RT Announcing Mastering the Art of French Cooking Challenge. Pick any recipe and blog, tweet about it nx Friday. Who’s in???
@CulinaryMelange @cardamomaddict @kbgerth @ABCcooking @vindee @kitchenpuppies @Dragonskitchen @mollierosev are you in for MTAFC Friday?
Now onto the food bit … ie clafoutis. Clafoutis, sometimes in Anglophone countries spelled clafouti, is a custard-like baked French dessert that is typically made by baking fresh fruit (traditionally cherries) and a batter, somewhat similar to pancake batter, in a baking dish. Originally from Limousin, the dish’s name comes from Occitan clafotís, from the verb clafir, meaning “to fill up” (implied: “the batter with cherries”). Clafoutis apparently spread throughout France during the 19th century.
As a matter of strange coincidence, I was to take a peep again into a charming blog, Luna Cafe, around this time. It’s a wonderful place, full of exciting ideas, and flavours that are so ‘me’. It’s funny, but each post of SMS Bradleys‘ has flavours and choices I would inherently turn to. This time was no exception. She posted a Fresh Apricot Ginger Peasant Cake & my heart skipped a beat. Glory be thy name! It was a rather intriguing take on the clafoutis, in her words, “Drawing inspiration from Julia Child who describes this classic dessert beautifully, along with several variations, in the inestimable, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. My version is on the other end of the spectrum. It contains no eggs and is cake-like (not a pancake, not a custard) with a decidedly chewy texture, which everyone who tastes it loves. I don’t recall where I stumbled on the unusual formula here, but I have not encountered it anywhere since.”
Well said… This cake is utterly simple to make, tastes as good as the fruit you put in, is eggless, yet cake like. It has this wonderfully chewy texture, with the fruit & batter combining to create magic. It’s lovely served warm, light enough for an afternoon tea, but is as good served chilled with some unsweetened cream, or even ice-cream. It tasted good with the Roasted Peach & Plum Ice-cream I had just made. The ice-cream, which is low fat & eggless, complimented the peasant cake beautifully. A dusting of almond slivers, a few snips of homemade candied ginger made it an even happier combination.Perfect for summer … light & endearing, the cakes are good for breakfast too. Chilling these enhanced the flavour of the ginger within, & resulted in instant crystallised ginger addiction in the kids! I have never seen them take to ginger so well! The cake is best made with good quality apricots, but I did pretty well with fresh peaches. Other fruit suggestions include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or sour cherries.
To quote SMS Bradley, Apricots release their full depth of flavor only when cooked, thus I am always looking for ways to treat them to a little heat. They are the perfect fruit for this simple cake, but blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, or sour cherries will also work beautifully.FRESH PEACH GINGER PEASANT CAKES
as adapted from this recipe at Luna Cafe
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 peaches, halved, seeds removed
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Powdered sugar in a shaker
Slivered almonds (optional)
Butter a 10½-inch diameter ceramic pie plate with a 5-6 cup capacity, or 6-8 small shallow individual tart pans. (Another shape of shallow baking dish with the same capacity will also work.) You may need to use a brush to lightly coat the edges of the pie plate with butter. Reserve.
Halve the peaches, pit, & roughly chop for small tart pans, or quarter (bigger pieces for 1 large dish. Put these in a big bowl with the vanilla sugar,candied ginger, vanilla extract and lime juice. Gently combine the peaches with the other ingredients. Reserve.
To prepare the cake batter:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 3/4 cup vanilla sugar, and the baking powder. With a wooden spoon or whisk, beat in the milk & vanilla extract to produce a smooth batter. Don’t over beat. However, the batter should not have too many lumps either. Pour the batter into the center of the buttered dish. It will spread out on its own.
Place a spoonful of peaches, and some of their remaining liquid evenly over the batter, leaving a 1/4–inch open border of batter around the outside edges. I also did a few with spooning the fruit in first & the batter over. The first was prettier, but both dramatic! For a single large gratin dish, place all the fruit on top of the batter, & leave a 3/4″ border. (this will allow the batter to rise dramatically at the edges).
Place on a rack in the upper third of a preheated 190°C oven. Set an edged baking sheet on the rack below to catch any overflow.
Bake for 40-45 minutes (a little less for smaller cakes), or until the sides are fully puffed, the center is slightly puffed, and the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cook for 15 minutes before cutting / serving. To serve, dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges for 1 large pie, or as is for smaller cakes.
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