What is a Clafoutis? I ask this question carefully, I had a guest once say to me it sounds more like a terrible disease than a dessert. Don’t tell the French that. This is one of my favorite desserts to eat when ever I visit France and for some reason its very rare that you see it any where in North America. Clafoutis originated in the Limousin region and traditionally uses Black Cherries, over time many other fruits have been used, but then it should be called a Flaugnarde.
I decided on creating this recipe after re-discovering my Gaston Lenôtre’s Dessert & Pastries cook book (one of the greatest pastry chefs of all time) I was flipping through and saw the Clafoutis picture and the timing just worked being Cherry season. Lenôtre’s recipe is a little different than I have used in the past, but this is exactly what intrigued me. I am used to making more of a batter for the filling and no pie crust, Lenôtre’s recipe calls for a crust and the filling is a custard. It has been a while since I had made a short pastry dough and the practice is always beneficial. I did make a few adjustments to Lenôtre’s recipe, I used yolks instead of whole eggs and almond instead of vanilla. I was a little concerned that the dish might be a little eggy (not sure if this is a word or not) that is why I went with the yolks. The custard is there to hold the fruit and nuts in place so you do not need very much. This is why everyone should have a few great cook books in their home and use them as references because that is exactly what they are. Do not be nervous about adding or subtracting ingredients from a recipe that you already have, this is exactly how other great recipes are created by experimenting. Hope you enjoy…..Jason
Amy’s Wine Picks
Top Pick: Choose a sweeter style Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, France. Chenin Blanc has aromas of ginger, honeycomb, quince and candied tangerines that will complement the clafoutis. Due to its cool climate, it also has higher acidity and a pronounced minerality. Try either Huët, Le Clos de Bourg, Vouvray Moelleux or Domaine des Baumard, Coteaux du Layon, Clos de Ste Catherine.
Playing it safe: Moscato d’Asti is a slightly effervescent, or Perlant with less than 2.5 atmospheres of pressure, wine from Piedmont, Italy. It has aromas of peaches, apricots, orange candy and rose pedals. Try producers like Vietti and Saracco. Around the corner from Asti is another semi-sweet sparkling wine, Brachetto d’Acqui. It has aromas of wild strawberries, raspberries and Twizzlers with a deep rose hue. The two best producers are Braida (also known as Giacomo Bologna) and Marenco.
Off the beaten track: Try a sweeter style Sherry from Andalucía on the southern coast of Spain – such as a Pale Cream, Cream or Vino Dulce. They are naturally sweet fortified wines after partial fermentation of sunned gapes, often bottle varietally as Pedro Ximémenez or Moscatel. The nutty flavors will go with the Amaretto (or almond extract) in the cherry clafoutis. Sherry has been on the rise in popularity for a great summer selection. Try producers like Delgado Zuleta, Lustau or Alvear.