A rustic French dessert that defies classification.
This past weekend I had a yearning for clafoutis. My stomach rumbles at more or less regular intervals at the thought of this classic dessert that every French grandmother has in her repertoire.
Clafoutis is one of those rustic desserts that defies classification. A cross between a custard, a thick pancake, and a flan; it’s neither complicated nor intricate but it’s absolutely irresistible. In essence, it amounts to a moist crêpe-like batter studded with fruit.
What makes it great isn’t the complexity of preparation or presentation but rather the pure unpretentious flavors of the few ingredients it contains.
Hailing from the Limousin region of France clafoutis is typically made with un-pitted cherries. However, it’s a classic throughout all of France, and you will find each region and family has their favorite recipe each slightly different from the other.
So the question arises: can I call this recipe a clafoutis even though it’s made with pears? Traditionally the answer would be “no” as other fruit versions are referred to as flognarde. But nowadays the term clafoutis has come to encompass all fruits and there are even savory variations on the classic version.
However you choose to call it, the real joy of this dessert is how simple it is to make. Whatever fruits you send its direction, clafoutis receives them graciously and with open arms, transforming them into a soft, sweet and charmingly rustic dessert.
My version is not only gluten-free, it’s grain free as it’s made with almond flour. It’s also made with un-refined sugar and is low in sugar over-all, the sweetness coming primarily from the pears. Throw a few ingredients in the blender, into the oven it goes, and you’ll soon be greeted by the ambrosial smell of tender sweet pears.
Served warm from the oven, this softly slumped dessert is luscious but quite light from the tender pieces of juicy pears. It’s a comforting dessert, the edible equivalent of a well-worn pair of cozy slippers, a little rough around the edges but altogether loveable et un vrai regal (and a real treat)!
Have you ever had clafoutis? What’s your favorite comforting dessert?