Happy Memorial Day in memory of all those who served our beloved country with such courage and pride. We salute you.
So, my oldest son just graduated from New York University a few days ago, and I am one ecstatic Mom! We all just got back from New York, and I am back in the kitchen.
To kick off our Memorial Day I made pear clafoutis for breakfast.
The smell of vanilla permeated the air like nobody’s business. Even my little guys came over to the stove to see what Mom is up to. Mom is always up to trouble (wink, wink).
Okay, mine is not really a clafoutis, but it’s fun to say clafoutis. Clafoutis, clafoutis, clafoutis. I feel like I need a ruffled, lace apron right now.
So when choosing pears, go for the ones that are soft to the touch. Don’t press your thumb into the pear to check ripeness, this will bruise them. Avoid those that are too firm.
They should also smell like pears. Silly as that sounds, most conventionally sold fruit have no smell. Wrinkled stem, or mushy skin is an indication of an over-ripe pear; these are best for sauces. I used Bosc, some other great varieties are Bartlett, D’Anjou, and Comice. All will retain their shape well. These also bake well in crisps and pies.
I soak the pears overnight in a simple syrup with vanilla bean pods. That extra step of soaking the pears overnight will give you the moist sweet pears. I also added almond extract because it goes so well with pears. The bitter almonds used in extracts have a distinct flavor that conventional sweet almonds do not have, but you won’t find them in the States; they are illegal. Italy is a big supplier of bitter almond, and use it in amaretti cookies and almond liqueurs. It enhances the flavor of pears and apples beautifully. If you’re not a big fan of the taste of almond or nut-free, just leave it out, it will still be delish.
This was just perfect after all the unpacking the last couple of days. What is a clafoutis? Just a fancy french word for a pancake-like batter dessert filled with fruit, traditionally made with cherries – but any firm fruit will do.
There are so many other variations to my kind-of-french clafoutis recipe. You can use plums, apples, berries, they will all do. If we really want to get proper and technical, fruit other than cherries is called a flaugnarde. You can call it whatever your heart desires. Hope you love it as much as we do, let me know how it came out. Enjoy!
* You will need a 12 inch oven safe, heavy bottomed pan. Cast iron or all-clad pans work well.
For the Simple Syrup:
3 cups water
2 cups evaporated cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped (do not discard bean)
3-4 bosc pears (or any firm pear), peeled, cored, sliced in halves
For the clafoutis:
8 large organic eggs
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 cups french vanilla coconut creamer (I use So Delicious brand) – reduce to 1 1/2 cups if using liquer
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen Massey)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten Free Baking Mix (or any gf all purpose with leavening added)
Non-dairy margarine for greasing the pan
Powdered sugar for garnish
1/2 cup gluten free pear or almond flavored liqueur
Preparation for the simple syrup:
Add water, sugar, vanilla bean, and the scrapings from the inside of the vanilla bean into a medium saucepan set over medium high heat. When the sugar has melted add the sliced pears, lower heat to a simmer. Make sure the syrup covers the pears. Cook for 10 minutes, then set aside to let cool for an hour before refrigeration. Keep chilled overnight, or at least 4 hours.
Can you see those specks of vanilla?
Preparation the day before:
Combine the first six ingredients (all wet) in a medium bowl and lightly whisk to blend well. Cover and chill overnight, or at least 4 hours before using.
In a small bowl combine gluten free all purpose flour and salt. Cover and set aside until ready to make the batter.
Note: If you do not have an all purpose flour with powder then add 1 tablespoon of baking powder to help your batter rise.
Preparation in the morning:
Preheat the oven temperature to 375 Fahrenheit.
Thinly slice the soaked pears.
Lightly grease an oven safe, heavy bottomed pan. Assemble slices in a circular motion. Add wet ingredient mix into a blender (or use a stand mixer), then the dry ingredients. Pulse to mix until fully blended. Pour the batter over the pears evenly.
I lightly greased the pan then fanned out my lovely pear slices…
combined my wet and dry ingredients…
and over the pears it goes. Ready, set, bake.
My batter remained over the pears. I think it’s because I packed my pear slices tightly on the bottom of the skillet, similar to a tartin. I thought my batter would seep through, instead we got a moist custard-type filling, similar to a bread pudding. A very-very happy accident I must say! Don’t you just love when that happens?
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until puffy and golden brown. It should give a little resistance to the touch when you press the top of the clafoutis. Let it cool for 20-30 minutes, then sift powdered sugar over the clafoutis. Serve warm or room temperature.
Viola! Pear clafoutis.
Get the powdered sugar and sift generously.
Now, let’s have some coffee (or espresso if you’re like me) with our clafoutis…enjoy!
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