A Whati? A Clafouti!

June 2011

A whati?  A clafouti!

The “Mantis” was in a cycling fanatic frenzy, sleeping, breathing and most importantly for my appetit, eating the Tour de France!  His fanaticism called for a French inspired potluck and projection of the cyclists hauling their sinewy bodies and streamlined bicycles up the mountains I would prefer to cruise in a vintage Peugeot, scarf streaming in the provincial winds.

For all my Francophile tendencies, I rarely bake French inspired desserts.  Whether it be intimidation, bittersweet nostalgia or over reliance on the authentic, local French pâtisserie, I rarely enter the baked realm of my adopted motherland.  After much mulling, I decided upon a clafouti for the potluck.  When my friends looked at me confusedly, “a whati?” I responded, “once you see and taste it, you’ll probably remember having eaten something similar.”  Then I ended up making my clafoutis look quite untraditional.

Ingredients

Crust
2 cups organic almond slices
3 cups local whole milk
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup evaporated cane juice, organic sugar

Filling
Dark sweet cherries, pitted, halved
Organic strawberries, sliced
Blueberries
6 large eggs (local/free-range), at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

Whipped Topping
1 cup organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup local honey

Décor
Leftover fruit compote from this perfect Sunday

Directions

Blend the almonds in a food processor until ground but not pasty.

Transfer to a small saucepan; add milk and bring to simmer.

Remove from heat; let steep 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Butter two 9 to 10-inch-diameter glass pie dishes; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Scatter fruit evenly over the bottom of the pie dishes.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, almond extract, salt, and remaining 1 cup of sugar in medium bowl until well blended.

Add almond milk and beat to blend.

Sift flour into egg mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour mixture over cherries.

Bake until set and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Cool completely.

*Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Whipped Topping Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a chilled bowl.  Use an electric mixer on medium high and beat until stiff peaks form.

The “Mantis” made a huge slab o’ lamb that melted in the mouth.  Forget the crème, it was the lamb of the lamb!  A hush fell over the potluck participants as the meat masterpiece was served.

Sunset and smoke.  Wine and cheese.  Lamb and more lamb. Clafouti and crème.  

C’était parfait!

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