Monday, August 15, 2011

Yellow Plum Flaugnarde

Clafoutis are a classic French dessert from the Limousin region of France and while black cherries are the traditional accompaniment, you can also use other fruits such as red cherries, plums, prunes, figs, apples, cranberries or blackberries — however, when other kinds of fruit are used, the dish is called a Flaugnarde. Clafouti or flaugnarde, whatever you want to call it, this delicate, buttery, moist flan-like batter is delicious with just about any stone fruit. I like to add a dash of liqueur to the batter to enhance the flavour of the fruit — in this recipe, a little armagnac. Resembling a large pancake, the dessert is baked with the sliced fruit arranged decoratively in a buttered dish, and then covered with a thick flan-like batter. The flaugnarde bakes for about an hour, filling the kitchen with an intoxicating aroma of plums, lemon, sugar and vanilla. The flaugnarde is then dusted with some confectioner's sugar, and can be served either warm or cold. Finish with lashings of fresh cream if you're feeling decadent.

Plum Flaugnarde (Clafouti)
Serves 6-8

7 yellow plums, halved and pitted
3 tbsp butter melted
6 tbsp white caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups whole milk or light cream
dash of Armagnac
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-10 inch pie pan, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over bottom. Arrange the plum halves with cut side down, in a decorative pattern, until they cover the entire bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top of the plums.

In a food processor, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, eggs, butter, milk, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla, armagnac and salt. Process until smooth for about 2 minutes. Pour over the plums in the pan evenly.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until firm, puffed and nicely golden around the edges. Remove the flaugnarde from the oven, and allow it to cool for a half hour or so, during which time you’ll see it deflate and settle a bit. Serve it warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.