Sweetness of Spring: Strawberry Clafoutis : NPR
Clafoutis is most classically made with cherries, but it will gladly open its arms to any other fruit, and in this case, strawberries.
Clafoutis is the epitome of the French grandmotherly dessert: unpretentious, easy to make, and blissfully comforting.
The fluffy custard, light as a cloud and studded with fruit, hails from the Limousin region in the heart of France, where each family has its own well-guarded recipe.
Clafoutis is most classically made with cherries — leaving the pits in for maximum flavor and a nice jaw workout — but it will gladly open its arms to any other fruit, and in this case, strawberries.
Recipes by Clotilde Dusoulier.
About the Author:
Clotilde Dusoulier is the 26-year-old Parisienne behind the popular food blog Chocolate & Zucchini.
She is working on her first cookbook.
An introductory nugget of horticultural trivia: These plump and luminously red berries belong to the rose family. Their delicate taste and delightful scent, sweet and acidulated like candy, make them an infallible crowd-pleaser. (Well, almost infallible: Since a small portion of the population is allergic to them, its a good idea to ask your guests about it ahead of time.)
While you may be able to find strawberries year-round, their peak season runs from April to June — with a brief reappearance in September — and this is when you'll experience them at their juicy best, and at their cheapest, too.
Choose small and deeply fragrant strawberries, firm but not rock-hard, with their green little collars still attached, and no sign of blemish.
If you have access to a farmer's market, it's best to buy your berries there: They will be freshly picked, and if you wear your brightest smile you'll be able to taste before you buy.
Since strawberries are usually sold by the pint, this clafoutis recipe may leave you with an extra cup.
That's never much of a problem, and I'm sure you don't need instructions to dip the berries in a little sugar (or better yet, some melted chocolate) and pop them happily into your or someone else's mouth.
But if you're looking for other ideas, I have also included a recipe for strawberry coulis.
It is a breeze to make and will work wonders on ice cream or plain yogurt, with a chocolate tart, a cheesecake or simply drizzled on a thick, buttered slice of fresh bread.
Heaven, I tell you.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 pint (3 cups or 20 ounces) fresh strawberries
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
A pinch of salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon light rum (optional)
OR the metric measurements:
– 55 g unsalted butter
– 600 g fresh strawberries
– 60 g all-purpose flour
– 50 g whole blanched almonds
– 100 g granulated sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– A pinch of salt
– 3 large eggs
– 185 ml milk
– 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
– Confectioner’s sugar
– Oven temperature: 180° C
Note: the amounts were slightly rounded up or down to make them easier to work with (who wants to measure 56.69 grams butter?), but this won’t affect the finished product — clafoutis is a pretty flexible kind of guy.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease an 20 cm -square glass or ceramic baking dish (or 6 1-cup ramekins for a more elegant presentation) with one tablespoon of the butter.
Melt the remaining butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat (or in a small bowl set in the microwave for a few seconds) and set aside.
Rinse the strawberries under cool water — do not soak or they will loose some of their flavor.
Drain in a colander for a few minutes, and gently pat dry with a clean dishtowel.
In a food processor or blender, mix together the flour and almonds until finely ground.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt, and mix again.
Crack in the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Pour in the melted butter, milk and rum if using, and mix again until well blended.
The mixture will be thin, like crepe batter.
Hull the strawberries, cut in halves or quarters depending on their size, and arrange in a single layer in the prepared dish or ramekins.
Drizzle the batter over the strawberries, and put the dish in the oven to bake for 40 minutes (30 minutes if you use ramekins), until puffy and set.
Transfer dish to a rack, and let cool to room temperature.
Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, and serve directly from the baking dish or ramekins.
Clafoutis is traditionally served on its own, but if you like you can add a few fresh strawberries on the side, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a little whipped cream.