06 August 2014

Clafoutis aux prunes

Besides being delicious, the French clafoutis is child's play to make. There's no crust to bother with. There's no beating of egg whites required (though you can do that, optionally). There's no worry about the thing rising or falling. Good results are pretty much guaranteed, unless you burn it!

The classic clafoutis is made with unpitted cherries. They say the pits give added flavor to the clafoutis custard. I think you might say the same about a clafoutis made with unpitted plums — remember, "plums" in French is « prunes » and English "prunes" is French « pruneaux ».

Clafoutis aux prunes

400 g de petites prunes
125 g de farine
125 g de sucre
500 ml de lait entier
3 œufs

Dans une terrine, travaillez à la cuillère en bois, comme pour une pâte à crêpes,
la farine avec les œufs, le sucre, et le lait.

Beurrez un moule allant au four et mettez les prunes dans le fond. Versez la pâte dessus.
Faites cuire au four à 180ºC (350ºF) pendant 45 minutes.
Servez le clafoutis chaud, tiède, ou froid selon votre préférence.

The term « clafoutis » [klah-foo-TEE] is a dialect word from central France (Le Berry or Le Limousin, some sources say) and derives from an old verb « clafir » meaning "to fill, to stuff". The term came into wide usage only in the 1860s. The clafoutis batter is similar to a French crêpe batter but cooked a different way and "filled" with fruit. A clafoutis cooked without the fruit would resemble the tart called a flan parisien.

You can make a clafoutis of just about any fruit you want or like. Seedless grapes would be good, for example, or apples, pears, or peaches cut into slices or chunks. Recently, we've had both a raspberry and a rhurbarb clafoutis in a local restaurant. If you leave out the sugar and add some salt and pepper, you can even make a savory clafoutis using cooked vegetables — cherry tomatoes would be delicious — or, say, chunks of cooked chicken breast.

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that though I've adapted this recipe to my needs and tastes, it's based on a recipe for a clafoutis aux quetsches in Monique Maine's  1969 book Cuisine pour toute l'année.

16 comments:

  1. I thought the etymology was connected to clou and the idea was that the dish looks hobnailed. Maybe that's some sort of back formation though.

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    1. I've seen both derivations mentioned, Susan. I went with the one in the Grand Robert dictionary.

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  2. My clafoutis recioe has me whisking in the sugar and the flour one tablespoon at a time. I don't know if that ever made a difference. This makes much more sense. Quetsches ripening right now - I'll get my wooden spoon at the ready! I can do one with beating, and one without, and compare.

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    1. Pauline, here is Monique Maine's very simple recipe for the quetsch version:

      Clafoutis aux quetsches

      500 g de quetsches
      125 g de farine
      125 g de sucre
      500 ml de lait
      3 oeufs


      Dans une terrine, travaillez à la cuillère en bois comme pour une pâte à crêpes la farine avec les oeufs, le sucre, et le lait.

      Dénoyautez les quetsches, posez-les dans le fond d’un plat beurré allant au four, versez la pâte dessus. Faites cuire à four moyen pendant 45 minutes.

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  3. Plum clafoutis..........delicious!
    The idea of a cherry tomato clafoutis sounds good too, I shall try that.
    Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. Jean (and also Martine), there are a lot of recipes for the cherry tomato clafoutis on the web. Here's one:

      http://letablierdechristelle.com/clafoutis-aux-tomates-cerises-et-mozzarella/

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  4. Like Jean, I like the idea of a cherry tomato clafoutis. I think I'll try it next Saturday, instead of the quiche that I had planned. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. Martine, see above. Hope it turns out to be delicious.

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  5. When I lived in Southern California, I used to bake cherry clafoutis quite often, because it was one of my partner's favorites. Unfortunately, the cherry season is quite short so I had to resort to canned cherries with good results, though. I tried other fruits such as apricots and peaches. But since these were harvested green they didn't have much taste. Strangely enough, my best results were with bananas. If you like bananas, try it!

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    1. Banana clafoutis ?!
      It sounds wonderful. I never thought of that before - I shall definitely try it!

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    2. I have to try that banana clafoutis too. Thanks for the reminder, CHM. Too bad I just came back from the supermarket, where I could have bought bananas. Next time. A banana clafoutis would be a little like the Southern U.S.'s banana pudding, but less elaborate.

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  6. The British savoury version, or a relation at least, involves browned sausages, making "toad in the hole". But I suspect the exact consistency of the batter may be different, to make more of a risen crust.

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    1. I've never had the pleasure of eating 'toad in the hole' but I'm willing. Maybe it's like 'pigs in a blanket'.

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  7. I'm going to try the banana version also- sounds different and yummy at the same time.

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  8. My first thought would be blueberries-- seems like they'd lend themselves well to this, non?

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