At home with the builders (again!) et voila, un Pear Clafoutis…c’est tres bon!

I’m a bit of a francophile having spent a lifetime holidaying in the south of France and also living in Le Mans during my university years, and I regularly butt good humoured heads with my Italian friends over who has the best wine and cuisine. The Italians, as indeed are the French, are extremely proud of their food heritage and prior to living in Italy I hadn’t realised just how competitive they are. Despite sharing borders you’ll be hard pushed to find a tub of crème fraîche or slab of Saint Agur in the supermarkets here in Italy. And Prosecco is “obviously” just as good as champagne, if not better! I’m happy to leave them to battle it out but I will say that  I love French desserts. Give me a tart au citron or charlotte framboise any day over a tirasmisu but, before I get lambasted, this is just personal preference.

So when faced (not for the first time) with a week trapped at home with builders, I barracaded myself in the kitchen (the only room safe from drilling) and turned to my cook book in search of a dish to use the last of the pears from my garden and voila, I found Pear Clafoutis. Originating in the Limousin region of France, clafoutis comes from the verb clafir, meaning to fill, and the traditional version is literally filled with cherries in an eggy batter. You can use other fruits as per this recipe and if we were being correct it should then be called a flaugnarde but the word clafoutis has stuck no matter the fruit and hence I give you Pear Clafoutis.

Ingredients:

For the pastry: 250g plain flour, 125g butter chopped into small chunks, 1 egg, 1tsp caster sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 40ml cold water

For the Clafoutis: 220g sablee / flan pastry (I used flan), 8-12 small pears (depending on size), juice of 1 lemon, sugar syrup (made using water and sugar), 120ml milk, 120ml double cream, 1 vanilla pod (or 1tsp vanilla essence), 175g caster sugar, 4 large eggs, 20g plain flour

Preparation: 15 minutes pastry, 50 minutes clafoutis, 30 minutes baking

For the flan pastry (from Michel Roux pastry book)

1. Prepare the pastry by laying the flour out on a clean surface and creating a well in the centre.

2. Add the egg, butter, sugar and salt to the well and cream the ingredients together using your fingertips.

3. Draw the flour into the centre and mix with the butter mix to form a grainy texture than add in the water and mix until the dough begins to hold together.

4. Do not knead the dough as it should be handled very lightly. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 4-6 times until it is smooth, then wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Clafoutis

1. Peel the pears and brush with lemon juice to stop them going brown whilst you then half them and scoop out the core. Poach them in the sugar syrup for c.15 minutes or until tender. Adjust cooking time according to how hard your pears are. Leave them to cool in the syrup before draining. If you’re feeling creative you can keep one pear whole to place in the centre of your clafoutis (including the stalk).

2. In another pan, slowly heat the milk, cream, vanilla pod (halved), and 2/3 of the sugar. Whilst this comes to temperature take a mixing bowl or jug and whisk the eggs, remaining sugar and the flour. Once the milk mixture comes to the boil add it to the egg mix, stirring well and then then leave it to cool. This effectively is an egg custard.

3. Take your pastry from the fridge and roll it out to c. 4mm  thickness to fit an 18cm diameter tart tin. Chill for a further 5-10 minutes, then prick the base and blind bake at 190C for 15 minutes. I use beans for the blind baking. At the end of the 15 minutes take out the beans and allow the pastry to cook for a further 5 minutes before removing from the oven.

4. Now we can go back to our pears which should be drained and patted dry with kitchen roll if excessively wet. Cut the pear halves into two quarters and start laying the slices around the flan dish fanning outwards. Keep working all the way round then create an inner circle until the base is fully covered. If using a whole pear for the centre, place it in now. (I didn’t have one which looked pretty enough).

5. Remove the vanilla pod from the Clafoutis custard and pour evenly over the pears until it comes to within a couple of mm of the pastry rim.

6. Bake immediately in the centre of a hot oven at 190C for c. 30 minutes until cooked and golden. Remove and chill on a wire rack. Sprinkle some extra caster sugar over the top. Best served whilst still warm with, if you can find it, a side of crème fraîche.

Bon appetit!

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Comments
7 Responses to “At home with the builders (again!) et voila, un Pear Clafoutis…c’est tres bon!”
  1. I don’t think this would last long at our house. 🙂

  2. Karen says:

    Your pear clafoutis looks beautiful. I hope that I still have pears on our trees when I return from our trip in Europe. This will be one of the first things that I prepare. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  3. Chez Foti says:

    I’ve somehow only just come across your gorgeous blog. I’m an English gal living in France married to an Italian man (well half Italian, half Sicilian!). And you’ve just reminded me that I haven’t made a clafoutis in YEARS. Shall do now, thanks!

    • Wow that’s an interesting combination! I spent a year in Le Mans and love French food.I miss good croissants :). Whereabouts are you? Happy cooking with your Clafoutis and thx fir all your lovely comments.

      • Chez Foti says:

        I’m in the South West, in the very rural country bumpkin land of Haute Pyrenees. On the balance I still think Italian food on the whole has the edge over French (I may just be extradited for saying this).

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