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Who's Clafouti?

Who's Clafouti?
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  • Who's Clafouti?

    Post #1 - June 24th, 2007, 9:47 pm
    Post #1 - June 24th, 2007, 9:47 pm Post #1 - June 24th, 2007, 9:47 pm
    Image
    Someone please lend us a hand-- solve this mystery if you can-- is it cake or is it pan? Who's clafouti?

    It's funny now how some things have such deep history by now. Vital Information may be all Mr. Local Food Guy here in 2007, but here we were five years ago on Chowhound, basically having the same conversation-- and in my case, having the same dessert I made yesterday, cherry clafouti/clafoutis. As I said then, I make this every year when cherries get really good, not least because I'm still working my way through recovering my investment in that first bottle of kirschwasser, cherry liqueur. It's one of the definite milestones of summer for me and my family, the one or maybe two clafoutii/clafoutises I manage to make while cherries are good and cheap.

    Traditionally this is a dessert of whole cherries, baked in a kind of pancake-like batter without a crust. My version, though, is Joel Robuchon's adaptation from the Simply French book written by Patricia Wells, which turns it into much more of a traditional custard tart with a splash of liquor for sophistication. Robuchon's version has a sweet pastry crust (I use the recipe in the same book, which has a whole vanilla bean in each crust and is quite wonderful), and it pits the cherries and then bakes them for a few minutes in the kirschwasser and sugar to get some of the liquid out.

    Image

    Pour a simple custard around it, using vanilla sugar and a little more of the kirschwasser:

    Image

    And bake till it's browned and set. I could make this in November with cherries from Chile or New Zealand, I'm sure, but even though I'm no localvore overall, this is one of those things I feel honor bound to make only when cherries are in season-- and of course the reward for my punctiliousness is how especially wonderful the cherries are (I bought mine from the Flamin' Fury peach guy at Green City last week). I hold back, I don't make this the rest of the year, then summer comes and it's like an old friend is in town for a short visit. If I could have it anytime I might not make clafouti for years. Since there's only a short window of time in which I can have it, I never miss it.

    What's your clafouti, in that same seasonal way?
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  • Post #2 - June 25th, 2007, 6:32 am
    Post #2 - June 25th, 2007, 6:32 am Post #2 - June 25th, 2007, 6:32 am
    from a few weeks ago
    Image
  • Post #3 - June 25th, 2007, 7:55 am
    Post #3 - June 25th, 2007, 7:55 am Post #3 - June 25th, 2007, 7:55 am
    Hey guys, they look great, but (cherry) clafoutis should have the pits.
  • Post #4 - June 25th, 2007, 9:10 am
    Post #4 - June 25th, 2007, 9:10 am Post #4 - June 25th, 2007, 9:10 am
    Vital Information wrote:Hey guys, they look great, but (cherry) clafoutis should have the pits.


    Not according to my dentist! :wink:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - June 25th, 2007, 9:32 am
    Post #5 - June 25th, 2007, 9:32 am Post #5 - June 25th, 2007, 9:32 am
    but (cherry) clafoutis should have the pits.


    (212) 350-6658

    Ask for Joël

    Tell him it has to have the pits!
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #6 - June 25th, 2007, 10:54 am
    Post #6 - June 25th, 2007, 10:54 am Post #6 - June 25th, 2007, 10:54 am
    Mike G wrote:
    but (cherry) clafoutis should have the pits.


    (212) 350-6658

    Ask for Joël

    Tell him it has to have the pits!


    Sounds like you and I used the same recipe from Simply French

    Image
  • Post #7 - June 25th, 2007, 6:39 pm
    Post #7 - June 25th, 2007, 6:39 pm Post #7 - June 25th, 2007, 6:39 pm
    Vital Information wrote:Hey guys, they look great, but (cherry) clafoutis should have the pits.


