Guest Feature: Clafoutis Aux Mûres Blackberry Flan
What do you get when you cross a blackberrry muffin, vanilla flan, and a pancake…with a 3-year old? Tiny flour handprints all over the kitchen? Yes, and a few footprints too. But you also get a classic French dessert called “Clafoutis,” pronounced “CLAHH-foo-TEEE.”
A few summers back, my sister and I signed up for a French cooking class. On the dinner menu was “poulet rôti avec des légumes saisonniers,” roasted chicken with seasonal veggies and “clafoutis” for dessert. While we were both relatively familiar with the main course, neither one of us had heard of Clafoutis. Either way, it was a fun one to say.
Clafoutis is a traditional French dessert made of fruit, usually cherries, and baked into a sweet batter. Sliced plums, apricots, and blackberries are some popular substitutions. That evening, Sarah and I baked our clafoutis with raspberries. And even though we spent the class half paying attention and chatting, we still managed to pull it off pretty easily. Our fruity muffin-flan-pancakes were delicious. Their flavors transported us to the French countryside where we imagined ourselves as…professional cooking students! We’d host parties with the food we made at school that day for all of our friends and family. And we’d serve lots of wine and fromage on our adjoining terrasse. Our children would be effortlessly trilingual and we’d eat all sorts of clafoutis with fruit from the berry vines in our back yard. If Peter Mayle’s novel, A Year in Provence had a taste, this dessert would be it. After class, I felt full, and… inspired to buy a lottery ticket.
Fast-forward to four years later, my daughter and I braved the Beltway- the dreaded innerloop, to pick the last of the summer blackberries. And as I was thinking about what to do with our bucket of berries, I flashed back to French Cooking 101. Once my sidekick and I arrived home from the orchard, we preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and gathered some eggs, milk, sugar, salt, flour, and lots of vanilla. We mixed the batter together and then poured it on top of the berries, finishing it off with a sprinkling of sugar. 45 minutes in the oven, and our entire house was infused with the scent of buttery vanilla pancakes and mashed berries. My little girl, who was way too excited to wait for dessert, ate it as her snack after a post berry-picking snooze.
My dream of weeknight wine parties somewhere on a French terrasse still lives, but in the meantime, we find excuses to have get-togethers right here at home as often as possible. My sister and I are also looking into our next duo cooking adventure. You never know what reveries the flavors will drum up or travels the menu will inspire. Until then, there’s always Clafoutis. Bon appétit.
- 1 1/4 Cups - Milk
- 1/2 Cup - Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon - Vanilla
- 1/8 Teaspoon - Salt
- 1 Cup - Flour
- 2 Cups - Blackberries
- 1/4 Cup - Sugar
- Preheat oven to 400° degrees. Butter six 6- inch ramekins
- Distribute blackberries evenly among ramekins, Set aside
- In a large bowl, mix together milk, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Whisk vigorously until smooth and slightly frothy
- Whisk in flour until combined. Batter will be a little bit lumpy
- Pour batte into the ramekins over the blackberries. The berries will float to the top
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over the top of the batter
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until batter is golden and puffy
- Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Clafoutis (flan) will deflate as it cools
Leigh is a Middle School Teacher of French and a Mom to a busy four year old. She loves to entertain family and friends, and prepare daily dishes for her husband and daughter. Leigh’s meals are often influenced by her mom’s love of cooking. Leigh also creates recipes based on her experiences of living and working in the south of France. She often uses food to provide authentic experiences for her students as well. On Fridays, it’s not uncommon to see her students making crèpes and sampling French “fromage,” as part of their lesson. Always inspired by fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, Leigh’s dishes are simple, tasty, and always made with her family in mind. Her daughter, now three, is an enthusiastic helper in the kitchen. A lover of mealtime with family and warm summer nights, Leigh is excited to share some of her favorite recipes. Follow Leigh on her Instagram account @arecipeforeveryseason