clafoutis

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Cooking, to me, isn’t a competition. It’s about sharing and exchanging ideas. Cooking for someone is like offering them a bit of a gift, and competition adds intimidation where there should be none. Plus, whether someone is more or less experienced than me when it comes to cooking, I’m sure I have something to learn from them. So I’ve never participated in a cooking contest.

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Um, until now. This one isn’t just about cooking, it’s also blogging, and it seemed too fun to pass up. The event is associated with the movie Julie and Julia, based on a book of the same name. I read this book years ago, and after the book, I went back and read Julie’s entire blog. In it, Julie Powell cooks her way through Julia Child’s thoroughly intimidating Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. Not only is the book fun and easy to read, the whole concept of cooking entirely through a book appeals to me.

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To enter, I had to cook and blog about a Julia Child recipe. I’ve owned MtAoFC for years. I’ve just never bothered to use it, at all. I figured the time would come when I was excited to pick it up, and I was right. After scanning through the book, I chose to make clafoutis.

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Clafoutis, it turns out, is really easy. The batter, which is similar to crepe batter or thin pancake batter, is mixed in the blender. Then it’s poured into a baking pan with cherries, topped with more sugar, and baked. To make it even easier, the cherries are traditionally left unpitted (although Julia does call for pitted cherries). Cherry pits release a bit of almond flavor as they’re heated, which is lost if the cherries are pitted before baking.

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That being said, next time, I’ll pit the cherries, because the seeds were a little distracting. Other than that detail, this was a treat. You can’t go wrong with cherries in July, and these were just slightly tart and complimented the sweet batter. The batter cooks up moist and soft. What’s more, there’s no butter or oil in this dessert. So it’s fancy, easy, and relatively light – definitely a winner.

The contest winners are chosen through voting.  It’s an easy process with no sign-in required.  If you’d like to vote, click here.  I’m last on the list.  Thanks!

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One year ago: Comparison of 4 white cake recipes

Clafouti (slightly reworded from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck)

MtAoFC note: Use fresh, black, sweet cherries in season. Otherwise, use drained, canned, pitted Bing cherries, or frozen sweet cherries, thawed and drained.

My note: The only bit of funny business is that Julia calls for a Pyrex pan, then says to “set it over moderate heat.” Pyrex is not fit for stove use. I put the pan in the oven for a few minutes to let the batter set before continuing. I think you could also preheat the pan as the oven heats, and then the batter would set immediately after it’s poured in. (The batter isn’t especially cold, so it won’t shock the hot pan and cause it to shatter.)

For 6 to 8 people

3 cups pitted black cherries
1¼ cups milk
⅔ cup sugar, separated
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour (scooped and leveled)
powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter (or spray with nonstick spray) a 9-inch Pyrex pie pan.

2. Place the milk, ⅓ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour in your blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.

3. Pour a ¼-inch layer of batter in the baking dish or pie plate. Set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from heat. Spread the cherries over the batter and sprinkle on the remaining ⅓ cup sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

4. Place in middle position of preheated oven and bake for about an hour. The clafouti is done when it has puffed and browned, and a needle or knife plunged into its center comes out clean. Sprinkle top of clafouti with powdered sugar just before bringing it to the table. (The clafouti need not be served hot, but should still be warm. It will sink down slightly as it cools.)

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Comments

  1. They look awesome Bridget, nice job! I saw some gorgeous cherries this past weekend and thought about making them myself!

  2. Awesome! I love your little clafoutis. I am actually going to start my own little book challenge with myself. I just bought a cookie book and figured to justify the cost I had to cook everything in it. I am notorious for buying cookbooks, reading them, and then not really making anything out of them. Wish me luck!

  3. Looks wonderful! I’ve been planning to try clafoutis for a while now — this might be the week. Thanks for Julia’s recipe!

  4. Beautiful! They look wonderful.

  5. I made these before too and they were pretty darn good!

  6. Gorgeous pictures, as usual! My mom made this once when I was little and I didn’t love it, but yours looks so cute in those little pans!

  7. Hah! Julia’s instruction is very worrying isn’t it? Lucky that clafoutix weren’t that much in vogue back then! But I don’t see why– it’s such a simply beautiful dessert! :)

  8. Sounds like a good reason to enter a contest! Although really, I’d just make clafoutis so I could walk around saying clafoutis all day :)

  9. So glad you entered!! Keep us updated! Looks absolutely beautiful.

  10. They turned out WONDERFUL!!! Well done!! What a fun contest!! Let us know :) I do agree, cooking for me for the mostpart is the love that goes into it for others! And of course my creativity side running wild!
    I love this “set it over” !! :)

  11. I have made so many different cherry clafoutis this season, but I love them in the little individual tart pans!
    Great idea!

  12. Tracy says:

    These are lovely! (Found your site via Tastespotting.)

    For the individual tartlets (clafoutis-lets?), did the pans have removable bottoms, and, if so, did you wrap them in foil, since the batter is so thin?

    Good luck on the contest!

  13. bridget says:

    Tracy – The pans did have removable bottoms. I didn’t wrap them in foil. There was just a bit of leakage. It was a little stressful, and I’m not sure I’d totally recommend it, but for the most part, it worked.

  14. Looks absolutely delicious and one of my “must do’s” now that we’re getting a flood of cherries in the market. Fantastic pictures too!

  15. That’s interesting about heating the pyrex dish. I remember a story in “My Life in France” about the original french bread recipe from Mastering II calling for an abestos brick or something toxic like that in the oven… as soon as the cookbook was published they found out is wasn’t safe, and all the printings after that had adjusted directions! I love clafoutis, and cherry is the best kind!

  16. bridget says:

    Erin – This recipe calls for an asbestos mat. I’m guessing that’s similar to a silpat? Interesting.

  17. So beautiful and what a lovely tribute to Julia Child. I have wanted to make clafouti for years and you are an inspiration!

  18. This looks soo good! And easy! I went to vote for you, but I guess I was too late! Voting has closed :(

  19. Bridget – I’m curious to know if you REALLY liked these. I’m making my first one (more likely with blueberries/raspberries) but have heard that these are nothing more than “baked dough with fruit”… LOVE your cherry tarty clafouti photos… very inspiring. AND I had no idea that MTAOFC had a recipe! Down from the shelf it comes (made French onion soup a few weeks ago – delish)!

  20. bridget says:

    mike – It depends on whether, by “really liked these”, you mean “actually liked these” or “very much liked these”. :) I’m not sure I would call them a showstopper, but yes, I definitely enjoyed them.

  21. Louise says:

    I have been making clafoutis for years (15+ at least)! I always pit the cherries, because otherwise it is a mess and nobody enjoys it. It is one of our very favourite desserts!

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