Sunday, August 30, 2009

Three-Berry Clafouti

It's strange that of the dozen cookbooks I own, I really only regularly use about three of them (two books about baking and a pasta cookbook which contains one of my favorite tomato sauces). Occasionally, I'll pull out one of the four Rachael Ray books I own to look for a new recipe, but most of my favorites from those books I've committed to memory.

A couple of weekends ago, I got the hankering to bake a dessert. We already had cookies in the freezer, and I really wanted something fruity. I immediately thought of the raspberry clafouti we had been served at the bed and breakfast in Montana. "A clafouti is healthy," I rationalized. "If I use blueberries, blackberries, and some raspberries, I'll get my daily dose of antioxidants." So I began my quest for a recipe...

I began searching the internet for recipes. I remembered that clafouti is a French dish, and then I remembered that Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking had been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year. I looked through it for fun every now and then but I had yet to try out any of her recipes. Surely Julia would have a recipe for this pastry in her book. I was in luck, she had several variations on the classic dish.

I decided to use three berries because a) I needed an excuse to use blackberries (my favorite), b) blueberries are in season and somewhat inexpensive and c) I'm not a huge fan of raspberries but like the color.

The recipe couldn't be simpler to make. The ingredients for the "dough" are all combined and blended. Flour, sugar, milk, vanilla, and eggs are processed until smooth.

As you can see, it's kind of frothy.

Next, you pour a thin layer of the batter into the bottom of the pie plate, just enough to coat the bottom. The pie plate goes into the 350-degree oven for a few minutes, just enough time for a film to set on the bottom of the pie plate. Then you remove the plate from the oven, add the fruit and more sugar, and pour on the rest of the batter.

It kind of looks like a giant pancake...

Then you bake the clafouti for about 45 minutes, until it's set. Let it rest for a few minutes before slicing into it.

I really like this dish. It would be great served warm with some ice cream, or with whipped cream. We didn't have either of those in the kitchen, so we ate it plain. It was a light dish that didn't leave a heavy feeling in your stomach. In fact, it reminded me of a thick, giant berry pancake. And with all those great berries, you don't have to feel guilty about eating a big piece!

For the batter...
1 1 /4 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup of flour

For the filling...
3 cups of berries
1/3 cup sugar

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