A quick note before we talk clafoutis: About last week's entry in Paper Chef #31 – sweet merciful crap, I won!!
Still in a bit of shock about the whole thing, but there’s a big smile on my face, as every dish looked great. After making, tasting and writing my entry up, I felt pretty good, but then after seeing the competition, I would have bet on someone else. Hank did a fantastic write up of all the entries (and fish steak seemed to be a truly inspiring choice) and I had some similar thoughts – sauerkraut strudel? How could you turn that down? Magnus’ dish looked incredible and I was immediately struck by the composition of it. But of all of them, if I had the opportunity to try just one, I probably would have sunk my fork into Natashya’s Moroccan Salmon dish – the flavors looked fantastic. From start to finish, this was a ton of fun, can’t wait to have another go at it, and especially looking forward to judging (a little nervous too) and picking an ingredient for next month’s round!
I had previously threatened a sour cherry dish, but when we got our veggies this week, there were no sour cherries – just 4 lbs of sweet ones. A let down maybe, but not a big enough deterrent to completely knock me off the target of a cherry-related dessert.
Clafoutis is a great word. Its appearance takes enjoyment in defying pronunciation – at least for me. The spellchecker wants nothing to do with it. But the spellchecker has never tried one, otherwise, I believe, it would find nothing to complain about.
Clafoutis is a classic French custardy dessert. So custardy, in fact, that when Julia Child translates it in Mastering the Art… she calls it “flan". To me, it’s basically a pancake batter with fruit that bakes up thick and well…custardy. Depending on how long you bake it, you can end up with a consistency somwhere along the custardy to cakey continuum. This came out with a solid, dense custard feel to it, and that seemed perfect to me.
The big change I’ve made from standard clafoutis batters is the substitution of vanilla yogurt for some of the milk/cream. It’s a favorite key ingredient in our standard pancake recipe, so I figured it would be right at home here. It lent a great tangy flavor and the vanilla and cherries were made for each other. It’s your simple, beautiful fruit dessert. The only thing easier would be eating the fruit straight, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Cherry & Yogurt Clafoutis
2-3 C of pitted black cherries, depending on your desired ratio of cake:fruit
3/4 C milk
1/2 C whole milk vanilla yogurt
2/3 C flour
1/2 C sugar
Salt, a big pinch
- Preheat oven to 375
- Butter a 10 inch casserole pan, pie pan, or oven safe skillet. Scatter cherries along the bottom.
- Beat eggs, milk and yogurt together
- Mix flour, sugar and salt and whisk into egg mixture
- Pour over cherries, shake pan to distribute and bake for 40-50 minutes (maybe longer depending on depth), at least until toothpick in center comes out clean.