The name of this extremely easy dessert can be mystifying when first encountered….As in, what the hell is that? Clafoutis, pronounced “kla-foo-tees”, is French and manifique! Clafoutis are traditionally made with cherries, which was how I made my very first version many years ago. I have also made them using summer berries, plums and winter tart apples. No matter what fruit you choose, you will hardly ever make an easier and more loved dessert..
I do hope if you make it you will let me know how you like it. With this post I shall bid adieu to my trio of Fall pear posts. Bon Appetit.
A few weeks ago I decided to try making Canneles after having one at a local coffee shop, Crema. I ordered a pan/mold and it has been sitting in my kitchen since. So France, this is my edible ode to you and yours. You have given us so much…the Statue of Liberty, Quiche, Cafe au Lait, Edith Piaf, Art & Style & Panache…inspiration for “An American in Paris”…pastries, pastries and more pastries. Our American lives would be so dull and not nearly so delicious without you. Vive la France.
Canneles are small vanilla pastries that have a custardy sweet inside with a crusty, caramel outside. Due to the cook time they will often be almost burnt looking but this just adds to their deliciousness. You will need a Cannele pan, but they are not expensive and are readily available online or in better cooking shops. A vast store of recipes are just a click away as well. I used as classic recipe from Bordeaux that appealed to me with a few of my own tweaks.
A well buttered, sugared Cannele mold/pan awaits the batter splashed with vanilla & rum.
Once many years ago I had my first Cafe au Lait sitting along the Champs Elysees in a small cafe. It was summer and I was in love with life and that coffee is the one I have remembered each morning as I drink my cup of coffee with milk. That was also my first Cannele and Croissant..both eaten after dipping into the hot creamy coffee. Merci Paris, Merci.
If we cannot make art, make fun, demonstrate peacefully, talk and discuss the good, the bad and the ugly without fear of reprisal from those who disagree….we are all Charlie.
The day before you bake the canneles, boil the milk with the vanilla bean, vanilla extract & 2 tbsp butter. Turn off heat right as it boils and let cool for 5 minutes.
In a bowl mix the flour & sugar together. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks to the flour mixture stirring well.
Add the flour-egg mixture to the milk mixture stirring with a whisk until smooth and fluid. Batter will be like pancake batter. Cool batter completely & add the rum. Cover and chill for 24 to 48 hours. I put the batter into a small pitcher so I could pour into the molds easily.
To Bake: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Melt butter for greasing the mold. Using a pastry brush coat inside of molds. Sprinkle each with granulated sugar across the bottoms and sides.
Fill each mold 3/4 full with batter. No more please.
Bake for 5 minutes. Turn heat to 350 degrees & bake 1 hour or until canneles have a dark brown crust and are still a bit moist in the middle. Immediately remove from pan to a rack to cool.
Repeat with any batter that is left over. I made 24 canneles with this recipe, but depending on the size of the pan/molds you purchase you may bake more or less.
Note: These pastries are worth the bit of time it takes. Really one day you make the batter, put in the cooler, pull it out the next and bake. I got lots done while my canneles were baking. Tidied my office, made some calls, read my book and when the first batch was done I made a hot milky coffee and had a couple “dipped”. Bon Apetit
Fresh Rainier Cherries have arrived. Their beauty seduced me completely. I had to have them…eating some out of the bag right after paying for them…baking the rest into this tender-crusted galette …not too sweet, just right.
Galettes are easy to make. Simply a freeform crust filled, either sweet or savory, French in origin…a beautiful rustic, yet elegant look, not a rigid as a crimped pie crust, not as planned looking…they never look the exact same way twice…that is why I love them.
In my pantry there was a box of King Arthur Gluten Free Flour that I had not tried…some of it went into my pastry recipe. The outcome was beyond my expectations. A delicate pastry, somewhat shortbread-like, that baked up golden brown and flakey.
For pastry crust: 2 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Flour (or any other flour), 1 1/2 sticks of cold butter cut into small chunks, a pinch of salt & ice water.
