Sunday, August 5, 2012

plum clafoutis.

I have an ongoing fantasy of quitting my job and moving to upstate New York.  The boy and I would live in and old farm house – one with a wrap around porch and apple trees in the back yard.  We would have 2 dogs and a vegetable garden.  I would have a cellar that would be filled with ball jars of pickled vegetables, several types of homemade jam, and sausage that I was drying.  My wardrobe would consist of faded blue jeans and equally faded chambray shirts.  Sadly, this remains a fantasy as I’ve yet to strike it rich or figure out how I could afford such a vision.  I can’t imagine myself running a profitable farm considering I’ve never farmed before (some ideas are best left to the imagination). 

When I have a strong desire to pretend I’m cooking in my rustic farm house kitchen, I always make a rustic fruit dessert.  Rustic fruit desserts are utterly simple and homey.  They take a very short time to prepare and while they are baking they fill your kitchen with the scent of sugar and spice and fruit.  My favorite summer rustic dessert is a clafoutis.  A clafoutis is a French desert that is traditionally made with cherries but can be made with just about any fruit.  I used plums as they are dominating the farmers markets at the moment but peaches or apricots work equally well.  The fruit sits nestled in a subtly sweet custard and as the dish cooks the fruit softens and releases their juices which caramelizes the top of the dish.  It’s delicious eaten warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream.

Plum Clafoutis
Recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang

2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 medium plus, pitted and cut into eights, about 5 cups
½ cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
½ cup unbleached all-pupose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Position rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 400 desgrees.

Melt the butter in a 9x13 baking dish (I used a 9 inch pie pan which worked perfectly) while the oven is preheating.  Once melted, swirl the dish to coat the bottom and sides with the butter. 

In a medium bowl, toss the plums with ¼ cup of the sugar and then pour into the baking dish, spreading evenly. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until blended.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup sugar, the flour, and salt.  Whisk the sugar-flour mixture into the eggs.  Then whisk the milk and vanilla and almond extracts into the egg mixture.  Pour the batter over the plums.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the clafoutis is golden brown and puffy.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.  Dust generously with confectioners sugar and serve warm.  

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