Friday, 11 April 2014
This is what happens when you buy a dozen eggs for 30p: Pear Clafoutis
Version française ici
I do love a bargain. If I had the time I would trawl around supermarkets at the optimum time and hoover up any reduced price stuff I could and put it to good use, stash it in the freezer, etc. Timing is everything however, a good time being last Sunday afternoon, about an hour or so before closing when I happen to walk into a well known supermarket beginning with T on the pretext of buying something else, but then happening to spy that the man with the pricing gun was about to spring into action. I got distracted.
So, after acquiring a dozen golden yolked free range eggs for 30 pence, plus a lovely big corn fed chicken for £2.04 which I roasted on a bed on onions with thyme, garlic and lemon (I may blog about this at some point) and various other bargains, including some delicious dessert pears (50 pence) I left, nearly leaving without the thing I actually went in to buy.
Now then, what could I possibly make with my newly acquired bargains?
I really like clafoutis, not just because I am a Francophile, but because it is a great way of utilising fruit for a dessert that is not just strewing a crumble topping over it (I would like to stress here and now that there is nothing wrong with crumble; I never ate a crumble I didn't like and there are times when the rubbing together of butter, flour and sugar is just the most therapeutic thing to do, but for impact, the burnished top of a clafoutis with its slight quiver and fruit, like jewels, adorning it gives it the edge on the crumble, just...) and you can use any fruit you like really, The thing to be mindful about is some fruit can give out a tremendous amount of water and ruin the look and the texture of the clafoutis. There certainly is an argument for sautéing those type of fruits in a little butter and evaporating the excess moisture before putting them into the dish. I considered this when looking at the pears, which were really juicy - definitely too ripe to be eaten with any finesse. But despite being juicy, they were holding their shape when I cut them and so I just put them in without cooking. They were fine, as it happens. though the addition of flour to the batter instead of purely just using a custard mixture of eggs and milk probably helped to absorb any excess moisture that came from when the pears were cooked.
The basis of the recipe is one that I found on the Marmiton website which includes alsorts of other fruit like apples and prunes to be used as well as the pears. I just increased the quantity of pears. I also used my own vanilla sugar instead of the sachets (which I know you can get here as well as France but I just have a Kilner jar of sugar in which I put any used vanilla pods so that the sugar becomes infused with the smell and flavour of vanilla). I substituted the rum recommended in the recipe with some Williams Pear Liqueur which I brought back from the last time we were in France, though as I tend to say in most other situations involving drink, any old booze will do. The last, and frankly inspired thing I did which is different to the original recipe was instead of scattering sugar on the clafoutis as it came out of the oven, I decided to scatter it over five minutes or so before it came out, thus creating a sweet crunchy topping to the clafoutis, which when matched with the unctuous eggy custard and clean taste of the pears was something pretty good!
Pear Clafoutis, translated and then adapted from the Marmiton website
Serves Lola, Finn Mum and Dad plus two others
Four dessert pears, peeled, hulled and cut into eighths (with a little lemon juice to squirt over them to stop them browning)
120 g of flour
110 g vanilla sugar (or caster sugar with a few drops of vanilla extract) plus a little extra for scattering on top of the clafoutis
400ml full fat milk
20ml pear liqueur (though you could use rum, and actually, it probably doesn't matter if you wish to leave it out)
A little butter, for greasing the dish
Turn the oven heat to gas mark 6/ 180c
Prepare the pears,
Combine the flour and the sugar together
Add eggs one at a time, adding the milk and liqueur in between times.
Grease a suitable pan or dish that will hold the mixture comfortably (there will be some rise of the batter in the oven). Place it onto a baking tray to catch any spillages whilst it is in the oven.
Scatter the fruit, or place in a pattern over the bottom of the prepared dish. Pour in the custard mixture.
Place in the centre of the oven and cook about 30 - 40 minutes, or until the custard is set but still retains a wobble. At this point, take the clafoutis out of the oven and scatter some sugar over the top. Return to the oven for five minutes or so until the sugar begins to melt a little.
When you take the clafoutis out of the oven, allow it to cool until it is just warm. The clafoutis will sink.
Serve with cream.