Clafouti of any kind makes a simple and wonderful desert, or an absolutely indulgent breakfast. It’s the kind of dish I keep in my apron pocket for those times when I want to whip up a dessert on short notice. It’s made by pouring a very rich eggy batter similar to pancakes over fresh fruit and baked. This brilliant French dessert from the Limousin region is easy to make and left-overs are equally wonderful as a midnight snack or a breakfast treat.
In this recipe rhubarb replaces the traditional cherries with wonderful results – almost better than the original. The rhubarb is roasted before adding it to the baking dish. Before serving sift a little powdered sugar and cinnamon over the clafouti.
A brilliant French dessert made by pouring an eggy batter over roasted rhubarb and then baked
For the rhubarb:
2 generous cups (8-9 ounces, about 3 long stalks) rhubarb diced into two inch pieces.
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp cinnamon.
For the clafouti:
¾ cup (200 ml) whole milk
¾ cup (200 ml) double/heavy cream
⅓ cup (50 g) sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup (2½ oz) all-purpose flour
a sprinkle of salt
butter for baking dish
powdered sugar and cinnamon for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine the rhubarb with the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes to dissolve the sugars and begin extracting the rhubarb juices.
Spread the rhubarb in the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking dish and roast uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and the juices are bubbling.
Allow to co cool until the rhubarb is just warm to the touch.
Using a blender combine the milk,cream, sugar, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend. You can also whisk all the ingredients in a large bowl but be sure to mix well.
Set the batter side.
Lightly butter a 12-inch (30-cm) diameter baking dish.
Pour a ¼ inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through.
Remove from oven (but don't turn the oven off yet).
Spread the rhubarb over the set batter in the pan.
Pour the remaining batter over the roasted rhubarb and bake for 45-60 minutes (still at 350 F), until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. It's fine if the middle still jiggles slightly. The edges will collapse once the clafouti starts to cool.
The longer it cools, the more set the clafouti becomes. For a loose pudding-like dessert, serve while still warm from the oven. For a firm custard, allow to cool to room temperature or serve chilled.
Before serving sprinkle with a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
CASSOULET is a hearty combination of beans baked with meats. The list of ingredients is long but it is not hard to cook. You need to start preparations at least two to three days in advance of serving and you will need a large casserole dish to cook it in. Cook the beans three days before your dinner, cook the meat stew two days before dinner, day three, the day you are serving cassoulet brown the duck and sausages, then put it all together.
There are as many versions of cassoulet as there are regions in France. My recipe takes full advantage of our garden raised dried French heirloom Tarbais white beans and our own milk fed pork. But substituting dried white beans and having an understanding butcher you can easily create your version of this classic dish.
The sausages should have as high a pork content as possible. Duck confit is sold canned (and frozen) in large supermarkets and some delicatessens. Using it is optional. You can also make an all-pork cassoulet using boneless country-style ribs cut into 2 inch cubes.
Day one in the three day process. Prepare the beans.
Day two – brown the meat and add the tomatoes and stock.
Day three – brown the fresh pork sausage and put the cassoulet together about three hours before dinner.
It is pure alchemy. How could such simple ingredients – eggs, milk, cream, sugar – bring grown men to their knees. This recipe for crème brûlée was always on the menu at our restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro. We made it five days a week for seven years. Repetition makes perfect, and I perfected this new recipe so it is right every time. This recipe is perfect for six generous servings, but if you are having a large dinner party it doubles beautifully and serves twelve.
This dessert made with a rich creme anglaise (custard sauce) and topped with burnt sugar, can be made up to two days ahead of time.
1½ cups whipping cream
½ cup cream milk (coffee/cream)
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Brown sugar for topping.
If you have time to do this ahead spread two cups of brown sugar on a large dinner plate. Leave to dry on the kitchen counter for a few days. Eliminating moisture from the brown sugar makes your burnt sugar topping crisper.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Set out six one-cup size ramekins and a pan large enough to hold them.
Heat the whipping cream and cream milk in a large saucepan, over medium heat, until very hot but NOT BOILING.
While the milk mixture is heating whisk eggs until thick in your stand mixture.
Add sugar gradually beating constantly until mixture is very thick and pale in color.
Add hot cream/milk mixture to the eggs VERY SLOWLY beating constantly and at low speed. Start by just dribbling the hot milk down the side of your bowl so you warm your eggs but don't cook them.. Don't whisk your egg mixture at a high speed because it becomes too foamy.
Pour the mixture back into the pan used to heat the milk/cream mixture and over low to medium heat, whisk constantly until your custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Be sure to push your whisk into the corners of your pan while whisking. If you are using a candy thermometer take it to just 165F. then remove it from the heat and continue whisking it for a minute or two to cool.
Whisk in your vanilla or other such flavourings as rum, kirsch, cognac, orange liqueur, or espresso.
Pour your custard into the ramekins and set them in the pan.
Put the pan in the center of your oven and pour in boiling water to reach about half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake uncovered in a 350F oven for 35 minutes. The edges should be firm and the center slightly wobbly.
Cool then chill in the refrigerator for several hours until set. You can make this up to two days ahead of time stored in the refrigerator tightly covered with plastic wrap.
A couple of hours before you wish to serve your creme brulee preheat your broiler.
Generously sprinkle each of the custards with the brown sugar making sure there are no lumps and all the custard is covered.
Set your rack so your custards are a good two inches below your broiler. If they are too close only the top layer of sugar will caramelize. You can then return the ramekins to the refrigerator until serving time, or serve them immediately. I prefer to serve them right away so the custard is slightly warm and burnt sugar crust has is beautifully brittle.
Set pan in oven and pour in boiling water about half way up the ramekins.
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