    Yes, they should, it flavors the dish.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #8 - June 25th, 2007, 7:29 pm
    Post #8 - June 25th, 2007, 7:29 pm Post #8 - June 25th, 2007, 7:29 pm
    leek wrote:Yes, they should, it flavors the dish.

    As someone who had the good fortune to have a slice (ok, two slices :) ) of Mike's clafouti I can safely say if it had any more flavor I'd have passed out from flavor overload.

    That was one heck of a clafouti, pits be damned.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - June 25th, 2007, 7:55 pm
    Post #9 - June 25th, 2007, 7:55 pm Post #9 - June 25th, 2007, 7:55 pm
    I, too, was a lucky partaker in Mike's clafouti, and agree that it would be hard to imagine how the pits could've improved the flavor. Although, as I am seeing my dentist tomorrow, I suppose I would've been a good test subject. So, what does the pit do to the flavor? Does it burn/blacken and add flavor that way? Does it help the cherries cook more evenly? Something more alchemical?
    JiLS
  • Post #10 - June 25th, 2007, 8:02 pm
    Post #10 - June 25th, 2007, 8:02 pm Post #10 - June 25th, 2007, 8:02 pm
    I'm more curious about the batter; as noted, Robuchon turns the batter into more of a custard (hence the need for a crust) where the original is supposed to be sturdy enough to stand on its own. Maybe I'll have to track down a traditional clafouti recipe and try making that just to see, as fond as I am of the enhanced Robuchon kind (and it indeed has had few complaints over the years).
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  • Post #11 - June 26th, 2007, 7:41 pm
    Post #11 - June 26th, 2007, 7:41 pm Post #11 - June 26th, 2007, 7:41 pm
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:So, what does the pit do to the flavor?


    Imparts a subtle almondiness.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #12 - June 26th, 2007, 8:13 pm
    Post #12 - June 26th, 2007, 8:13 pm Post #12 - June 26th, 2007, 8:13 pm
    Mike G wrote:I'm more curious about the batter; as noted, Robuchon turns the batter into more of a custard (hence the need for a crust) where the original is supposed to be sturdy enough to stand on its own. Maybe I'll have to track down a traditional clafouti recipe and try making that just to see, as fond as I am of the enhanced Robuchon kind (and it indeed has had few complaints over the years).


    The original does indeed stand on its own. I make it as it's one recipe I do not have to tweak to make it gluten-free. I was dismayed to see the crust on this one. . .it ruins a perfectly wonderful automatically gluten-free no changes needed to recipe dessert.
  • Post #13 - June 26th, 2007, 10:18 pm
    Post #13 - June 26th, 2007, 10:18 pm Post #13 - June 26th, 2007, 10:18 pm
    ViewsAskew wrote:it ruins a perfectly wonderful automatically gluten-free no changes needed to recipe dessert.


    Hardly! Mike G's clafouti was outstanding. If anything, the crust added some nice texture. I think I prefer it prepared that way.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - June 26th, 2007, 11:12 pm
    Post #14 - June 26th, 2007, 11:12 pm Post #14 - June 26th, 2007, 11:12 pm
    Now if taste could be added to the internet as a feature, then we might all know what it tasted like.

    Oh well!

    I once made clafouti to find it simply did not appeal to my family. Custard just does not make the grade here.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #15 - June 27th, 2007, 2:23 pm
    Post #15 - June 27th, 2007, 2:23 pm Post #15 - June 27th, 2007, 2:23 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:I once made clafouti to find it simply did not appeal to my family. Custard just does not make the grade here.


    Whenever I've had it, it seems more like a wet pancake than a custard. That didn't sound good, but in texture, I mean.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #16 - June 27th, 2007, 4:34 pm
    Post #16 - June 27th, 2007, 4:34 pm Post #16 - June 27th, 2007, 4:34 pm
    stevez wrote:
    ViewsAskew wrote:it ruins a perfectly wonderful automatically gluten-free no changes needed to recipe dessert.


    Hardly! Mike G's clafouti was outstanding. If anything, the crust added some nice texture. I think I prefer it prepared that way.


