Thursday, 13 October 2011
Avec mes excuses à mes amis français ... C'est Clafoutis! Cherry, kirsch and white chocolate clafoutis.
I have been lucky enough to spend a little time in Limousin, in France, where this dish originates. I always feel that when I attempt something French, it has to be "la bonne chose" but then I discovered that French women have their own little ways of producing famous dishes that I decided I should be less hung up about it and be prepared to experiment a little. Which is why, when I saw this recipe, I had to try it and personally, I believe it to be the best clafoutis I have made to date. I used cherries, so faithful to the original recipe then, but I was intrigued by the seam of white chocolate which melted betwixt fruit and custard that, when cooked is not at the forefront, but I believe you would miss it if it wasn't there. I think it is also the first time I have cooked a clafoutis where the whole custard has been set, but earlier failures may be due to my ineptitude rather than 'recipe fail'.
The custard contains ground almonds. The recipe suggests that after letting the custard stand for a while, you put the custard through a chinois or other sieve. I didn't, and personally liked the slightly rough texture of the ground almonds in the custard. Each to their own if you ask me.
Cherry Clafoutis with Kirsch and White Chocolate (from 'Summertime' by Galton Blackiston)
11oz large pitted black cherries (on this occasion I used good bottled cherries and it was pleasant enough. Cherries in season would be stunning)
4 tbsp kirsch
1 1/2 oz plain flour
2oz ground almonds
2oz caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
4 tbsp melted butter, plus extra for buttering ramekins, or dish
10fl oz double cream, plus extra for serving
half a bar of good white chocolate (this equalled nine squares for me; I used Menier)
icing sugar, for dusting.
Place the cherries and kirsch in a bowl and leave to marinate for about an hour or so.
Meantime, prepare the batter: Place the flour, ground almonds, caster sugar, eggs, melted butter and double cream in a mixer and mix until thoroughly combined. Leave to settle for a little while and then pass through a sieve if you are of a mind to. I didn't.
Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4
Place six, large well buttered ramekins (or use a big bowl like I did) on to a baking sheet.
Divide the cherries and white chocolate between ramekins, if using. or just put the cherries at the bottom of a big bowl and top them with pieces of white chocolate. Reserve the liquid from the cherries and add to the custard batter and mix well.
Pour the custard over the cherries and chocolate.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 35 - 40 minutes for ramekins, nearer an hour for one big bowl. You're looking for a light brown sponge like topping. If you think the top is browning but the centre isn't setting, lightly cover the top with foil and keep checking. This is what I did about 40 minutes into the cooking process.
When out of the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve warm, with cream.