Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Clafoutis Redux

It was still baking weather when I had to turn on the heater at night -even if it's well into June. I told myself this when an itch to make yet another clafoutis arose. A bowl of ripe plums sat on my kitchen counter, tantalizing me with its fragrance. A bite into one revealed a heady tartness. Plums perfect for baking, I thought. A bit of sugar would tame their mouth-puckering tartness- there was no need for me to tamper with a perfectly good fruit by doing much more.

So working with the most basic ingredients from my larder, a radiantly puffy plum clafoutis emerged from my oven an hour later.

With it still warm, I cut a slice for E and myself and brewed us a pot of the Silver Needles. This fine white tea really paired well with the clafoutis. The Silver Needles had a satisfyingly sweet smokiness that juxtaposed neatly with the subtle sweetness of my dessert.
So subtle was it that the plum clafoutis naturally appeared as my breakfast the next day. This was not your sugar-heavy coffee cake that had been known to jumpstart my days in the past. I would eat a large slice of this in a delirium fueled by the dyad of sugar and butter only to feel lousy afterwards. No, this clafoutis was healthy breakfast food -you could feel good about having a generous slice, rest assured of getting in your ration of carbs, protein (and some fat), and avoid slipping into a terminal torpor later.
The possibilities seem endless to me. Breakfast, lunch, dinner , dessert; all these are arbitrary categories ready to be turned on their heads with some tweaking of original recipes. Less sugar in an inherently healthy dessert and voila, you have a viable breakfast dish. Likewise, a savory dish traditionally meant for dinner can be transformed into something else entirely with a few adjustments. Perhaps with this calculus, I could tone down kimchi's fieriness and have it for breakfast?

Plum Clafoutis
(adapted from Julia Child's recipe)
1 lb of plums, pitted and sliced
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
pat of butter
Preheat oven to 350 F
Butter the bottom and sides of a deep pie dish.
Place sliced plums over the bottom of dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow. Add milk, vanilla, and salt to mixture and sift in flour. Continue to whisk until batter is free of clumpy flour. Pour mixture over plums.
Bake on center rack for 45 minutes, rotating once. It is done when the clafoutis puffs up.
Cool slightly before serving. Serves 6.

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