    That's because you CAN eat it that way. . .in my house I can't because of celiac disease. Oh, sure, I could make a gluten-free crust, but it's so nice to have recipes that you don't have to convert or makes changes to. That's all I meant.
  • Post #17 - June 27th, 2007, 4:41 pm
    Post #17 - June 27th, 2007, 4:41 pm Post #17 - June 27th, 2007, 4:41 pm
    Whenever I've had it (and also when I've made it), it always had a short pastry crust, and the filling was always egg-based and custard-like. This is also how the recipe is described in my go-to book for French pastry, Lenotre's Desserts and Pastries. I've never had it when it resembled a pancake in any way (other than being round).
  • Post #18 - June 27th, 2007, 4:58 pm
    Post #18 - June 27th, 2007, 4:58 pm Post #18 - June 27th, 2007, 4:58 pm
    A raspberry clafouti at Vie last summer was very much pancakey/custardy, crustless, and fantastic. I recommend trying any clafouti Virant happens to have on the menu if you visit.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #19 - June 27th, 2007, 5:02 pm
    Post #19 - June 27th, 2007, 5:02 pm Post #19 - June 27th, 2007, 5:02 pm
    ViewsAskew, I think you could make almost any crust and it would be fine-- the point is the interior, the crust is just there to hold it together. That said, doesn't the batter in the more traditional style contain flour and thus gluten?

    Here's an example of a crustless clafouti, with the "pancake" batter (I don't think that description is meant to suggest that the final product was pancake like, but that it was an egg and flour batter that pours like pancake batter, as opposed to a flourless custard or a firmer cake-style batter):

    http://cookingwithamy.blogspot.com/2004 ... ecipe.html
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  • Post #20 - June 27th, 2007, 6:18 pm
    Post #20 - June 27th, 2007, 6:18 pm Post #20 - June 27th, 2007, 6:18 pm
    ViewsAskew wrote:That's because you CAN eat it that way. . .in my house I can't because of celiac disease.


    I wouldn't call it "ruined" just because you can't eat it. There are a couple of pretty mainstream things that I can't eat either. That doesn't mean I begrudge others the joy of eating those foods. I just abstain and find something else to eat. In your case, you have the option of making a crustless version.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #21 - June 27th, 2007, 6:19 pm
    Post #21 - June 27th, 2007, 6:19 pm Post #21 - June 27th, 2007, 6:19 pm
    Mike G wrote: "pancake" batter (I don't think that description is meant to suggest that the final product was pancake like, but that it was an egg and flour batter that pours like pancake batter, as opposed to a flourless custard or a firmer cake-style batter)


    Precisely!
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #22 - June 28th, 2007, 1:13 am
    Post #22 - June 28th, 2007, 1:13 am Post #22 - June 28th, 2007, 1:13 am
    stevez wrote:
    ViewsAskew wrote:That's because you CAN eat it that way. . .in my house I can't because of celiac disease.


    I wouldn't call it "ruined" just because you can't eat it. There are a couple of pretty mainstream things that I can't eat either. That doesn't mean I begrudge others the joy of eating those foods. I just abstain and find something else to eat. In your case, you have the option of making a crustless version.


    Truce. I obviously didn't do a good enough job of making my smile in the text shine through.
  • Post #23 - June 28th, 2007, 9:12 am
    Post #23 - June 28th, 2007, 9:12 am Post #23 - June 28th, 2007, 9:12 am
    Where can you buy clafouti?
  • Post #24 - June 28th, 2007, 9:27 am
    Post #24 - June 28th, 2007, 9:27 am Post #24 - June 28th, 2007, 9:27 am
    I think I saw it on a dessert menu here once but I've never seen it for sale commercially. There are plenty of the more traditional, crustless recipes out on the web, otherwise, look for a copy of Simply French.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #25 - June 28th, 2007, 10:00 am
    Post #25 - June 28th, 2007, 10:00 am Post #25 - June 28th, 2007, 10:00 am
    jlawrence01 wrote:Where can you buy clafouti?