Put flour & pinch of salt in a food processor bowl. Pulse to blend. Add in cold butter chunks & pulse a few more times. Do not pulse too much. The butter should still be in small pieces. Drizzle in ice water, about 5 tablespoons, pulsing as you add. Remove pastry from bowl of processor & form into two balls. Flatten each & wrap in plastic. Chill for at least one hour before using. This galette will only need one pastry ball. Save the other for another dessert either chilled or frozen.
When ready to make the galette, remove pastry from the refrigerator, let sit for about 10 minutes.
While pastry is sitting for 10 minutes, whisk together 2 eggs, 1 cup low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt, a generous pinch of ground cinnamon & 1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar for filling. Set aside.
Place pastry on a sheet of floured parchment paper & roll into a rough circle about 12″ in diameter. It is just fine if edges are not even. Pour half of the egg-yogurt filling in the center of the pastry circle. Top with 1 1/2 to 2 cups pitted Rainier Cherries.
Lift edges of parchment paper to fold pastry up and over the fruit overlapping the edges.
Lift entire sheet of parchment paper with the uncooked galette & place on a baking sheet. Pour any remaining batter over cherries. Sprinkle with additional sugar. (I left the stems on a few of the pitted cherries just because I thought they looked pretty like that.)
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the custardy filling is set.
Serve cut into wedges with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.
There is a French children’s song about galette:
“J’aime la galette, savez-vous comment ? Quand elle est bien faite, avec du beurre dedans.” (“I like galette, do you know how? When it is made well, with butter inside.”)
One of my many early food memories is of my Dad eating a glass of icy thick cold, golden-flecked buttermilk with some of my Mother’s warm cornbread crumbled into it. I am pretty sure this combination is mostly a Southern thing.
My Dad was a rounder to say the least. On this eve of Father’s Day I think of him and can still see him sitting in our linoleum floored West Tennessee kitchen. Bare-bulb ceiling light casting harsh shadows, the back screen door keeping out the moths and letting in a summer breeze, sitting, alone in the summer night heat, the beginnings of a hangover about to take hold, quietly eating his buttermilk and cornbread, looking up, seeing me standing in the doorway…a cocked smile on his face, offering me a bite.
Most of my food memories have mental film strips attached to them. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are quietly poignant, others from my raucous youth and a few bitter-sweet. I keep them all and they have all helped me as an adult in so many ways. So, on this Father’s Day, while thinking of Dads in general and my own in particular, I came up with a new way to combine buttermilk and cornmeal with a dash of sweet.
“Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread”
(For this recipe I used local, just picked blueberries from the Sylvan Park/West Nashville Farmer’s market and fresh buttermilk from J.D’s Dairy in Russellville, Ky from the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market.)
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh buttermilk
1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
2 Tbsp cream
2 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
First things first: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. In a saucepan bring the buttermilk & raw sugar to a low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of the pan slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Stir with the whisk for about 8 minutes with heat on low. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
2. Beat egg whites with the salt until stiff. Set aside.
3. Whisk butter & vanilla into the slightly cooled cornmeal mixture.
4. Add egg yolks to mixture & whisk until well blended. Stir in cream with whisk.
5. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a buttered baking dish & top with 1/2 of the blueberries. Spread the remainder of the cornmeal mixture over the blueberries. Top with a scattering of the remaining blueberries.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown, firm but wobbly in the center. This spoon bread will be somewhat like a souffle in puffiness. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with a dusting of powdered sugar. This Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread is really good at room temp or chilled as well.
Father’s Day June 19, 2011
Most Sunday mornings my friend Terry Martin and I work (or don’t work) the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle. It is our long-standing tradition and unless one of us is out-of-town we honor this custom without fail. Terry has been a bit dismayed that she has so far missed out on my “Blog Food”. This Father’s Day morning (both of our Father’s are long-dead) I made this “Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread” especially for her. We worked the puzzle, we ate the warm, powdered sugar dusted Spoon Bread, we worked the puzzle, we ate some more…….