be sure to remove it first. Most peels don’t break down in cooking and will give the final product an odd texture. Berries don’t need to have much done to them: remove any stems or other oddness and proceed.
The recipe starts with melting half a cup of butter. This sounds like a lot but it does does two things: keeps the batter from sticking to the dish and also adds moisture and richness.
There are no real tricky techniques to mixing the batter, just make sure everything is smooth. The batter is thin enough that it can be mixed with a whisk, if you do decide to use an electric mixer, be careful not to overdo it.
After baking, let cool then top with powdered sugar, if you are feeling traditional or whipped cream if you’re not.
If serving this for dessert, consider pairing it with one of Sierra Star’s sparkling wines. Either the Almond Sparkling Wine or the Star Bright Champagne would be an excellent match.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 cups of fruit (pitted cherries, cut up plums, blueberries, sliced pears, whatever you like)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Place an oven rack in the center. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Pour melted butter into a 9 x 13″ baking dish, and swirl the dish to coat the bottom and sides with butter.
3. In a bowl, toss the fruit with 1/4 cup of the sugar, then pour the fruit into the baking dish, spreading evenly.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the flour and the salt. Whisk the sugar-flour mixture into the eggs. Then whisk the milk and the vanilla and almond extracts into the egg mixture. Pour the batter over the fruit.
5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the flaugnarde is golden brown and puffy. Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Dust generously with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.
6. Store covered, at room temperature.