Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yellow & Purple Plum Clafouti with Armagnac

Clafoutis are a classic French dessert from the Limousin region of France and while black cherries are typically used, other fruits such as prunes, plums, peaches or apricots are also equally delicious. However, when other kinds of fruit other than cherries are used, the dish is called a Flaugnarde. Clafouti or flaugnarde, whatever you wish to call it, this delicate, buttery, moist soufflé-like dessert is sensational with just about any stonefruit that happens to be in season. I also like to add a dash of liqueur to the batter to bring out the flavour of the fruit, and in this recipe, a little armagnac. Resembling a large fluffy pancake, the clafouti is simply prepared with sliced fruit arranged in a buttered baking dish covered with a thick flavoured custard-like batter. Baked for about an hour, the smells permeate the kitchen with a intoxicating aroma of sweet plums, lemon, sugar and vanilla. Dusted with a final flourish of confectioner's sugar, this gorgeous rustic French dessert is best served while it's still warm.

Plum Clafouti
Serves 6-8

7 firm ripe yellow and purple plums, halved and pitted
3 tbsp melted butter
6 tbsp granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups light cream
1 tsp 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 the bottom. Arrange the plum halves cut side down until they cover the entire bottom of the pan, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over top.

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

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the clafouti is firm, puffed and golden around the edges. Remove from the oven, and allow the clafouti to cool for 15 minutes or so, during which time it will deflate somewhat. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.

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