Call of the Clafoutis


  Clafoutis. Kla-foo-TEE. A couple nights ago I was whisked away from radical thoughts of cutting out sugar from my diet by this word, which sneakily crept its way into my mind. Although I had never partaken of a clafoutis in my life, enticing images of this classic french dessert had been hanging out in my thoughts for quite some time.

  So lucky was I that I dreamt of a clafoutis on an evening when all the required ingredients were present in my fridge and cupboards. I had just purchased some peaches so remarkably ripe for February that I could hardly bear to surrender them to the heat of the oven. The fine cooking recipe I used actually called for armagnac soaked prunes but the strong flavor of the spiced rum marinated peaches I substituted could not have been a more perfect compliment to the creamy, custardy texture and taste of the base. If you are unfamiliar with the wonderous confection that is clafoutis, it is similar in recipe and appearance to a dutch baby or oven pancake…if you are unfamiliar with the wonderous confection that is a dutch baby, I’ll pray for you.

   Astonishingly, this dessert, which instantly became one of my all time favorites, took no more than 15 minutes to create. Preparing the batter for the cake is similar to throwing together a pancake batter. After the batter is mixed and fruit soaked, all that’s left is to arrange the fruit in the pan and pour in the mixture until each slice is happily submerged. When this heavenly thing came from the oven in a peachy, buttery, beautifully aromatic cloud of steam, I deeply contemplated topping the clafoutis with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It only took one bite for me to realize that this is one of those ultra-rare cases in which such an action would actually detract from the quality of the dish. What is so remarkable about clafoutis is the incredible texture of the cake which manages to be sumptuously dense and delicately airy at the same time. The ice cream runoff would likely disturb this artful balance.

  Embrace the majestic and almighty clafoutis and you will receive sublime happiness like no other.


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