Our apartment building overlooks a charming little street packed with bars and restos that's bustling both by day and by night. While it's wonderful to live where things happen, sometimes that means 3am powows and lots of "hoot....rah! hoot...rah!" from drunk frat-boy types. Last night's "visitors" were loud and rowdy, and I got precious little sleep. Needless to say, it was a slow, slow weekend morning chez nous. And slow weekend mornings call for some serious kitchen therapy.
Enter the clafoutis (pronounced cla-FOO-tee), a cross between a pancake and a custard (or, as D. put it, "kind of like a crepe but a little more runny." Yum.) Simple to prepare, beautiful once cooked, and rather fun to eat, a clafouti is where comfort food and luxury meet. It's often served as dessert, but I love it for breakfast on those days when you need more than a spoonful of sugar to wash the previous night down.
Clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, but I love them with pears. And since I really can't just leave a recipe alone, I also mixed in some leftover blackberries, which, along with a little orange zest, made a delightful addition. Yes, clafoutis is just as "grandmotherly" (thanks to Clotide at C&Z for the apt metaphor!) as it sounds. But you know what? So am I a little. And when there's no leftover challah for french toast, when you just don't want to make like those jappy mothers and their egg-white omelets, when oatmeal was your breakfast everyday this week, clafoutis, humble clafoutis, is the perfect choice.
To the drunken, belligerent frat boys who stood on my street corner last night shouting half-coherent obscenities and poorly constructed pick-up lines: if you're reading this, a) I'm impressed that you're already awake, considering your wee-hour ridiculousness and b) thanks to my breakfast this morning, I'm hating you a little less than I would have otherwise.
To the rest of you, my loyal and patient readers: clafoutis can make you just as delightful as I sound now. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself.
Blackberry-Pear Clafoutis adapted from Epicurious serves 2-4
- 2 pears, not too ripe, diced
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup half and half or whole milk (if using 2% milk, add an extra Tbsp. flour)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/8 cup flour (add an extra Tbsp if using 2% milk)
- 1/8 cup plus 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. grated orange zest
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- butter a castiron pan, and over medium heat, cook pears and blackberries until pears brown a bit, about 3 minutes.
- pour syrup over fruit, and move pan into the oven for 5 minutes.
- Put pan back on the stove and cook over medium-high heat until the syrup has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Turn off stove.
- Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
- Beat eggs, half and half, and vanilla until well incorporated.
- Add all but 1 Tbsp sugar and all the flour and mix until there are no lumps. Add cinnamon and zest.
- Pour batter over pears. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, until the center is set.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle remaining brown sugar over the top, and serve immediately.