    I was thinking of this before this direct question arose, because Bittersweet makes a slighly unconventional clafouti or what they call a clafouti. It's something akin to a muffin, crisp on the outside, not really the pancake-ish thing pic'd above. They are, howver, very good. So, anyways, one can buy clafoutis at Bittersweet, but it's not exactly what one would think of after reading this thread (although Bittersweet omits the pits too).
  • Post #26 - June 28th, 2007, 10:58 am
    Post #26 - June 28th, 2007, 10:58 am Post #26 - June 28th, 2007, 10:58 am
    I first noticed clafouti years ago when I was still in Lincoln Park and would shop at Treasure Island on Wells. On the window was a recipe for clafouti, which I copied and made with tart cherries from the farmer's market. It was wonderful-very simple. The batter is similar to a crepe batter. I find bing cherries too sweet for this dish. The season is very short for tart cherries so I always buy extras and pit and freeze them. They work fine frozen.

    Cherry Clafouti

    6 Servings

    1 1/4 cups milk
    2/3 cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
    3 cups drained pitted tart cherries
    confectioners' sugar


    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour in a blender and blend at top speed for 1 minute. Pour a 1/4-inch layer of batter into a 7-8 cup capacity lightly buttered baking dish or flameproof pie plate. Cook over medium heat until the batter has set slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
    2. Spread the cherries over the batter and sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface. Bake until puffed and browned and a toothpick or knife comes out clean, about 1 hour. Sprinkle the top with confectioners' sugar and serve warm.
  • Post #27 - June 28th, 2007, 12:10 pm
    Post #27 - June 28th, 2007, 12:10 pm Post #27 - June 28th, 2007, 12:10 pm
    jlawrence01 wrote:Where can you buy clafouti?


    Le Fou Frog in Kansas City had it on the menu.
  • Post #28 - July 11th, 2007, 10:28 am
    Post #28 - July 11th, 2007, 10:28 am Post #28 - July 11th, 2007, 10:28 am
    Using the Julia Child method described above, I made the pancake-version of clafouti (no short crust) last night.

    Because most of my bing cherries went into a cherry-jalapeno jam,

    Image

    my clafouti was comprised mostly of tart cherries, my favorite:

    Image

    The recipe required that you pour a bit of the batter into the pan and place it on a burner to firm it up prior to placing the cherries in it. Then, you poured the remaining batter over the cherries and sprinkled it with sugar:

    Image

    After about an hour in the oven:

    Image

    And finished with confectioner's sugar:

    Image

    In the end, it had the texture of a wetter pancake; almost a cross between a custard and a pancake. Having never made clafouti before, I don't know if this is the right texture. The simple batter was a good vehicle for showcasing the cherries. I'd classify it as a mild success. I think the major appeal for me was that it was insanely easy to make on a weeknight.
  • Post #29 - July 14th, 2007, 8:39 am
    Post #29 - July 14th, 2007, 8:39 am Post #29 - July 14th, 2007, 8:39 am
    First of all, fwiw (and I'm sorry, I can't help it--it's the pedant in me), it's clafoutis. Yes, the 's' belongs on the end and yes, that is the singular. Remember, class, this is French, not English.

    With that in mind, those not already mildly irritated with me may wish to visit this blog for a wonderful recipe adapted from Christopher Kimball of Cook's Illustrated fame. Got me some plums and will whip one up this very day!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #30 - July 14th, 2007, 8:44 am
    Post #30 - July 14th, 2007, 8:44 am Post #30 - July 14th, 2007, 8:44 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:First of all, fwiw (and I'm sorry, I can't help it--it's the pedant in me), it's clafoutis. Yes, the 's' belongs on the end and yes, that is the singular. Remember, class, this is French, not English.


    Not here in the good ole USA. This is America, dammit!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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