Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sunday walk in the forest: Berry Clafoutis

It's been a " good but can do better" summer so far here. Between the odd hot days and those where even the roads can't cope with the rain, I am not too sure what season we are in. It's Mister the oven who is happy! I am not forgetting it and today I am going to make good use of its abilities.

Berries and strawberries in particular are in season at the moment. The great things about them is that they taste at the best right now and are locally produced. Great low carbon footprint food!
This is one of the reasons why I thought of using them in a recipe that French people are usually fond of. A Clafoutis ("Un Clafoutis Aux Fraises Et Fruits Rouges" en français).

To make this Clafoutis for 4 to 6 people, you'll need:
a little butter
300g of strawberries, cleaned
400g of berries mix, cleaned (raspberries, blueberries, redcurrant, blackberries, etc...)
1 tbs of Amaretto (facultative)
3 free-range eggs
100g of plain flour
60g of caster sugar
1 sachet of vanilla sugar (alternatively, use some vanilla extract)
200ml of milk
1 tbs of double cream (facultative)
A good handful of flaked almonds

Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
Greaseproof a 20cm dish with butter and a little flour (to prevent the pudding from sticking).

Now, prepare your fruits.
They are 2 ways to do that.
The first is the easiest and the quickest: simply place the fruits heavenly on the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle with half the vanilla sugar and half the flaked almonds. Et voila!

The second way takes a little longer but is worth it!
In a small frying pan, melt a knob of butter. When warm add the fruits, half the vanilla sugar sachet and the Amaretto if you feel like it. Leave to cook and bubble, as if you were on your way to make a jam.
Once the fruits are soft, place them in the dish. Sprinkle with half the flaked almonds
(...... Your fruits may have made a lot of syrup. Reserve for when you'll serve the Clafoutis or use to sweeten yogurts.)

Now the batter!
Your fruits are nice and ready to be gently covered with what will make our Clafoutis

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and the rest of the vanilla sugar. Make a well and add the eggs, one by one.
Finally add the milk, slowly. Stir well to allow all the ingredients to combine. If you've decided to add a touch of cream, now is time to add it.
What you get now is a crepe/ pancake-ish type of preparation.

Pour it over the fruits.
Sprinkle with the remaining flaked almonds.
Place in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden.

Summer on a plate!

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