Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cranberry Clafoutis

I collect cookbooks and love that friends give me food magazines and pretty cookbooks as gifts. The more photographs in the book, the better! It's not because I'm a cookbook snob or anything like that but I need pictures to know what the heck the food is supposed to look like after I've cooked/baked it.
Ms. November 2011
I also collect vintage pulp fiction stuff and love old fashioned pin-up girl pictures.   Speaking of which, I found this cool website called Pin-up Girl Clothing! I'm providing this link for those of you who are of the more femme persuasion and for butch women who appreciate that look on their women.  While I was on the site, I found some very cool accessories.  You'll have to check it out.

Alright, enough shopping; sorry I distracted you. You're probably wondering what pin-up girls and clafoutis have in common, huh?  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  I just felt like writing about both, so there.

I could really get carried away with looking at those beautiful dresses and stuff but let's get to baking now.  We are going to bake a cranberry clafoutis. Clafoutis is a baked french dessert pronounced Claw-fuh-TEE, with stress on the "TEE." Wow, aren't we fancy? You get to bake and learn a little french.  Clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France and is traditionally baked with cherries but you can use just about any kind of fruit. Today we are going to use cranberries. A fork full of clafoutis will provide your tastebuds with tartness and round it out with a mellow and smooth custard-like flavor.  The best description I can give you of how it tastes is to compare it with flan, only not as heavy.  The recipe below is very easy to follow and the end result is a delicious dessert.

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine, 2011:
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, for dish
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 cup chilled heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp finely grated orange zest (I didn't use zest because I don't like ANY KIND of zest...yuck)
1-1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
Garnish: confectioner's sugar, fresh whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

This is the first time I've baked with raw cranberries and I didn't realize that they had tiny, tiny little seeds.  Did you know that? Well, they do.  So when you chop them up, don't forget to rinse the cranberries in a collander to get rid of the seeds.

Speaking of chopping them up. There are times when you have to use a little common sense. When a recipe calls for something chopped it doesn't mean you literally have to chop stuff up by hand. I made the first clafoutis right after I got home from work so I was still decompressing and preoccupied.  I literally cut up every single one of the cranberries you see in the picture BY HAND. It took me a whole half hour! What the heck was I thinking or not thinking? When I baked the clafoutis for a dinner with friends later in the week, I came to my senses and used a food processor to chop up the cranberries. Duh.  So unless you want to spend lots of time mindlessly cutting up the cranberries by hand, use the food processor. Just pulse it long enough so that they're cut up and not puree'd.  Also, don't forget to rinse the chopped cranberries so that you can get rid of the seeds. Sorry if I'm nagging you about that...

Butter a 1-quart baking dish (not metal).  Now here is where I began to depart from the recipe.  I used a 3.5 quart baking dish and the clafouti, after baked, settled to a nice thickness (a little under an inch).

Using a pastry brush; sprinkle 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the bottom of the baking dish.
Sift remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the flour, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk eggs, then add 3/4 cup cream, the milk, and zest (remember, I didn't use it. It came out fine too).  Use a blender to mix ingredients.

Scatter cranberries into dish and pour the batter over the top.

The cranberries will float to the top.

The first time I made the clafouti, I doubled the recipe and it too twice as long to bake (about an hour) because it was so thick.  The second time I baked it, it only took about 35 minutes. As the clafoutis bakes, it rises along the edges like shown above. It's done when it's puffed, slightly set, and brown around the edges, 32 to 34 minutes.  You can also tell when it's done when you put a knife in the middle and it comes out fairly clean.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.  Whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream until soft peaks form.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.

The clafoutis will sink as it cools.

Iphone Photo

I'm sorry I don't have a better photograph for you to show what it looks like on the inside than the one I took with my iphone.  I was in a rush to take it to work and to my friend's house for dinner.  This is a sideview of the clafoutis. As you can see, it looks like white custard. Forget what it looks like though, this dessert is delicious!!

Serve either warm or cool with a dollop of whipped cream.  It would be a nice complement for a Thanksgiving meal or even a romantic dinner.  You could spoon feed some to your romantic interest and well, the possibilities are endless with the whipped cream. Use your imagination. Mmmm...*insert dreamy look* Wait, this is a food blog...sorry I momentarily got a little sidetracked.  Cranberries are in season bad girl, so take advantage of their abundance.