OhMyGod~... This is one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth!!! YUM! YUM! YUM!
If you are not familiar with a clafouti, you are not alone... neither was I, except reading the name occasionally on food blogs. This one I made, my very first, blew me away with the taste. I had thought it might be good, but turned out to be one of the best damn desserts I have eaten in my whole life!
According to Wikipedia, a clafouti, or clafoutis, is a baked French dessert of black cherries in a buttered dish, covered with a thick flan-like batter and baked. The clafoutis is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm.
The clafoutis originates in the Limousin region of France... and while black cherries are traditional, there are numerous variations using other fruits. I have fresh cranberries on hand for Thanksgiving, and still a lot of pears in my root cellar, so I decided to adapt a recipe I found for a Cranberry Pear Clafouti. The batter is a Yorkshire pudding style, made with eggs, sugar, cream and a little flour. The result is like a thick, puffy pancake baked over the fruit.
My adaptations were mostly in the method of cooking, although I did substitute half and half for the evaporated milk, and also increased the amount of pears, and flour.
I put about a cup of cranberries and three diced medium-size pears (peeled and cored) in a skillet, along with 1/3 cup of sugar and about 1½ tablespoons of butter. The online recipe called for only 1 pear, no butter, and baking the fruit about 20 minutes until soft. I only have a counter-top convection to work with at the moment, and decided it was easier to pre-cook the fruit in a skillet instead.
The cranberries were fairly quick to burst in the pan, and the cranberries and pears both softened in about 15 minutes on medium heat. The butter kept the sugar and fruit from sticking to the pan until they gave up some of their juices.
Next, drain the juices and set aside. The fruits don't have to be very dry, but not swimming in their juices either. Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF. Notice I used a different pan for baking. I'm using a small countertop convection oven until our oven gets repaired (or we get a new range).
In a bowl, mix 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons vanilla, ⅓ cup half and half, and ¼ cup sugar.
Spread the drained fruit evenly in the bottom of an oven-proof pan (which you have buttered), and pour the batter on top.
Bake in the upper third of an oven until puffed around the edges and set in the center, about 12-15 minutes.
Because this batter puffs when it cooks, it also falls just like a soufflé! The topping deflated in the time it took to find and focus the camera! This is the virgin dish for this little oven, and I also see it heats unevenly. Next time, I'll keep a better eye on it and rotate halfway through.
OhMyGod~... that's one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth!!! YUM! YUM! YUM! Not too sweet; just enough sweetness to excite my tastebuds dancing around the tart cranberries. The 'pudding' was excellent, a puffy-custard-y texture with lovely vanilla overtones.
Serve warm with the reserved juices (re-warmed) poured on top. Sprinkle with a tad of powdered sugar for looks. Serves 4.
Here's my recipe adaptation:
* 3 medium pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch dice
* 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
* ⅓ cup sugar (for the fruit) plus ¼ cup sugar for the batter
* 2 large eggs
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
* ⅓ cup half & half (or cream)
* 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
Place oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch glass pie plate or coat it with cooking spray. (I used a metal pan; can't use glass in this oven)
Combine pear, cranberries and ⅓ cup of the sugar in the baking dish. Bake until the fruit is tender and very juicy, about 20 minutes. (I did mine is a skillet on the stovetop.)
Meanwhile, whisk eggs, flour, vanilla and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in half and half.
Drain the juices from the baked fruit into a small bowl, holding back the fruit with a metal spatula. Reserve the juices. Redistribute the fruit over the bottom of the dish and pour in the egg mixture. Bake until puffed and set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Serve warm, with the reserved fruit juices spooned over the top. Sprinkle with a tad of powdered sugar.