I've noticed that I have a tendency to churn out stuff in the kitchen faster than I can blog about them in front of the computer. This post is long overdue because I actually made this the end of last month! Just look at my Flickr photostream, I update them more and faster than my blog! Sigh ... What's a woman supposed to do when she's taken over by lazy bones!
I've actually been wanting to make clafoutis a LONG, LONG time ago. But, never got around to do it. For some odd reasons, the word clafoutis fascinates me ... Well, French fascinates me in general though I'm not proficient in that language. Still learning ... I only know some basic words and terms that are used in culinary and pastry arts, not good enough to communicate with people in French. *speechless*
So far, I've seen other bloggers make this classic French dessert either with or without a crust. I think those without a crust resemble more of custard that's served in ramekin (just like crème brûlée but it's not burned and with fruits.) Nonetheless, I decided to try out the one recipe that I have, which is taken out of Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets. And, this comes with a crust.
The recipe is actually meant for clafoutis aux cerises, or cherry clafoutis. But because I didn't have any cherries, I decided to change it into clafoutis aux fraises. (Fraises are strawberries in French.) That was when my hand-picked strawberries, which were then frozen, were put to good use.
What I did was I had them thawed overnight in the fridge. Then, I drained them real well (and painstakingly stemmed those soft, mushy strawberries one by one) before using. I wonder if baking with still-frozen strawberries will actually ruin the custard with the excess liquid oozing out of the berries as they're being thawed in the oven. I haven't tried this myself. Do enlighten me though if you know of and have tried doing this.
In the meantime, I really love the tart crust. It's a pâte sucrée recipe that is also taken from the book, and I've used it to make tarte aux pommes au pain de mie and tarte au chocolat. If you do it right, this recipe gives you a crumbly, rich, nutty and buttery crust! Definitely a keeper! Though it makes a big batch, don't try to mess around with the figures because the texture will be affected. So, just stick to the recipe and freeze the extra dough for future use. (Isn't it handy to have frozen dough to save you from any emergency!?)
Aside from the berry change, I pretty much stuck to the original recipe. Other than tart cherries, strawberries and most other berries go really well with vanilla-flavored custard. (Duh! Who doesn't know how versatile vanilla is!) The smooth, creamy and dreamy flavor of vanilla pairing up with the summery sweet and slightly tangy touch of strawberries ... hmm ... thinking about it makes me want to whip up another one right away!
Clafoutis aux Fraises or Strawberry Clafoutis [adapted from Pâtisserie Mulot, in Dorie Greenspan's Paris Sweets]
Makes an 11-inch tart
For the pâte sucrée crust:
290g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g powdered sugar, sifted
70g pulverized almonds (it doesn't really matter whether they're blanched or not; unblanched ones will give your tart crust specks)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs, at room temperature
490g all-purpose flour, sifted
- Cream butter till creamy, then mix in powdered sugar till blended
- Mix in (A) to creamed mixture till blended, then mix in eggs one at a time--mixing well after each addition--till just combined
- Stir in flour and combine the mixture together using a spatula or wooden spoon by hand till the flour is just incorporated--stop when moist curds and clumps start to gather into a ball of dough. DON'T overwork it; otherwise, you'll end up with a tough crust later on!
- Turn the dough out and gather it together by hands to get a ball, then divide it into 3 equal portions or however big of portions you'd like to fit your tart mold(s). Gently pat each down to get a disk, then wrap it well with cling wrap; repeat with the remainder.
- Let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes, or up to 2 days, in fridge. It keeps well frozen for up to a month.
- To bake the tart crust dough, grease your tart mold(s), the one that has removable base, and place it on a baking sheet; set aside
- Pâte sucrée dough is slightly difficult to roll, it's recommended to roll it out between sheets of cling film: flatten a large piece of cling film against the counter and roll the dough between that and another sheet of cling film. Turn the dough over every so often to ensure an even rolling out of both sides. Also, lift the sheets of cling film several times so that they don't get creased and get rolled into the dough. Pop the dough into the fridge on a baking sheet, still in between the two plastic sheets, if it gets too soft; remove the whole deal from fridge and continue working on it once it's hardened up a bit
- Remove one sheet of cling film and center the dough over the tart mold with its exposed side down, press the dough against the mold base and up the sides; remove the cling film, then roll your rolling pin across the rim of the mold to trim off excess dough. You can patch cracks or splits with extra dough if there's any; moisten the edges to "glue" them into place. DON'T stretch the dough as this will cause the dough to shrink during baking
- Let the dough rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes
- Bake it at 180C/350F for 20-25 minutes or till it gets very slightly colored for a partially baked crust; otherwise, bake it for another 3-5 minutes/till golden for a fully baked crust
- Transfer crust onto a wire rack to cool completely
One 11-inch partially baked pâte sucrée crust
3 large eggs, at room temperature
240g heavy cream
pulp of 1/2 moist, plump vanilla beans or 2 tsp vanilla essence
403g fresh or frozen strawberries--thawed, drained and hulled
- Place the tart crust on a baking sheet and have it ready on one side; preheat the oven to 200C/400F
- Whisk the eggs till they're blended, then mix in the sugar, followed by (B)--whisk till the mixture is just blended; overbeating the cream will give you whipped cream!
- Use a rubber spatula to gently stir the berries into the mixture for even distribution
- Turn the batter into the crust, poke the berries around so that they're evenly scattered. Don't overfill the crust. If you've too much batter, pour in just enough to fill the tart and bake; at 10-minute mark, remove the tart from oven and pour in as much remaining batter as possible and continue with the baking
- Bake for 25 minutes or till custard is set in the center--it shouldn't jiggle when it's being tapped. Transfer to cool tart on the rack till it's warm or room temperature for serving Clafoutis keeps well for up to 12 hours at room temperature. But, it's best served shortly after it's been made and unchilled