Well, this is supposed to be summer. I keep on endlessly repeating “it’s summer, it’s summer, it’s summer” in my head, true mantra-style, whilst outside – in the real world – it’s all grey skies, pouring rain and freezing temperatures. Welcome to British summer 2011 – or any other in the past few years. This is not summer, this is an eternal October!
So, the other day I bought this lovely cookbook: 365 reasons to eat. For each day of the year, there’s a mouth-watering French recipe. It’s obviously all about making the most of seasonal ingredients and dishes. And, of course June is full of pretty salads, grilled meats and summery dips. And, of course, all I want to do is flip to the October/November section and make some warming stews or hearty soups. Damn, the weather gods don’t seem to like the UK, do they?!
Anyway, the one thing that is good about summer – good weather or not – is the availability of fantastic produce! Suddenly the likes of peaches and apricots pop up at local market stalls, at a bargain price! It’s inspirational heaven – so many amazing things can be made with all these ripe summer fruit and veg! The problem: one normally ends up buying far more than one (or in this case I) can eat. So the lovely fruits ends up ripening away in the fridge, becoming more and more ripe day by day – it’s a tragedy. Now, don’t despair! There are actually plenty of things to do with fruit that’s about to reach a slightly over-ripe stage. One of the best solutions: bake a clafoutis!
Clafoutis is basically a French egg pudding. It’s a very humble dish, a bit comparable to an English bread and butter pudding. Just mix some eggs with flour and sugar, pour it over your fruit and bake. Voila: a simple amazing pudding! The classic clafoutis is with cherries, but you can easily use any other fruit. Try it with peaches, blueberries or raspberries!
One last tip: clafoutis is in my opinion an amazing breakfast option! Forget the classic French toast, the evergreen pancakes – yawn! Go surprise your guests with a clafoutis! I bet they’ll love it! ★
Makes enough for 4 – 6 people
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 packet vanilla sugar (7g) or 1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml full-fat milk
100ml single cream
a small knob of butter (for greasing)
400g cherries (with the stones)
3 tbsp shaved almonds
cinnamon and icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180° celsius.
Mix the flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, milk and cream until you get a smooth batter. Set aside to rest for about 20 mins.
Meanwhile grease your baking form (you can use a big dish or individual ramequins) with the butter. Wash the cherries and scatter them in the dish. Bake the cherries for about 5 minutes so that the fruit can start to soften.
Take the dish out of the oven and pour over the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until puffy and golden.
Meanwhile roast the almonds in a pan until golden.
Once the clafoutis is done, sprinkle with some icing sugar, cinnamon and the almond shavings.