Sunday, September 8, 2013

Freakin’ Delicious

 Clafoutis—the name of this classic French dessert has always intrigued me.  It is a traditional summer dessert made with dark cherries, and sometimes with ground almonds, that hails from the Limousin region of France.

Every summer when the produce starts landing on the porch, I start scouting around for new and interesting ways to use it.  Once the freezer is full and all the old favorite standbys have been made, I feel free to experiment.  For several years the Calfoutis has been calling my name, and this was going to be the year. 

I didn't quite get it together to make this dish during cherry season, but the blueberry crop has been particularly plentiful this year.  So, being the adventurous sort in the kitchen, blueberries it was!  The name the French give this dessert when they use fruit other than cherries is Flaugnarde.  My final result is so vastly different, that it can’t properly be called either.  Once again I have bastardized somebody’s national dish.  C’est la vie!

No matter what it’s called, this dessert is freakin’ delicious!  During the baking process it puffs up and browns beautifully and collapses slightly during cooling.  The dessert develops three separate layers, each with its own distinct texture and flavor. 

Notes for this recipe:  Almost any fresh fruit can be used.  Each will change the dishes’ texture and flavor.  (Blueberry is the running favorite.)  Canned or frozen fruit cannot be substituted.  Liqueur: Blueberry Liqueur may be difficult to find (I make ours), so use a comparable complimentary one—Meyers’s Rum, Frangelico, Chambord, Peach Brandy would all work very well.  This dessert can be served warm or cold--it’s delicious either way.

Freakin’ Delicious Blueberry Pudding Cake
1 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
2-1/2 c. milk
4 eggs, separated
1-lb. fresh blueberries
4 Tbsp. blueberry liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla
Knob of unsalted butter
*Whipped Cream (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375.  Select a glass or ceramic heat-proof baking dish about 2 quarts in size.  Grease selected dish generously with the knob of butter.  Set to the side.
Measure the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Measure the milk into a 4-cup measuring cup, add the egg yolks, liqueur, and vanilla.  Beat with a fork to combine.  Pour over the flour mixture and stir to combine.  The batter will be very thin.

Place the egg whites in a bowl, and beat to stiff peaks.  Do not beat until they are “dry”.  Fold the beaten egg whites into the flour and egg mixture.  The mixture will be the consistency of pancake batter.

Set the buttered pan in the oven for 30 seconds.  Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the pan.  Gently drop the blueberries evenly on top of the batter.   

Pour remaining batter over the blueberries distributing it evenly.


Bake 40 to 45 minutes until browned, and the top is puffed and set.  Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream.  In the unlikely event of leftovers, cover and store in the refrigerator.

* Whipped Cream
1 c. heavy cream (preferably organic)
1 tsp. blueberry liqueur
Dash of vanilla

Place cream in a bowl with the liqueur and vanilla.  Beat until thickened.   Give each serving a generous dollop.